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Iraqi Expat

Friday, April 08, 2005

Shariah TV on Channel 4

I was flipping through the channels last night while having my last fag (by that I mean a cigarette) before I sleep when I found this interesting programme on Channel 4, "Shariah TV". I have watched an episode of its first series sometime ago and thought it was interesting, so I decided to watch this one.

The programme has a panel of three and a group of intellectual Muslims. Now this programme isn’t targeting non-Muslim Brits, simply because it doesn’t tackle Islam from the point of view of a non-Muslim, it doesn’t offer explanations, it doesn’t solve perception problems and it doesn’t explains how to deal with it. It is basically tackling problems Muslim Brits encountering in their daily life while living in a Western society.

That fact that this programme hosts young intellectuals lived most of their lives in Britain is interesting. What is even more interesting is the panel. In the panel yesterday, was an Imam from Manchester, I will call him R because I can’t remember his name, another Imam from the Muslim Council of Britain, I will call him M and Dr Mona Siddiqui, Head of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Glasgow. Most women include Dr Siddiqui did not wear Hijab, and all participants were practicing Muslims who believe in Islam. Therefore, they were concerned about certain issues and they requested answers from the panel.

The reaction and answers from the panel was rather amusing. Imam R was rather radical in his answer, whereas Imam M was moderate and Dr Siddiqui was rational. What happens is that the moderate Imam M would side more with Dr Siddiqui than with Imam R, which was very interesting, you see him changes his moderate answer to be even more logical after Dr Siddiqui gives her view. So, the inquirer often accepts the moderate and logical answer.

One of the questions was, should believing Muslims (non-Muslim can do what they like here) question, criticize and or critique Islam or the Prophet. Imam R said that you shouldn’t, as a Muslim and a believer you should accept it without questions, i.e. blindly and without using your brains. Whereas, Dr Siddiqui made a distinction between criticize and critique; as a Muslim you can critique Islam to get a better understanding and explanations. Another example, a journalist asked if he can work on a programme that deals with pornography or alcohol. As you would expect, Imam R said, NO; Muslims should never work with such programmes because they are Haram; whereas Imam M would answer him by saying that if this is to expose problems in the society, then of course we need that work done and you should do it, but not if you are producing a porno film; which is fair I think.

Another interesting point made was about Salman Rushdie the author of The Satanic Verses (anti-Islam, anti-Prophet novel). The point was, why none of the Mullahs cared to answer Rushdie, yet they didn’t hesitate to issue fatwas decreeing his death. This goes back to the "criticize and critique" issue; the Mullahs should have responded not by a fatwa, but by a logical answer to show a different explanation. I think they got used to people (Muslims) following them blindly so much, that they expect others to do the same.

What is interesting is that having such a programme would force radicals to become less radical and more rational because in a programme like that they lose the debate and people will follow the logical answer not the close your eyes and follow me answer. This is the kind of programmes that we need in the Middle East, to make people think before accepting what the Imam says, and at the same time it make the Imam think before saying things. These people were caring believing Muslims, yet they did not accept what Imam R told them.

I believe we need programmes like these in the Middle East, where Imams like Imam M and intellects like Dr Siddiqui would interact with an intellectual audience to reach a logical conclusion that enlighten people and reform Islam. Instead what we have in the Middle East is Al Jazeera with either a male presenter or a female presenter with Hijab (even if she doesn’t normally wear one) making a programme where Al Qaradawi gives his views unchallenged, as if he is the law! Why not make it intellectual and bring also people like Dr Siddiqui for example to give a different view, to give rational answers, and an audience to ask questions. We need such programmes to tackle Muslims daily issues in the Middle East in an intellectual approach, not the follow me blindly approach.


Blogger Brian H said...

Heh. I think you mean "follow me blindly"! Just one "me". ;)

You could tape such programs, and send copy to a shop in Baghdad. It would be duplicated and all over the country in a couple of days! Just label it "Secret discussions", or something. :lol:

April 09, 2005 12:16 am  
Anonymous roller rebwar said...

Anyone notice the music of the channel? it was some random indian jibe...

So blast.."SHARIAH TV" and then add exotic indian music....wtf is that for? are muslims only indians?? or paksistanis? there were no Arabs on the show or anything else really

April 09, 2005 3:27 am  
Blogger Ahmad said...

I didn't notice the music. But there were Arabs (or at least non-Idians), e.g. the Imam from MCB, the girsl with the Hijab, etc.

But anyway, does it matter? And who cares if there were Arabs or not, they were all Muslims and making sensible comments.

April 09, 2005 3:15 pm  
Blogger Abe said...

I was surprised how much I liked this post, as I was expecting something bad from the title. I posted some of it on my blog with a link.

April 13, 2005 3:31 am  
Anonymous USpace said...

Great one, it's in and you're linked, thanks! I hope you are well, hang in there!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never debate religion...

February 09, 2007 5:43 am  

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