Muslims and Politics in the West
For a while now, but especially in recent times, the call for Muslims to become more involved in their local politics here in the West has increased. People argue that it's time for us to stop being a silent minority, and become a vocal majority. They say we need to make our needs and feelings known. Enough whining and complaining! they cry. Take a stand! Make a change!
But, how are we supposed to do this? How are we to become more vocal? How are we to become more politically active?
Two answers given are: Vote, or get into politics yourself!That's where the problems show up, though. Now, I know that the whole thing about voting in a non-Muslim country is really controversial, and I for one am not going to be so bold as to declare it haraam, so keep in mind that the following is simply MY humble opinion and nothing more.
First, let us remember that we are in a non-Muslim country, governed by non-Muslims in accordance to laws that are not derived from the Shari'ah. These laws do not enjoin the good and forbid the evil as the Qur'an commands. Furthermore, if we look to the political parties, we'll notice something very important: that no matter what they say about multiculturalism, each and every one of them stand for and support un-Islamic views and values. As Muslims, we cannot in good faith or conscience support those who support homosexuality, nor can we support those whose foreign policy has to do with harming our Muslim brothers and sisters overseas. These are absolutely un-Islamic, and we can in no way support the breaking of Allah’s Divine Laws and the transgressing of His bounds.
Also, with the current political system, when you vote for a candidate, you vote for the whole party - and when you vote for the whole party, you're voting for their stance on ALL issues, not just a couple. So while you might be voting for them to support their stance on, say, homelessness and the national budget, you're also supporting other decisions that they'll be making once they get into power. Your voting ballot does not say, "I support such-and-such a stance towards such-and-such an issue; I do not support such-and-such a stance towards such-and-such an issue." It is a blind ticket of approval. Your vote counts - and when they come into power and start making certain decisions, then part of the responsibility for it rests upon you, who voted them into power.
Therein lies a weakness in the system.
Fine then, someone might say. If you're going to be so picky, why not run form a party of your own and run as a candidate?
It sounds good at first - I thought that way for a while too - but then we have to realize something. The West considers itself secular, standing for ‘separation between Church and State’.
In Islam, however, there is no such separation, because Allah has given us the Quran and the Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammad (SAW) to guide every single aspect of our lives, as individuals and as an Ummah – and this includes the laws that we abide by.
Therefore the only type of political party that we Muslims could form would be an Islamic one. And let's face it: something like that would NEVER work here - not in Canada, not in America, not in the U.K., not in Europe. (Although, what with the all the EurArabia hype going on, maybe in a decade or so we could actually form that kind of political party - if not on a federal level, then on a more local level... I dunno for sure, though).
So what can we do, if we don't vote and an Islamic political party simply won't work here?
Well, it might not be politics, per se, but there are things we can do. Social work. Start making changes within your local community - Muslim or otherwise. Support good causes that we as Muslims can feel comfortable supporting. Form a lobby group, maybe, and try to get the government listen to you that way (although the success of such a lobby group would depend on a variety of certain factors, money being one of them).
Politics is not all-important, as I have been learning. The people in politics care more about the power, the wealth, the influence, their own agendas, than doing the truly unselfish things that could help change the country around. A whole lot of big words, and very few examples of effective action.
Do we want change? Yes, we do. But getting involved in politics won't miraculously change everything for the better. If anything, it'll simply cause more problems.
Therefore, I have concluded: If we want action, if we want change, we have to start close to home. Let's start with our local communities first, because there's always a need for more volunteers to help out with numerous programs that benefit many people. The more we get done on a smaller scale, the closer we get to achieving change on a greater scale in the future,
What do you guys think? Should we Muslims continue to become involved in politics and use politics to try and create some positive change? Or should we stick to social work and activism to achieve our goals?
This is a question I’m turning over in my head quite a bit because the answer might help to decide my future – I’m interested in both politics and social work, yet I’d prefer to choose only one to really go ahead with, y’know?
So yeah… right now I’m actually leaning a bit towards social work and community activism ‘cuz it reminds me of what the Prophet (SAW) did with the Muslims: first he strengthened them in their faith and helped them solve the problems they were suffering from, and *then* real political work and change was instigated.
Your little sister in Islam,
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Muslims and Politics in the West
Posted by AnonyMouse at 11:27 AM