Key Issues That Impact On British Muslim Identity Today

1478 words - 6 pages

n Britain there is an increasing number of Muslims in the community, it is now at a point where the young, British born, Muslims outnumber those who have migrated to the contry. (Anwar, 2008: 133) Yet, Muslims are often identified as being foreign, not truly British. This has a strong impact of British Muslims identity because they are not identified as British by others in the community. This is just an example of the way issues impact British Muslim Identity. Many issues hold sway over how Muslims are viewed in Britain today, they affect the perceived identity of British Muslims. This essay will look at how link between Muslims and terrorism and women being coerced affect British Muslim identity today.

The first issue addressed in this essay is the role of women in Islam. “Muslim women are having to confront not only the sexist assumptions from within their own communities … but also from British society as a whole.” (Butler cit Gilliat-Ray,2010: 215) This statement shows that women are facing sexist assumptions not only within the home but also from British citizens who presume that they are being forced into wearing the veil and following Islamic law because their husbands demand it, when more commonly women are following Islam because they want to. By having this presumption of Muslim women it is impacting on their identity, Britain has assigned Muslim women with the role of the victim, often pitied, this is a negative stereotype which can affect their lives. One of the most controversial issues for Muslim women is their choice to wear the veil. “The Qur’an does not impose any general religious obligation for women’s clothing but gives simple guidelines for social decency.” (Kung, 2007: 622)It is not commanded in the Qur’an that women wear the veil and the earliest mentions of a veil came in the form of a screen separating Muhammad's wives in the private quarters from the visitors in the main room. (Kung, 2007: 622) (bennett, 2010: 103) However, it is not true to say that all Muslim women have worn the veil freely. There are of course those who have read the Quranic quotes to mean that women must cover up and some hadiths support this interpretation. What comes as a surprise to many people is that the majority of converts to Islam in the UK are women. According to the Independent newspaper, “In the past 10 years some 100,000 British people have converted to Islam, of whom some three-quarters are women.” (Peppiatt, 2011: www.independent.co.uk) It is not all that surprising that women are choosing to convert to Islam. It is a religion which traditionally promotes equality in religion for both men and women (Wadud, 1999: 4), many examples of this equality can be found in the Qur’an such as, “If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female – And have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” (Qur’an 4:124) This religious equality that the Qur’an is supposed to promote also has questionable...

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