Last year, I was invited by UK LibDems (Liberal Democratic Party) to observe their Fall Conference. I attended a large number of debates and presentations tackling a diversity of policies with issues ranging from Bio-fuels, green economic growth to election of local police chiefs.
A few of the sessions which I managed to attend talked about Islam and issues related to Britain's large Muslim minority. I was shocked by the fanatic nature of some of the Muslim speakers. To be honest, there were some of the most extremist Muslim speakers I had ever listened to.
One of the concepts a bearded Muslim speaker talked about, in a Liberal Democrat conference, mind you, was the Concept of the 3D Islam. This speaker was in his late fifties or early sixties and was probably from a of Pakistani or Indian origin. In his eyes, Islam was not just a religion. Islam was a religion (Din), a state (Dawla) and a way of life (Donia or life). And hence came his 3D vision or version of Islam!
For the record, I categorically opposed the Swiss vote to ban building Mosque Minarets in Switzerland, as a violation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, just as I denounce bureaucratic, administrative or legal barriers making it difficult for Christians trying to build a Church or Baha'is trying to build a temple of worship in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or any other country for that matter.
Swiss backers of the motion to vote on banning the minarets said the growing Muslim population was straining the country "because Muslims don't just practice religion."
According to Yahoo news,
"The minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering by the burqa, tolerance of forced marriage and genital mutilation of girls," the sponsors said. They said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared mosques to Islam's military barracks and called "the minarets our bayonets." Erdogan made the comment in citing an Islamic poem many years before he became prime minister.
I then realized that there is some truth in that argument. Muslims have to decide. Is Islam a religion or is it a 3D version including a political party and possibly, for even more fanatic Imams, a militia? We can not close our eyes and pretend that the Muslim Brothers do not use the Mosque as a local branch for a radical political party. A couple of years ago, Mahdi Akef, Highest Spiritual Guide, or Morshed of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, announced that he was ready to mobilize 10,000 militants to go and fight in Lebanon. Around the same time, masked students belonging to Muslim Brothers made a demonstration of martial arts showing their fighting skills in broad day light in one of Cairo's universities.
We need to choose. We can protest as much as we like against assaults on freedom of faith, if this is really what it is. Faith. Religion. But if the Islam promoted by mosques is increasingly becoming the 3D version adopted by fanatic Imams, the Muslim Brothers and Al Gamaat El Islamia, then we must re-examine our discourse. I certainly do not and will not support allowing the building of a local branch of a radical religious party disguised as a place of worship.
Now, it is the time for Muslims to choose.
Islam: a religion, or a political party?
Follow Wael Nawara on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WaelNawara