I suppose I should have posted this earlier, but I only heard the argument yesterday. While discussing with my father who you voted for and why, he told me that a medical doctor friend of his, who has resided in this country for the past 30 years, does not vote because he regards it as a sin, since this country is a blatant supporter of the United States and Zionism. I was struck by this, especially since this medical doctor is a well educated member of the community and has a very established life in the UK. His children were brought up and educated in the UK and obviously, he has chosen this country as his ‘home’. I would have liked to have been involved in the conversation between my father and the doctor when they were discussing this. I would have liked to ask him how he felt about his taxes, which he obviously is paying, propping up a government which he is obviously against. I’m sure parts of his taxes go to the Ministry of Defence, so does he not regard this as a sin as well? If yes, the blatant question which I want to direct to this doctor is, why do you live here? By the doctor’s logic, is it not even a sin to live in such a country?
There are millions of people who would happily give up a body part, in fact have given up their lives, in trying to reach the shores of this island and set up a life here. Why not leave and take up residence in a country which you believe satisfies your principles? Furthermore, if you are not happy with what you see, why not engage and try to make a difference? You have the right in this country, unlike many of the so-called Muslim countries on earth, to voice your opinion against government policy which you believe is wrong.
Unfortunately, and to my great sadness, I do not think that this doctor’s extreme ideas are an isolated incident within our societies. Rather than feeling that we are fully fledged citizens and play a major role, we have been brought up to think in a “them and us” mentality. Those English people are immoral, they are kufar, we cannot participate in this society? This is what philosophers call “cultural relativism”, and unfortunately it is an absolute sickness. This kind of philosophy believes that human’s beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of his or her own culture. Two different cultures are incommensurable and cannot engage in fruitful debate or discussion, if they do, it will lead to a clash. This is exactly the kind of philosophy which Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisation’ thesis is built on. It undermines morality and denies the existence of an objective world in which true and false statements can be made; there is no absolute truth. Personally, I think it is more fruitful and worthwhile to believe that, in humanity, we share universal values which are important to all of us and which we all pursue. I believe that we are all on this planet together, and it is through mutual discussion, constructive criticism and sharing of knowledge, that we can progress. I also believe that this is what Islam calls for. The Qur’an speaks to all of humanity and addresses them as ‘Bani Adam’. It tells us that God has created us as tribes and nations so that we can get to know each other, to discuss and share knowledge.