“…we believe that they reflect other forms of religiously-inspired intolerance and barbarity that are thriving amongst certain sections of the Muslim population in Britain: including, but not limited to, the denigration and oppression of women, the molestation of young children, the committing of so-called honor killings, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and continued support for those responsible for terrorist atrocities…”
Firstly, it is not ethical or correct in any way to say that molestation of young children, honor killings, support for terrorist atrocities, oppression of women are religiously inspired. What the EDL are suggesting in this part of their mission statement is that Islam teaches and practices them.
This is an insult to the religion of Islam and Muslims who practise it. Here are some pointers for you to think about regarding these accusations. I have put together my immediate thoughts but will place links below each refutation for a more detailed and further reading.
Molestation of young children:
Before Islam came, marrying young girls was the practice of people and tribes of that era. During the period when the Prophet (s) was sent this was the continuous general practice and culture of the people. The reason they practised marrying young was because girls would mature at around 7-10 years old. They would have periods, mature attitudes, and were ready for having children at that age. They were able to take care of the household, work and communicate like an 18 year old today. You will find this in any good history book.
Secondly, no one during that era made this claim which you are making, that the Prophet ‘molested young girls’. If it was a crime or unethical at that time, the non-Muslims in that period would have vilified the Prophet Mohammed for that action in particular, but they did not. Only many years later, when it was considered socially taboo and the social dynamics had changed, did society begin to criticise this.
Thirdly, it was only something recommended, not something obligatory from our religion. Hence, no Muslims practise it now; girls this day and age are not mature and ready for marriage at that age.
Fourthly, look at how homosexuality was viewed in the 70’s and 80’s – slogans like ‘kill the homos’ were common and homosexuality was not tolerated at all, but now it’s considered intolerant not to tolerate it. With time, social dynamics change, so people change and, likewise, behavior changes also.
In the 1880s, the age of consent in some countries was 7 and in others it was 10. In the 1920s, the age of consent in Scotland and Spain was 12. In 2007, in Spain and Argentina, the age of consent was 13 see (1). So be careful not to throw stones whilst you live in a glass house.
This is prohibited in Islam. Allah says in the Quran: “whoever takes the life of one soul has taken the life of the whole of mankind” (Chapter 5). He also says “and do not take the life of anyone which Allah has made sacred”. So how did you attribute the cultural practices of some Muslims to the religion Islam?
To say honor killings are religiously inspired is a gross misinterpretation of Islam. Furthermore, what about the honor killing that goes on here in the UK amongst non-Muslims i.e., Raoul Mout (2)? We do not claim this is inspired by Christianity. Women are being killed by their partners for changing their status on facebook to ‘single’ (3), or by adding their photos on facebook (4). In this country, two women are killed every week through domestic violence (5) – honor killing in the culture of Great Britain. So, again, don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house.
Support for terrorist activities:
You will never find Islam calling or supporting such activitities. The Quran explicitly prohibits this. So to say this is religiously inspired is a gross misinterpretation of Islam. Just take a look at the work this Islamic organisation is actively doing to speak out against terrorism (6, 7). This is just one Islamic organisation; there are many all over UK refuting and condemning terrorism. Furthermore, when terrorism inspired by western democracy or communism or Zionism appears, why is it you simply turn a blind eye (8, 9,10).
Oppression of women:
I take it you mean by this the covering up of her body and face, i.e. burka, or hijab. This is not oppression; it is freedom! Ask any Muslim woman if she wants to wear this attire or if she feels oppressed wearing it. Here in the UK, Muslim women have more freedom than in some countries, so if you see a woman in a burka here in the UK it’s almost guaranteed that she is doing this of her own free will. Your problem with the burka is here in the UK. So it’s not oppression, it’s that women are expressing their right to wear what they choose! It’s their democratic liberal right to dress and look how they like. To force them to take off the burka or face veil is oppressing them. So it seems your intolerance is the real oppression of Muslim women and not Islam.
Barbarity of the 7th century understanding of Islam:
To say that is to say that Islam is a barbaric religion, period. This then means that, by default, all Muslims are barbaric without exception, because Islam was revealed in the 7th Century, and it has never been more pure in its teachings at any one time more than that time.
These days, Muslims have added practices to the religion that were not from it; we reject all additions and subtractions, for that matter. Muslims take offence to this claim that Islam is barbaric. The main aims and goals of the shariah are five – to protect life, property, honor, religion, and intellect. Some scholars add freedoms of speech and actions – how can this be barbaric! Anyone with common sense will agree these are moral values that all religions and ways of life with decency will protect.
As for the penal law of taking a life for a life – is it not better to be severe in taking one person’s life in order to save many lives than put hundreds of others’ lives at risk? Just look at the fear that spread around the UK during the time of the Yorkshire ripper in the past and the recent Raoul Mout rampage, just to mention a few.
Exposing the Western Barbaric way of life 2011
EDL further claim:
“… the 7th century interpretation of Islam are antithesis of western democracy…” they also say: “ it (Islam)runs counter to all that we hold dear within our British liberal democracy…”
Let’s take a glimpse at our dear, western democratic values. The political values of liberalism have caused the very social decay being witnessed today. In February 2009, the Children’s Society (11) launched the report ‘A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age’ (12), which presented evidence stating that “Britain and the U.S. have more broken families than other countries, and our families are less cohesive in the way they live and eat together. British children are rougher with each other and live more riskily in terms of alcohol, drugs and teenage pregnancy, and they are less inclined to stay in education. This comes against a background of much greater income inequality: many more children live in relative poverty in Britain and the U.S.”  The report also supports this article’s conclusions that social breakdown and decay is due to the premise of liberalism – individualism.[ (13)]
The atomistic trends in modern liberal societies have affected the treatment towards the most vulnerable. The seventeen months of torture and agony inflicted on ‘Baby P’ is probably one of the worst stories of child abuse in the UK. The baby was found dead after months of torture with broken ribs and a broken back (14). In the UK, according to NSPCC research, 7% of children experienced serious physical abuse at the hands of their parents or carers during childhood (15). In the US, an estimated 3.6 million children were accepted by state and local child protection services as alleged victims of child maltreatment for investigation or assessment.
Treatment of Women
Liberalism’s political values have affected the way British society treats women. According to Amnesty International (UK) (16), 167 women are raped everyday in the UK. Domestic violence accounts for nearly a quarter of all recorded violent crime in England and Wales – one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime and one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute. The UK is not alone in its maltreatment of women; in the US, a woman is raped every 6 minutes and battered every 15 seconds (16).
So let the EDL take a good look at their mission statement and realise they live in a glass house, so they should not throw stones.
I could not transfer the links (i.e. numbers in the brackets) from my word document. If anyone wants the word version of the above text, please let me know.