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Panorama Friday, 19 October, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Your comments on Koran and Country
Your Comments on Koran and Country

Firstly I would like to thank the BBC on their fair attempt at trying to 'put the finger on the pulse' when it comes to the feelings of British Muslims regarding this current crisis. There were many positive and responsible comments made by some of the people interviewed, especially the Imam of the Central Mosque. This was highly representative of the disappointment and scepticism with which many people - and I STRESS, Muslims as well as non-Muslim - are looking upon the retaliatory attacks that are taking place as we speak on the innocent people of Afghanistan. For if the statistics are correct, then since the bombing started there has been more 'collateral damage' (a sick term by which to refer to the loss of innocent lives with) as well as damage to non-hostile targets than the number of targets bombed put together! It is a shame to see that those very people and nations who so proudly boast of their desire to uphold the values of 'democracy', ┐freedom┐ and ┐justice┐ that we keep hearing of have failed so miserably on all accounts as a result of their irresponsible actions. May God protect the innocent and allow the Truth to prevail!!

I found your programme "Koran and Country" deeply disturbing. You might as well have invited the Taleban and Osama Bin Laden himself to use the programme for a Party political broadcast! However, the comments which this programme has provoked have been very interesting to read. I would say the post programme on-line debate has far more value than the programme itself.
K Sharif

If the Muslim Community in Britain [be they a minority at the moment] feel the way they do now, I shudder to think what Britain is going to be like in fifty years time when they are a more substantial proportion of the British population. Islam may be a peaceful religion, but, by it's very essence, it is an intolerant ideology.

This programme portrayed a very negative image of Islam, once again the west have done it! The majority of Muslims are against the recent retaliatory attacks against Afghanistan because it is seen the attacks are taking place as revenge but not as a form to fight against terrorism. We could see this because the attacks are taking place without any solid evidence ageist the Taleban and the Al Quaeda network. I am not saying that they are innocent but every move should be taken to find hardcore evidence against the suspects. I don't understand the west, have they not learnt from their previous mistakes such as when the Muslims were targeted as the prime suspects for carrying out the Oklahoma bombings?

As a British Muslim wishing and willing to live within the UK in peace, harmony and tolerance and respect of other people no matter their creed, colour or race I found the programme very inflammatory, of creating deep hatred towards the many peaceful British Muslims. The Imam of Birmingham was very hypocritical just as many extremist so called leaders of Muslims within the UK by stating that the west is at war with Islam. The west has clearly stated that it is not at war with Islam and besides only in the west are Muslims free to practice whichever form of Islam they feel free to follow, be it Sunni or Shia or Brehlvi etc. We are also allowed to propagate Islam in peace too as well as western governments helping us with our Islam by providing us grants and funding for Islamic schools and mosques.

None of this would be possible under the extreme taleban regime where it's either you follow their version of Islam or instead be persecuted just as many shia Muslims are. I am fully supportive of the west's action against the Taleban and Osama Bin Laden because the Afghan people have suffered very much under the Taleban regime. However I wish not to see the Northern Alliance in power in Afghanistan since they treat the Afghan Muslims in a very bad manner too. The West's war in Afghanistan should be for the good and benefits of the Afghan Muslims.
Faheema Ahmed

Watching this Panorama, it occurs to me that the problem with all religions is that they say to people "Here is what you should think" whereas what they should be ASKING is "what do you think?" The problem is not Muslim. It is Catholic, Christian, Jew, Mormon et al....... Why do we need religion? Are we as humans not capable or individual thought? I am not anti-Christian, Anti-British or anti-Bin Laden or Tony Blair. I do think that we should question everything.
Niall Palmer

I am a Muslim and totally hate and reject extremism. The majority of our parents follow their culture far greater than their religion. Some have found their children turning to extremism and are baffled by it. The question which I have always asked is what breeds this new extremism in the minority of the youths? I personally think a possible reason could be that often in inner city areas of deprivation, young people have become isolated from the average every day standards in Britain. So their perception of the British way of life is perhaps distorted. For example with the extreme group Al Muhajiroon (an extreme Islamic militant group, which is like a cult, and majority of Muslims reject) it seems to operate in inner city council estates preying on young sincere people. It could be that they are taking advantage of their different circumstances and perceptions.

Our Muslim communities have always been peaceful. I stress that extremists are a minority as in all societies. Majority of Muslims are sincere and totally reject the views of such groups From past experience, it is always the extremists who seem to get more media coverage and it is no surprise that they enjoy every bit of the publicity and are hungry for it. It's an excellent tool for promoting themselves, and proving their important position by having such respected organisations like the BBC desperately wanting their viewpoint rather than the other Million Muslims who also have a voice. Please lets start talking to every day Muslims and non Muslims and not let the extremists dominate or intimidate.

This weeks show only showed the radical Sunni view of what's going on. Islam has many branches and the show only talked about one of them. I want to talk about the sheite view; 1) The taleban hunt us down and kill us like animals 2) We think that most of their laws are false. 3) We completely have a different view about women, to us men and women are equal in every way. 4) We think that the Taleban has completely defaced Islam with the rules that don't even exist. 5) Jihad has to consist of three key points, 1 the protection of your country 2 the protection of your religion and 3 the protection for your women. For the future please go to a Sheite centre/mosque and give the full picture instead of the radical views alone. There are a lot of sheite centres and 1 mosque in London.

I can't believe how pro-Muslim this programme was. As far as I'm concerned, Enoch Powell was right.
Dave Lee

Viewing the Panorama programme on Islam in Britain (and in the World at large) only served to confirm long known facts, that as a creed, Islam is in total ideological contradistinction with virtually every value cherished in the non-Islamic world. It is therefore incomprehensible that many Muslims feel there is no contradiction in terms between being "British" and Muslim simultaneously.

In that case, why was it necessary in the "name of cherished Islamic values" to create a totally separate "Islamic state" in the same country during the partition of India? Why could not Muslims at that time have said: "I am just a Muslim, without having to become a Pakistani?" But no, in that context, the separateness and exclusivity of Islam was strongly asserted. So, how much longer is the world to countenance such smug hypocrisy? How come such pious followers of the Koranic Faith do not find contrariety in residing in the UK??

I watched the programme with interest. One thing that appalled me more than any other was the reaction of the younger people who were "Islamic first, British Second". To give these people airtime was craven in the least. They are British and should behave like it - If they want to be Islamic fine, I have no problem with that but they live here and must contribute to society here first. If they wish to live in an Islamic society then by all means emigrate to Saudi Arabia. The last time I looked a majority of Britain was Christian and has been for 1500 years. These people have no right to dictate to the majority of the country. I was also saddened to see the reaction of the young girls in the programme. It speaks ill of a any religion to set men and women apart. The way they live their lives will always identify Muslim women. We should follow Turkey's example and ban the veil.

I believe that the programme did not show a balanced view of Muslims. I am not saying that what happened in America on 11th September was right. But killing innocent people is also wrong, especially children. I feel that Britain and Tony Blair have not supported the British Muslims. However showing hostility towards Muslims will not stop what's happening in the world. I would like to take this moment to say that Muslims should not be blamed for what happened in America. As America is no different and is attacking back. Why is there no respect being paid to those Muslims dying in the world?

I'm a British Muslim who strongly supports the allied military action on the Taleban. The Afghan people have suffered long enough under the extreme and violent rules the Taleban have enforced upon them with their severely extreme and violent interpretations of the quraan. This is not a war against Islam, since if the west was at war with Islam then we Muslims in the west wouldn't enjoy our differing Islamic freedoms we have. The Taleban have long been persecuting Muslims especially the Shia Muslims within Afghanistan, many of whom I have met in Glasgow and been told shocking stories of the Taleban's persecution of them.

The west is not persecuting Muslims, it's the Taleban who are persecuting Muslims by conveying a very false and bad portrayal and image of Islam through their sheer brutality and extremism. As regarding the people in Birmingham on Panorama, if you do not like the west or don't appreciate living in the west where we have such great Islamic freedom then please leave this country and go to Afghanistan to live because you are just giving the majority of Muslims a very bad image, just like the taleban do.
Dr Kulsum Motala

I am sick of seeing Muslims demanding that we stop the conflict. What do they really want us to do after Bin Laden did what he did to the WTC? - which still sickens me every time I watch footage of it and the following Anthrax scare. If the Taleban had handed him over maybe the war would not have happened but he is hiding in a Muslim country and he has to be destroyed along with his Taleban following because left alone who knows what evil he would shower on the West. And these protesters in the West would mean nothing to him whilst he carried out his acts of terrorism.
Madeline Boyle

Anyone who believes that this is a war against Islam is a FOOL. If it was, then Muslims would not be allowed to live in the west, they would be killed or kicked out. This is not the case, therefore this is not a war against Islam. If the Taleban had condemned the attacks of Sept 11 and invited US representatives into Afghanistan to search for Bin Laden, then there would undoubtedly be no western military action there now. Any other country that deliberately harboured terrorists would be subject to the same international treatment, but no civilised government would act in this way. It was this lack of responsible statesmanship that has lead to the current situation. It is therefore the Taleban who are to blame for the attacks on Afghanistan.
James Hale

I think Randa Abdullah (London), you are the one under misconception. Can you tell me the percentage of women in Muslim nations who actually go out to work/run companies etc? They're not even allowed to go out alone. Also, if women are treated the same as men - why don't men have to wear the veil.

Having watched a very informative programme about the genuine fears and concerns of British Muslims, I like some of the other people contributing to this comment board are asking why is the BBC not investigating the suffering of Christians in Islamic nations? Has everyone forgotten that there are aid workers sitting in a jail in Afghanistan for the alleged crime of sharing their faith. Their punishment, if found guilty, will be death according to Islamic law.

I would desperately like to see British Muslims joining with Christians to condemn this action as unjust. I respect anyone's right to practice their faith openly and without hindrance but I object to double standards being applied which seems to be happening with Islam at the moment. Just now there are thousands of Christians suffering torture and murder in many Muslim nations just because of their faith. Please do not forget these people, especially just now, the 3 millions living in Pakistan who must be living in complete terror as the frightening violence continues around them in support of the Taleban.
A. Moore

I must say that I was deeply hurt and disappointed by your programme, and am not sure what your motives were. Was it to inflame the delicate situation more? For a start, the title of the programme was provocative "Koran and country"; as if implying that British Muslims have a problem being loyal to the crown! I am a practising Muslim, and yes, while there is solidarity with people of all religions suffering from cruelty and oppression, we are not fanatics nor is there a problem being British and a practising Muslim. The programme portrayed a segmented view and was not balanced with Muslims holding other views. Yes, it was stressed that this programme is not representative of UK Muslim opinion, but my fear is that you may have misled the non Muslim audience to thinking that Muslims are not loyal. I hope in future you will have programmes with all opinions and not just one.

Koran and Country

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