Meaningful symbols bring people in communities together. National flags, for example, play an important part in raising community awareness and pride. The flag of St. Andrew's cross or the Saltire is as familiar in immigrant communities in Scotland as the crescent of Islam, with allegiance to both being a powerful component of citizenship.
As a Scottish Muslim, I am deeply involved in the dynamics of community and the exploration of values of national and ethnic pride. Current discussion of independence and the future referendum is bringing a new focus to what it means to be a Scot, and Muslim communities in Scotland are particularly sensitive to the complexities of culture, race and religion that are perceived as an integral part of Scottishness. Generations who have known no other home than Scotland now have a primary allegiance to this country rather than the nations where their parents or grandparents may have been born.
Therefore the idea of a Scottish Islamic Tartan seemed to me to be the perfect symbol of the future generation in particular, for the younger, educated Muslims caught between two cultures -- East and West, traditional and modern. Instead of conflict, the tartan represents a tightly woven blend of tradition and heritage. By bringing together the strands of two cultures, a symbol is created of something more meaningful than assimilation or accommodation. The tartan represents the new fabric of society, where Muslim Scots with a sense of history and a commitment to the future of Scotland have become an integral part of the New Scotland.
With the design and introduction of a Muslim tartan, I hope to interest, challenge and provoke discussion among people who have Scotland's interests at heart. The exclusion of Muslim communities has never been in the country's interest and Scotland's future, whether devolved or independent, depends on every Scot playing a part in creating a peaceful and successful homeland. What more fitting symbol of this aspiration than an Islamic Tartan?
Click through to see photos of the Scottish Islamic Tartan:
The theological explanation of the design is as follows: - Blue to represent the Scottish Flag - Green to represent the colour of Islam - Five white lines running through the pattern to represent the five pillars of Islam - Six gold lines to represent the six articles of faith - Black square to represent the Holy Kabah Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Launch of the Scottish Islamic Tartan at Glasgow City Chambers on 7th July 2012 Credit: Lindsay Docherty
=From left: Osama Saeed (Head of International Relations at Al Jazeera), Shazia Akhtar (Solicitor and Legal Fellow at The Scotland Institute), Dr Azeem Ibrahim (Executive Chairman of The Scotland Institute), Shabnum Mustapha (Vice Chair of the Scottish Liberal Democrats), Shaikh Amer Jamil (Solas Foundation and Scotland's leading Islamic scholar), Humza Yousaf (SNP Member of Scottish Parliament) Credit: Lindsay Docherty
On the grand staircase of the City Chambers Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Magnificent City Chambers Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Lined up in the Magnificent City Chambers Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Osama Saeed Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Shazia Akhtar Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Shabnum Mustapha Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Azeem Ibrahim wearing the Islamic Tartan kilt Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Shaikh Amer Jamil wearing the Islamic Tartan hat Credit: Lindsay Docherty
Azeem Ibrahim Credit: Lindsay Docherty
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