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My Hometown Fanatics: Stacey Dooley Investigates

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I've just finished watching the above titled BBC programme, link and info here:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rammes/p00pbclq

 

It is about Luton, and about Muslims and the population there. It is clear the presenter wanted to try to be balanced, and apart from spending more time with 'Muslim extremists' rather than with 'White extremists' I think she managed it.

 

While I have just watched it, I don't think I can remember all of it! But here are some of my thoughts.

 

Those who shout the loudest are the ones who get heard, which I think she (the presenter) said. It was lovely to see her go into the main Masjid in Luton and to have them say that Islam is a religion of peace and that the extremists are not a part of them (one Muslims said that the people behind 9/11 were not Muslims because of what they did). She also interviewed other 'moderates', and dressed in a full face covering to share the experience of walking around town!

 

It is here that I do have a different point of view. While I agree that, with moderation, people should be allowed to wear what they want, and I would never shout to a Muslim woman with a full face-covering to take off the mask, I am still very hesitant about the full face covering. (By the way, the full face covering existed in Arabia before Muhammad.) It is not the fact that it is a woman hiding her face, but just anyone hiding their face makes me feel nervous, as in 'why are you hiding?'. (Just to make you smile: in Britain there is a small group which always makes it onto TV. It is a group who insist on being allowed to go around naked! It is only men, although I think one time the TV showed a woman with them, and only in summer time!! The mind boggles … )

 

Nevertheless, and I have found this view expressed in this forum, I did find it distasteful for Muslims to be against our troops in Islamic countries. Please note, that I am totally against our troops being there and the wars. I despise Tony Blair and George Bush for what they have done. We should not have been involved in Libya. But the individual men are not to blame: they have to go there and get killed or maimed. It is not the politicians who are there. Crimes such as troops harassing or persecuting civilians are totally wrong. If not all Muslims are extremists, then not all troops are immoral. I think Muslims in Britain do not understand how most non-Muslims feel about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: we are against them, we marched against them, but were/are powerless to stop them.

 

(By the way, the Soviets and USA did try to influence the Islamic countries – and in fact, all other countries – which I think is appalling. That is how the thug Saddam Hussein was kept in power, the USA wanted him there. The Taleban were trained by the USA to fight against Russia. In Syria now, Russia and China are backing the thug they supported. Then again, in the Ukraine both Russia and the USA/West were pouring money into various groups to try to sway the outcome of the general election a few years ago. It is not good.)

 

One thing which did stick on my mind was how the white extremists knew so little of their own western history. It is here that I think a good dialogue could begin. Homosexuals were executed until about 100 years ago or similar. In the Middle Ages, capital punishments for theft and murder were used. Such things are not 'Islamic', but universal. I know that some people do support the re-introduction of some form of capital punishment in Britain. Would a thief rather be sent to prison to be beaten up or worse (male raped), or given say 10 lashes on the back with medical support? If I were faced with the prospect of going to prison, I would rather be lashed. At school, we used to have the cane, but it has since been banned. People are saying that the riots were partly caused by parents fearing to discipline their children for fear of being criminalized.

 

On the whole, I am wondering how the extremists could be made to appear different from 'moderate' Muslims. This would help, I suppose.

 

I joined this forum to learn, and have leant a lot. She ended the programme saying we should learn from each other. Also, personally, I would feel more comfortable in the Central Masjid in Luton than amongst white extremists.

 

If you saw this programme, what are your thoughts?

 

Richard

PS. I was fascinated to hear that one Muslim youth 'saved' from extremism was playing rap music, which some here in this forum see as being not allowed, which does leave me confused as to what extent some Muslims do and other do not allow music.

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