Using Football To Promote Peace – NOT Hatred!
By Dr Syed Talib Hussain Warsi
Director of Intrafaith Relations, AoBM
Sports and sportsmanship cuts across all nationalities, languages, politics and geographical barriers. Football is certainly the most popular game on this the planet. Football unites people from all cultures and creeds across continents.
Just a few weeks ago, a scandal threatened to ruin the reputation of the great game of football when the FBI pressed charges of bribery and corruption against the international football governing body FIFA arresting some seven top officials. We hope the reputation of football does not suffer along with the wrong-doing of a few individuals at the top if bribery and corruption is proved.
Football is the heart and soul of our British culture. It is one of our biggest exports to the rest of the world. Wherever we may travel, Hong Kong or Delhi, Bangkok or Cape Town, it is not surprising to see Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal jerseys on people and the game being broadcast on their television channels.
British football clubs find support and loyalties across the world. After all, I remember since my childhood it was and is a family event to watch the Saturday afternoon kick off. We all wish, hope and pray, for it to remain so. Let us hope no individual or a group of people bring our British football to disrepute.
Yet there are some that will use football, its supporter clubs and memberships to spread division and disharmony in our country. One such organisation is AFFFMAI (All Football Firms/ Fans March Against Islamisation). On June 13th 2015, this organisation is coming to Dudley to “March Against Islamisation” with the Union Jack in their hands and slogans such as “no surrender, It’s time to take back our country” and “don’t worry, the British are coming”.
Theresa May, The Home Secretary, has emphasised the importance of “British values”, stating that British values stand for democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect. Mrs May has clearly stated and as has our Prime Minister David Cameron that Islamic values are British values and British values are Islamic values – and we whole heartedly agree with this.
Our religion is a religion of peace; Islam believes in human rights, co-existence and harmony. Let us reassure the British people that British Muslims in this country are British, this country is our country and the Union Jack is our flag. Yes we too support our local and national football teams.
Islam stands for peace, Islam means peace, and Islam pursues peace. The goal of this religion is to bind people together with love not with hate. Our greeting of “Assalamu-Alaikum” translates to “peace be upon you”.
Football is a great game; a game that can promote peace amongst many people. Our organisation, The Association of British Muslims is fully supportive of organisations that use football as a vehicle to promote peace – one such organisation called Football for Peace is led by a British Muslim who is also a professional British footballer – Kashif Siddiqi is its Co-Founder. Kashif has been working tirelessly to bring people of opposing views and ideologies to come onto the field for a game of football.
Let us use such initatives and use football work for peace.
Ideally we would have liked to invite the organisers for AFFFMAI to come to Dudley and play a friendly game of football with those Muslims who have made Dudley their home. We appeal to the Muslim community of Dudley to remain calm and not to show fear and work with local authorities to help maintain law and order in the town.
Football is a global game, with global colours. British football teams are made up of people of all colours and backgrounds; and football will remain a tool to bring diverse people together. Most football supporters – like most people of all backgrounds are decent people, they love their clubs and they love football.
Once again, let football work for peace.
Statement on the UK General Election
Congratulations to David Cameron and the Conservatives in securing a majority in the UK General Election.
The British People have put their trust in you to run the country over the next 5 years.
Keeping this in mind, we look forward to seeing the government making good on their election promises to the British People.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims
In Memory of Dr Nazim Mahmood and Dr Priya Vedi
The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) remembers Dr Nazim Mahmood (UK) and Dr Priya Vedi (India) whose death brings to light grim attitudes grounded in religious and cultural perceptions. AoBM also lends support to Naz & Matt Foundation as Matthew Ogston walks a 130 mile distance in the memory of Dr Nazim Mahmood to raise awareness about religiously-motivated homophobia.
In the spirit of Islamic doctrine of free will, a core principle at the heart of AoBM is that people should be allowed to fashion their lives freely. Everyone is responsible for own actions on the Day of Judgement. AoBM appreciates that some people may have reservations about certain ways of living; however we advocate strongly the view that such disagreement gives no right to any of us to act in homophobic manner. We urge all communities to initiate and support a dialogue from within to further a better understanding of the issues related to sexuality – both culturally and religiously.
AoBM has always stood by the rights of the people irrespective of their caste, sexuality, colour and religion. In this spirit, we call upon the politicians contesting the general elections next month, to make a clear pledge in the memory of Dr Mahmood to outlaw all the remaining types of discrimination in the British society and further the anti-discrimination cause by tackling homophobia in all its forms, whatsoever and wheresoever in the UK. AoBM maintains that tackling forced marriages and domestic violence will assist in reducing homophobic tendencies.
While recognising other freedoms essential for a healthy society, AoBM also calls upon all segments of the government and the wider society to respect the freedom of expression which includes debating difficult theological issues surrounding sexuality and homophobia. The debate on these issues should remain open, frank and inclusive in letter and spirit with the aim of evolving a consensus rather than hegemony.
Zahid Ali Akbar, Human Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims
Spirituality – Islam The Way of Life – Ep 3
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf speaking about ISIS
FATWA ON THE SO-CALLED “ISLAMIC STATE” (FORMERLY “ISLAMIC STATE IN IRAQ & SYRIA”)
WITH THE NAME OF GOD, MOST GRACIOUS, MOST MERCIFUL
FATWA ON THE SO-CALLED “ISLAMIC STATE”
(FORMERLY “ISLAMIC STATE IN IRAQ & SYRIA”)
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessings be upon His final messenger Muhammad.
Due to recent events in the Middle East and their impact on some people in Britain, we as imams and scholars based in the UK, would like to issue the following clarifications in the form of a fatwa:
1. There is no doubt that President Assad’s regime in Syria is oppressive, unjust and brutal, and has committed numerous atrocities against its own people.
2. The same is true of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) or self-styled “Caliphate,” formerly known as “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”: it is an oppressive and tyrannical group.
3. By murdering prisoners of war, journalists and civilians, including mosque imams who
refused to endorse their campaign, and by enslaving the women and children of their
opponents, ISIS has violated international agreements such as the Geneva Conventions and conventions on slavery that everyone, including Muslims, have signed up to. God says in the Qur’an, “Believers, fulfil your covenants!” (5:1)
4. The IS persecution and massacres of Shia Muslims, Christians and Yazidis is abhorrent and opposed to Islamic teachings and the Islamic tolerance displayed by great empires such as the Mughals and Ottomans.
5. Based on all of the above: IS is a heretical, extremist organisation and it is religiously prohibited (haram) to support or join it; furthermore, it is an obligation on British Muslims to actively oppose its poisonous ideology, especially when this is promoted within Britain.
6. British and other EU citizens are bound by their duties to their home countries according to Islamic theology and jurisprudence: it is therefore prohibited ( haram) to travel to fight with any side in Syria, including non-state actors, since this is forbidden by laws in EU countries.
7. It is a moral obligation upon British Muslims to help the Syrian and Iraqi people without betraying their own societies: “If they ask for your help in religion, you must help, except against a people with whom you have a treaty.” (Qur’an 8:72)
Sheikh Mohammad Shahid Raza OBE
Executive Secretary, Muslim Law (Shariah) Council of UK. Head Imam, Leicester Central Mosque.
Sheikh Qamaruzzaman Azmi
Secretary General, World Islamic Mission. Head Imam, Manchester Central Mosque.
Sheikh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Sheikh Dr Qari Mohammad Asim MBE
Head Imam, Makkah Masjid, Leeds.
Sheikh Dr Usama Hasan
Author, ISIS Fatwa. Former Imam, Masjid Al-Tawhid Mosque, Leyton. Head Theologian, Quilliam Foundation.
Mufti Abu Layth
Founder, The Islamic Council, UK.
Statement on the Humanitarian Emergency in Palestine.
Bism’Allah al Rahman al Raheem.
We express our deepest condolences to Palestinian families who have lost loved ones due to Israeli attacks in some of the most densely populated residential areas in the world. Whatever the Israeli government’s purported motivations, there is no excuse for killing children or bombing hospitals! Life is Sacred, a teaching common to all three Abrahamic faiths, and the lives of children especially Sacred.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated that the humanitarian emergency in Gaza, following a severe escalation in hostilities involving intense Israeli aerial and navy bombardment, has claimed the lives of at least 697 Palestinians, of whom 170 were children and 86 women. Over 3,993 people have been wounded and 140,000 have been displaced, currently staying at 83 UNRWA schools. 32 Israelis have lost their lives, including 3 civilians and 29 soldiers.
The Association of British Muslims expresses our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of all those who have lost their lives and call upon everyone to support and stand in solidarity with the People of Palestine. The Israeli government and IDF are demonstrating a complete lack of concern for the civilian population of Palestine, that verges on unjustified cruelty.
Israel claims to be responding to rocket attacks launched from Palestine, but a genuine response would be proportional to the threat. The returned fire from the IDF takes the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, including 170 children, unprotected women and elderly people. Over 697 people so far, and still counting…
We are living in dark times, with tragic events occurring in neighbouring Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the region. Like the Prophet, peace be upon him warned, the day has come where Jews and Muslims are fighting and Muslims are fighting each other, where everyone claims that they are on the path of “jihad” (struggle/striving), and no one really knows why they are killing one another. This is not the meaning or way of jihad, or even the modern concept of a “Just War”.
In these times of jahiliyya, widespread ignorance, corruption and confusion, it is absolutely imperative we make Education, Culture, Science and Spirituality our jihad.
In this most holy month of Ramadan, we join our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, along with every concerned soul in our Human Family (Bani Adam), in prayer and remembrance of the children and innocent people who have lost their lives in Palestine, and those still suffering under the onslaught of military operations.
We pray for the restoration of Peace, Security and Justice in Palestine and call upon the Israeli government to end the war against Palestinians forthwith, including the blockade against Gaza. All sides must fully and sincerely commit to meaningful negotiations to find ways for an authentic sustainable peaceful solution.
Shaykh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Mr Mohammed Abbasi, Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Mr Muhammad Hamzah, Cultural Director, The Association of British Muslims.
Islam and Life: Danger of Takfiri ideology for Islam
The rise of Takfiri movements has caused outrage all across traditionally majority Muslim regions of the world and elsewhere. Tariq Ramadan discusses this frightening phenomenon with Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, Co-Director of the Association of British Muslims.
The letter Khalifah Ali ibn Abi Talib wrote to Malik Ashtar
While it may have been written 14 centuries ago, the letter Khalifah Ali ibn Abi Talib wrote to Malik Ashtar is just as, if not even more relevant to us today.
May Allah SWT help us return to the noble wisdom of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his loyal companions, may Allah bless them.