Young British Muslims are becoming much more liberal – but they aren’t less religious as a result

Muslims, especially second generation Muslims, seem to be finding ways to reconcile British culture with religion. It’s only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt, it can do so in Britain as well

…. So when Ipsos MORI released a review last month of all the major polling data on Muslim social attitudes to date, it’s surprising that no one picked up on the significance of its findings. Delve into the detail and what you find is something completely new.

What it showed is that Muslims are becoming more liberal. But what was surprising was that they’re not becoming less religious; if anything, the data suggests the opposite. The report noted rising religious observance over the 2005-2009 period, saying “this rise was particularly evident in the younger (16-29) age group (from 68 per cent to 80 per cent)” compared to 73-79 per cent for all Muslims.

And yet, these Muslims are more likely to want to fully integrate into all aspects of British life, have ethnically diverse friendship groups and think it correct that homosexuality is legal in Britain.

What is happening? Muslims, especially second generation Muslims, seem to be finding ways to reconcile British culture with religion. It’s only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt, it can do so in Britain as well. Apparently, it can do so without becoming less Islamic.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Whilst this can only be good news, if true, it is a bit of a PR article that glosses over many of the issues the Muslim community and Islam, as too often practiced, has.

There is fair agreement as to the issues with Islam and these have been discussed at length by people who have fundamental opposition to Islam, like Murray, to reformers, like Nawaz.

The near universal and unyielding view that the Koran is the literal word of Allah, that Mohammed is a perfect human and beyond question and the less universal but still common belief that Islamic law, Sharia, is a perfect legal system leads to an ever present intolerance amongst a disturbingly large minority/majority.

Being decentralised doesn’t help either, leaving latitude for extremism even if the majority become liberal.

All of this is self evident in the Islamic world today with 14 nations believing that leaving Islam or being an atheist should be punished by death, the prevalence of widespread sectarian violence and the continued existence of extremity groups like Isis.

Certainly, the increase of liberal imams in the UK will help but it’s worth pointing out that almost half of all British mosques are run by conservative/extreme Islamic sects and MI5 say ~1% of the British Muslim populations are a threat to safety and security. Social attitude surveys suggests and 10-30% hold extreme views. So, there’s a long way to go.

[ANOTHER] “It’s only natural that, when Islamic thought has adapted to the context in Malaysia, in Pakistan and in Egypt,”

The latter two being among the most misogynistic countries in the world; 90% of women have been genitally mutilated in Egypt.

So maybe there is a little more adapting to do, I reckon.

[ANOTHER] Having visited Malaysia let me assure you they take their Islam seriously there. The Chinese areas are laid back and liberal but Malay areas are every bit as strict as their Middle Eastern counterparts.

[ANOTHER] Far be it from me to denounce the slowest kid in the class when they demonstrate minor but positive incremental changes especially as the fact is that the overwhelming majority of UK Muslims lead peaceful lives.

What’s concerning is that this survey shows little or no improvement in the majority views regarding the more alarming findings shown in the extensive poll of Muslims in the UK in April 2016 conducted by ICM and reported in the Guardian and by Channel 4. Here are just three results with the approximate population numbers included, based on the known 3 Million Muslims in the UK.

52% Muslims agree that homosexuality should illegal in Britain.

38% believe it is not the responsibility of Muslims to condemn terrorist acts carried out in the name of Islam.

6% Muslims say they would not report activities supporting violent extremism to the police.

[ANOTHER] Turkey was relatively secular for 100 years under Ataturk but that hasn’t stopped the rise of a virulent strain of Islam there. Nor does it changes the fundamentals of islam one iota.

ECHR Judgement Summary: “sharia law is incompatible with democracy and human rights”

Source: “Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe”

Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”.

According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts. [The Independent] Read more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: