As the UK marks the first Memorial Day For Victims Of Honour Crimes, the Association of British Muslims (AoBM) lends support to the campaign raising awareness of gender issues among men and women. At the same time, AoBM notes that despite successful prosecution in cases of violence, there is still a pervasive social acceptance of abuses of women and girls, which is notably higher in some cultures than others. AoBM has a firm belief that every human being has the inviolable right to live free of fear or attack, and women and girls are key to a better future. Protecting the women is central to peace, prosperity and stability for all parts of the world.
AoBM believes that honour-based crimes are not limited to women and girls and can make men and boys victims if they are seen to have brought ‘shame’ to the family. In the same spirit, we recently lent support to Naz & Matt Foundation on tackling homophobia as we consider that honour crimes do not only encapsulate cases of intentional killing but also those cases where the victim is led to take his or her own life under psychological pressure from the society and family.
On this day when the UK remembers the victims of honour-based crimes, we call upon the government to ensure that the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women is transposed in the national law in full letter and spirit. We also demand improved oversight of strategy against honour crimes which shall include a comprehensive long-term awareness-raising programme with participation and commitment from all stakeholders. Prosecution of criminals is as much important as prevention of future crimes in the name of traditional practices that lead to violence against women.
Zahid Ali Akbar, Human Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims
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
By Dr Syed Talib Hussain Warsi
Director of Intrafaith Relations, AOBM
The Association of British Muslims strongly condemn and express our revulsion at the brutal and insane act of violence and murder of twelve people and injuring eleven others in Paris at the offices of the satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo.
On behalf of the Muslims residing in Great Britain we express our sorrow and sympathy and convey our condolences to the grieving relatives, friends and associates of those who lost their lives in such tragic circumstance.
The slogan of the perpetrators of this crime “we have avenged Prophet Mohammed, God (Allah) is great” was deliberately made to malign all people of the Muslim faith in the eyes of the world. Islam practiced by all Muslims, except a very small minority, believe that human rights, rights and equality of all religion, race and cultural, plus social justice and freedom are the pillars of our faith. These terrorists are extremely wicked, dangerous, brutal, fanatical part of a particular sect or cult who have disguised themselves wearing the cloak of Islam. They have absolutely and I repeat absolutely nothing what so ever to do with Islam, just like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland had nothing do anything with Christ or Christianity in their recent feuds. If they claim that they are “the pure and true believers and protectors of Islam and Muslims then why have they been killing thousands upon thousands of their own Muslim brothers and sisters within the bounds of the Muslim world. They have slaughtered men, women and children who say God (“Allah”) is great five times a day in their prayers, prayers that are all about peace, love and charity. These, unscrupulous, hideous and barbaric criminals did not hesitate in beheading Peter Edward Kassing, an American who had converted to Islam and adopted a Muslim name “Abdul Rahman Kassing. ,
Time has come to tackle this “cult” who are in a comparative way the Ku Klux Klan of the Muslim world. They are by now a global problem, a global menace. These scourge, the very scum of the modern world are branded as Islamists, whilst I keep repeating that they have absolutely nothing to do with Islam or its ideology. We have to acknowledge the fact that they are not only very well financed, armed and trained but also well versed with the art of using the media, especially the social media and the internet for their ill begotten aims. Their main objective is to subjugate other religions, cultures and societies. All efforts must be made and with great haste and urgency to cut off their sources of funding even if they are coming from some of “our best trading partners”. Never in the history of the modern world have terrorists and warlords received so much from so many, so freely, like ISIS, which many nations of the world must envy. Fellows like Abubaker Baghdadi must be saying to each other, “guys we have never had it so good”.
For the sake of regime, too many times we have encouraged, formed, financed, armed and trained rebel armies whose behaviour are no different to any other terrorist organisation. Often they have had boomerang effects. It is now appearing in the media that two of the terrorists named in the Charlie Hebdo massacre are ‘Syria returned’ i.e. ‘terrorists made in Syria’ perhaps at one of our friendly training camps. After gaining field experience, they have been returned to France with compliments. How sad, what a tragedy.
We beseech our Muslim brothers and sister in this country, France and rest of Europe to work hard within the community, with the government, the police, local authorities and the media in exposing and bringing justice to people with such twisted minds. In the safety of our nations and all its citizens lie the safety of all of us, Muslims or non-Muslims.
All children have a right to a childhood, the right to be educated and the right to be treated fairly. We must do all we can to ensure their rights are protected. Children are not political footballs. Schools must be places where all children feel secure, their talents nurtured and cultivated.
The United Kingdom is a pluralistic multicultural society, comprised of people from many different heritages who hold a wide variety of beliefs including but not limited to; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Wicca, and Atheism. As such, all our schools must be places where people of all backgrounds continue to feel welcome and are treated equally.
The whole point of Ofsted is to be an independent and impartial office that monitors education standards of educational institutions in this country. We hope Ofsted will continue to remain impartial, without getting embroiled in any political agendas.
Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims
Contrary to what some think and even in some cases (shockingly) preach, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, condemned the beating of women.
“How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?”
~ Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. (Bukhari 8.68)
As Muslims, we must stand united on this issue in solidarity with all decent brothers and sisters in our Human Family.
Violence against women is wrong, and must be stopped!
Shaykh Paul Salahuddin Armstrong’s recent interview on A9 TV.