My Review of the BBC Big Questions topic ‘Do British Muslims have problems with Apostates’?

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I’ve just finished the BBC ‘Big Questions’ program. It was, as expected, an anti-Islam fest, attacking Muslim families for not accepting children to leave Islam (despite lots of cases of non-Muslim families rejecting their children for becoming Muslim). They gave the discussion to an Ex-Muslim ‘Amal’, whom was given the lions share of time to attack Islam and Muslims, and ample time afterwards – so much so, it almost became the ‘Amal Show’

Predictably when it came to me, Nicky Campbell first asked the ‘yes or no question’, about whether I believed in a ‘apostasy law’. I responded robustly that I reject the translation ‘apostasy’, and they didn’t like it – not one bit. I approached the topic from outside the box that they wanted me to stay in.

They asked the question, knowing full well that they would sideline the entire discussion I wanted to have, after my answer.

During this segment of the program, I was only allowed to speak three very short times – and only after I was asked very limited ‘yes or no’ questions. I managed to make two quick points that last brief seconds before they were shut down by Nicky or Nicky moving the mic back to ‘Amal’ for another long speech.

The first point was, that the title of the ‘Big Question’ is tritely and unoriginally another attack on the Muslim community in the UK: ‘Do British Muslims have a problem with apostates?’. It serves to further fuel the demonisation of Islam and Muslims in the UK – leading to more anti-Muslim social ostracism (which they were so upset about happening to ex-muslims!).

Why do they say we have a problem with apostates? Because Muslim families don’t react well to their children leaving Islam? If that is the case, why not also mention English people or people from non-christian faith communities who also have a problem with their children becoming Muslim? According to reports, the treatment of them is exactly the same (if not worse in a majority non-Muslim society with a hostile media). Why the focus only on Muslims? At very worst, all that can be argued, is that many Muslim families behave the same way many other families behave in the UK.

The second point I made was that it was anti-Muslim and disingenuous to discuss Islamic State law and connect it to the issue of Britain. 0 ex-Muslims have been killed in the UK, that’s right 0 – so how does this relate to so-called death penalties claimed of Islamic law? It significantly demonises the Muslim community, and endangers them, to suggest that a common human problem amongst all families is somehow, when occurring amongst Muslims, influenced by death penalty laws. This blatantly anti-Muslim argument is hate inducing bigotry worthy of Tommy Robinson (formerly) of the EDL.

The points I made were valid, but I was accused of being ‘slippery’ and avoiding answering the question. No, considering how little time Muslims get to answer points on the show, I was actually trying to make the points I came on the show to make. I made those points, and still humoured Nicky Campbell’s questions.

The question ‘under an Islamic State, in the right sharia conditions…do you think some should be put to death for apostasy’ is a shibboleth invented by Maajid Nawaz, who wanted to catch out Muslims, and however a Muslim answered, they would have had the rest of their opinions ignored and dismissed under either a flurry of fuming Liberal outrage, or demands to then condemn Islam, followed in quick succession by Muslims who disagree. However, I disappointed the anti-Muslim mob by rejecting the false basis for the question, namely, the incorrect English translation and understanding.

I think its time Muslims defined Islam for themselves, and not let the West define it for us. Apostasy (in the modern world) means for someone to change their minds about religion in their mind. This is not what is punished under Irtidad laws. The Prophet Muhammed (saaw) knew who were the apostates and didn’t kill them. Apostates under an Islamic state is better translated as ‘nifaq’. What the Irtidad laws punish is actions – like speech and proclamations which are understood to be seditious/renegade/treasonous in an Islamic State, or physical actions which are the same (like fighting, or helping enemies). Intellectual debate and criticism of Islam – to be clear – is not viewed as seditious etc, since Muslims held many debates with people of different religions, during the many Caliphates. However, the best translation of how classical Islamic scholars understood what Irtidad is and represents, is ‘sedition’ and ‘treason’ – the latter of which potentially carries the death penalty in some states in the U.S. It’s time we end using victorian-era English translations for traditional Islamic concepts. There is nothing in Islamic Fiqh that requires us to us the English word ‘apostate’ – in fact, it could be against fiqh to do so, since fiqh requires we explain Islam accurately.

As Muslims we should not have to change a single Islamic law to please anyone, or anybody – however, we should try to improve the accuracy of translating Islamic concepts into the English language. The issue I take is translation. Therefore, I think we should all reject the english translation of ‘irtidad’ as ‘apostasy’ – just like I reject the claim that Islam has a anti-‘homosexual’ law – which is merely a individual that has feelings for same gender. This should not to be confused with same-sex intercourse, which is an action that is prohibited under Islamic law- regardless of the sexual preference of the person committing it. [Btw – only public exhibitions of illegal sexual intercourse are punished by an Islamic State, private acts are forbidden too, but are accountable to God alone). ‘Homosexual’ is, again, another Victorian-era word Muslims have unwisely used, which has led to much misunderstanding. Let’s stick to Classical Islamic terms, and decide ourselves how best to translate them into English, and not yield it to Western pundits – some of whom will merely project their own misunderstandings onto our Deen.

For my efforts, I was called ‘slippery’ by the anti-Muslim lynch mob, more out of their frustration than because I didn’t answer the ‘Muslim Test Checklist’ that was posed to me in the way they wanted – despite my answers being clear and unequivocal. In fact I answered, and answered again the question, with no comebacks from my detractors. They wheeled on the ‘ex-Muslim’ called ‘Amal’, who evidently was still obsessed with the religion she left behind. She ranted and interrupted me many times, shouting over me (the only way to respond to my points it seems), however, with what little time I was allowed to speak I continued to make my points, clearly – and point out the problems with the show, and the double standards by which they judge Muslim families for something practiced by alot of wider society.

Of course, the ex-Muslim ‘Amal’ was given a large amount of time to, without any reference, or any rational argument, simply spew assertions that I was lying (or doing ‘taqiyya’ lol), which is the best she could do. She left Islam due to ignorance, so it makes sense that she can only defend that decision by further words of ignorance. They then asked me to condemn Haitham al Haddad insultingly as ‘a bigot’ for his alleged words and opinions, because I had shared a platform with him. I asked them that if they are so interested in accounting him for his words, than invite him onto their show and let him defend himself – not do the cowardly thing, and ask someone who happened to share a platform with him to do so. I’ve shared a platform with many people, Christians, Atheists, Modernists and Feminists. I argued on the same team as Gay Rights and Human Rights Activist, Peter Tatchell, against Patriotism, at the Oxford Union – does that mean I support him or agree with him, or even know, all his other views because I’ve never condemned him? No. Furthermore, we hear much furore from Liberals who tell people not to ‘judge others’, or ‘only God know’s their heart’ as Modernists like to say – yet when it comes to Muslims, we get no such gentlemanly treatment.

I was asked by another guest, what I thought of FGM – I flatly condemned it. However, I’ve pointed out in the past, that in the West, Women go to plastic surgeries to get ‘labioplasties’ – which effectively mutilate female genitals for aesthetic reasons. It would seem, the West doesn’t actually mind FGM as long as it’s consensual! (perhaps they should rename the crime ‘non-consensual FGM’?!).

Another Muslim panellist, Mohammed Shafiq, was attacked with the demand as to why he criticised Maajid Nawaz for retweeting a cartoon of the Prophet (saaw). What relation this had to do with ‘apostasy’ and British Muslim families, I do not know. Needless to say, me and Br Shafiq were intended to be targets in the show, not guests. We didn’t oblige them. Mohammed even pointed out that Amal was ridiculously been given a lot of time, while the two Muslims voices were reduced to just answering ‘yes or no’ questions.

It seems that all they want Muslims to do in public, is agree to their checklist of acceptable (Secular Liberal) beliefs and doctrines, and condemn those people they hate – other than that, our beliefs, opinions, criticisms, including all their subtleties and nuances – they don’t want to hear. And when a Muslim takes the time to bring their own opinions to the table, they condemn them as ‘slippery’, for not immediately and exclusively answering the checklist set of questions they’re only interested in hearing about. In some of the last moments, I had to *forcefully* enter the conversation to speak, I pointed out that the proceedings of this ‘debate’ is not an open and fair discussion that gives people a chance to truly express their point of view, but  proceedings worthy of an Inquisition Court.

After the show, as I was walking out, one of the audience attendees, an english non-Muslim approached me. He said ‘I don’t agree with everything you believe, but they were quite unfair on you, not giving you much time, attacking you and not letting you speak’.

Of course that’s TV, all programs have an agenda, and when the agenda is weak, not letting people with opposing ideas get an equal chance to speak is their best weapon.

The ‘big question’ of the program was ‘Do British Muslims have a problem with apostates?’ – I said no we don’t have a problem in Britain with apostates. But the Islamophobes were more interested in asking about sharia law in a hypothetical Islamic State. They later try to claim I was avoiding the question, yet I was the only one who wasn’t avoiding the actual question.

 

UPDATE: The video of the full program can be found here.



Categories: EVENT REVIEWS

10 replies

  1. These British television “debate” shows are nearly always fixed to support the beliefs of the people who dominate the station. Whoever they like they give the bulk of the airtime and always the last word. Whoever they don’t like they undermine in many subtle and less subtle ways – the favourites are hostile questioning and simply not letting them speak.

    If you are an atheist, homosexual, feminist, secular fundamentalist they will generally treat you like an honoured guest – if you believe in God and socially conservative social values they will do their best to hide your point of view and make you look like a fool.

  2. l watched the big question you write about, I fail to see your point about anti Islam. You were given every chance to make clear your view, as you tried to dodge a straight question what are people to think?
    Do Muslims not understand most English,Irish, Welsh and Scottish people’s of our land think Mohamed was a clever conman. unlike you who are being conned.Your god must be thinking what has this man done.
    I will defend your right to worship your god but we reserve the right to question.And worship our God of the Jews.

    • bob, since you so enthusiastically worship the ‘god of the jews’, you should be made aware of what they think about christians like you. Hopefully, the following should cure your chronic lack of knowledge and inherent hatred of Islam (FYI, the correct spelling is MUHAMMAD. Get it right). Anyhoo, see –

      Clarification of some jewish terms:

      A major jewish publication, the Jewish Chronicle, reveals that the jewish word for gentile (ie – non-jewish) woman is the offensive Yiddish word ‘shiksa’ – meaning ‘whore’. It is derived from the hebrew root ‘sheigetz’ (ie – ‘abomination’). It is also pointed out that a little gentile girl is called a ‘shikselke’, and it means ‘little female abomination’ (The jewish chronicle, May 17, 1991, ‘Some carefully and carelessly chosen words’, by C. Bermant).

      Shiksa – the jewish term for a gentile woman, from the root word ‘sheigetz’, meaning ‘abomination’ or ‘whore’.

      Shikselke – A gentile little girl, meaning ‘little female abomination’.

      HERE ARE ACTUAL VERSES FROM THE TALMUD. FULLY REFERENCED:

      1) talmud sanhedrin 59a, page 400, soncino edition, 1935.
      A heathen (gentile/non-jew) who pries into the torah and other jewish scriptures is condemned to death, for it is written, it is OUR inheritence, not theirs.

      2) 57a Gittin, London, soncino press, page 261, translated by M. Simon 1936.
      Balaam (Jesus) is raised from the dead and being punished in boiling hot semen. Those who mock the words of the jewish sages and sin against israel are boiled in hot excrement.

      3) talmud sanhedrin, baba mezia, 114a-114b.
      Only jews are human. Gentiles are animals.

      4) talmud sanhedrin 57a, page 388, soncino edition 1935.
      For murder, whether of a Cuthean (gentile) by a Cuthean, or of an israelite by a Cuthean, punishment is incurred; but of a Cuthean by an israelite, there is no death penalty.

      5) babylonian talmud. Funk & wagnall’s jewish encyclopaedia, 1907, gentile, page 617.
      Even the best of the gentiles should be killed.

      6) talmud, moed kattan, baba mezia, 114a-114b, soncino edition 1935, talmud sanhedrin.
      If a jew is tempted to do evil, he should go to a city where he is not known and do the evil there.

      7) Funk & Wagnall’s jewish encyclopaedia, 1907, gentile, page 621.
      Gentiles’ flesh is as the flesh of asses and whose issue is like the issue of horses.

      8) talmud sanhedrin, 58b, page 398, soncino edition. 1935.
      If a heathen (gentile) hits a jew, the gentile must be killed. Hitting a jew is hitting God.

      9) talmud, babba kamma, 37b, page 211, soncino edition, 1935.
      If an ox of an israelite gores an ox of a Canaanite, there is no liability. But if an ox of a Canaanite (gentile) gores an ox of an israelite, the payment is to be in full.

      10) talmud baba mezia 24a, also affirmmed in baba kamma 113b, talmud sanhedrin, page 666, soncino edition, 1935.
      If a jew finds an object lost by a heathen (gentile), it does not have to be returned.

      11) talmud sanhedrin, 76a, page 470, soncino edition, 1935.
      God will not spare a jew who marries his daughter to an old man or takes a wife for his infant son or returns a lost article to a Cuthean (gentile).

      12) talmud sanhedrin, 57a, page 388, soncino edition, 1935.
      What a jew obtains by theft from a Cuthean (gentile), he may keep.

      13) talmud, babba kamma, 37b, soncino edition, 1935.
      Gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has exposed their money to israel.

      14) talmud, babba kamma, 113a, page 664-665, soncino edition, 1935.
      Jews may use lies (subterfuges) to circumvent a gentile.

      15) talmud yebamoth, 98a, soncino edition, 1936.
      All gentile (non-jew) children are animals.

      16) talmud, abodah zarah, 22a-22b, soncino edition, 1935.
      Gentiles prefer sex with cows.

      17) talmud, abodah zarah, 67b, soncino edition, 1935.
      The vessels of gentiles, do they impart a worsened flavour to the food cooked in them?.

      18) talmud sanhedrin 105a-b, page 717, soncino edition, 1935.
      Balaam (Jesus) fornicated with his jackass.

      19) 57a Gittin, talmud sanhedrin, pg.261, soncino press 1936, translated by Simon M. Trans
      jewish priests raised balaam (Jesus) from the dead and punished him in boiling hot semen.

      20) talmud sanhedrin 106a and 105a-b, pg.726, soncino edition 1935.
      She who was the descendant of princes and governors (the virgin Mary), played the harlot with a carpenter.

      21) talmud sanhedrin, 52b, pg.356, soncino edition, 1935.
      Jesus was lowered into a pit of dung upto his armpits. Then a hard cloth was placed within a soft one, wound round his neck and the two ends pulled in opposite directions until he was dead.

      22) talmud sanhedrin 106 soncino 1935 edition & jewish encyclopaedia, balaam, pg.469.
      Hast thou heard how old balaam (Jesus) was?. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. It follows that he was thirty three or thirty four years old.

      23) talmud sanhaedrin 90a, soncino edition 1935.
      Those who read the uncanonical books (new testament), will have no portion in the world to come.

      24) talmud sanhedrin 116a, soncino edition 1935.
      jews must destroy the books of the christians.

      25) The jewish press, (1988).Feb.19.8C.
      ‘Marriage to a gentile can never be sanctioned or condoned. Such a liaison classifies the woman as ‘zona’. Common parlance interprets the term ‘zona’ to refer to a prostitute.

      A leading zionist academic, reported that the zionists publicly and ceremoniously burned hundreds of copies of the new testament in Jerusalem on March 23, 1980. They were destroyed under the auspices of yad le’akhim, a jewish religious organisation susidized by the israeli ministry of religions (I. Shahak, jewish history, jewish religion, 1994, page 21). Furthermore, Dr. Shahak wrote –
      ‘jewish children are actually taught passages such as that which commands every jew, whenever passing near a cemetery, to utter a blessing if it is jewish, but to curse the mothers of the dead if it is non-jewish. It became customary to spit (usually three times) upon seeing a church or a crucifix’. By I. Shahak, jewish history, jewish religion, page 23 & 93, 1994 edition.
      Furthermore, Dr. Shahak quoted the very popular, israeli published ‘talmudic encyclopaedia’, which discusses the relationship between jew and goy (‘goy’ meaning any non-jew):
      ‘If a jew has coitus (sexual intercourse) with a gentile woman, whether she be a child of three or an adult, whether married or unmarried and even if she is a minor aged only nine years and one day old – because he had willful coitus with her, she must be killed and as is the case with a beast, because through through her, a jew got into trouble’ (Chapter ‘Goy’, talmudic encyclopaedia). By I. Shahak, jewish history, jewish religion, page 87, 1994 edition.

      • I see what you are trying to convey, one I should take time to find how to spell a man’s name, two both jews and Muslims have religious beliefs that justify violence, I may have been too subtle with my point which is you either worship the god of the jews or a Muslim god.So if you recognise Jesus as a prophet as most Muslims say they do,Jesus was a Jew who claimed to be the son of the god of the jews.So we either worship the same god or there are two gods.Game on. The man who’s name has to be spelled correctly was either talking to the Jewish god or found another or as I believe he is to be admired as a clever conman. I do not seek to diminish the man but he has to have answered to his god and or the Jewish god.either way muhammad V Jesus christ = paradise or Heaven unless God changes his mind again.

    • What about this hadith brother?

      Volume 4, Book 56, Number 720:
      Narrated Jabir:

      We were in the company of the Prophet in a Ghazwa. A large number of emigrants joined him and among the emigrants there was a person who used to play jokes (or play with spears); so he (jokingly) stroked an Ansari man on the hip. The Ans-ari got so angry that both of them called their people. The Ansari said, “Help, O Ansar!” And the emigrant said “Help, O emigrants!” The Prophet came out and said, “What is wrong with the people (as they are calling) this call of the period of Ignorance? “Then he said, “What is the matter with them?” So he was told about the stroke of the emigrant to the Ansari. The Prophet said, “Stop this (i.e. appeal for help) for it is an evil call. “Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul (a hypocrite) said, “The emigrants have called and (gathered against us); so when we return to Medina, surely, the more honorable people will expel therefrom the meaner,” Upon that ‘Umar said, “O Allah’s Prophet! Shall we not kill this HYPOCRITE (i.e. Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul) ?” The Prophet) said, “(No), lest the people should say that Muhammad used to kill his companions.”

  3. I found the show to be too much like the Jerry Springer show in the states and I’m not sure but I don’t think the United Kingdom is ready for such garbage. I watched one on Homophobic Christians

    with Richard Dawkins as a guest. Always eloquent and quite informed of the topics he comments on which is a lot more than I can say for the audience and the likes of Betty King and her bigotry and ignorance. To think that the BBC could allow such an annoying woman for the world to see was more than I as well as a million others thanx to youtube needs to see. It is not real hard to see who this show takes sides with. Not looking forward to seeing another Question Period.

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Trackbacks

  1. Video: BBC 1 ‘Big Questions': British Muslims & Apostates, Is UK culture hostile to men, and is there a stigma against stay-at-home mothers? | Abdullah al Andalusi
  2. Abdullah Al Andalusi, BBC The Big Questions and Islamic apostasy – The Rationalizer

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