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Shahada Online

Answer by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: I converted to Islam online. Do I need to proclaim my shahada again with an Imam in a mosque?

Answer: Wa Alaykum al-Salam

Shukran for writing to us.

The testimony of faith recited by yourself through an online facility is valid and we welcome you the Religion Islam. You are now our brother/sister and as such we are obliged to support and assist each other.

While it is not incumbent upon you to “retake” the shahadah with an Imam in your locality, it is undoubtedly desired. It is necessary for you to attach yourself to a Muslim community and visiting and introducing yourself to one of the leaders of that community will prove to be beneficial. I would also like to advise you to take up one of the introductory courses on offer here at SeekersGuidance.

May Allah bless you and accept from us all, Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Lack Of knowledge

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: As-salamalaikum,

I have been living my life as a muslim without knowing many things about Islam, Allah, His Throne, and i have been very anxious about seeking knowledge because of the fact that I might discover that I have been believing misconceptions about Islam or that I have been ignorant about certain things. I hope you can help me out.

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayran for your question

What makes a person a Muslim is that they simply testify in their heart that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Whosoever testifies that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, Allah has made the Fire unlawful for him’. [Muslim]

This belief makes a person a Muslim. Therefore, do not doubt your faith or anyone else’s.

Obligatory Knowledge

Beyond this testification which makes a person Muslim, there are matters that are obligatory for each Muslim to know in order to make their basic belief sound and complete. These matters are some details relating to what is termed the ‘Six Articles of Faith’. These are: Belief in Allah Most High, His angels, His prophets, His books, the Day of Judgment, and divine decree.

While knowing some details about these matters is obligatory (to the extent possible given each individual’s ability and situation) not knowing them does not negate a person’s basic testification which makes them a Muslim, so long as they do not knowingly negate anything that is necessarily known to be part of the religion, such as the obligation of the five pillars.

The Throne

Not included in obligatory matters one must know is the nature or reality of God’s ‘Throne’ or related theological issues and exegetical discussions. A person will not be asked on these matters in the grave or on the Day of Judgment, but they will be asked about their basic belief in Allah, his Messenger, and held accountable for his works.

I highly recommend taking a basic, structured ‘aqida course which will give you the obligatory knowledge that each individual should know. However, to answer your specific question on the meaning of Allah Most High being above or elevated over His throne, the following brief points suffice for now:

1. God is absolutely dissimilar to creation, for Allah Most High has said, ‘There is nothing like unto Him’ [42:11]. He does not possess a corporeal body and is not defined by time and space.

2. Some of the early Muslims did not delve into the meaning of this verse (or similar verses), but rather contented themselves with assigning the meaning to Allah Most High, while at the same time negating that Allah Most High is anything like creation.

3. Some of the early Muslims, such as Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), and later scholars, explained ‘Allah is above His throne’ as meaning that Allah is established in Authority and Power over His dominion. This explanation is supported linguistically, is reinforced by the context of the rest of the verse(s) and by other verses of the Quran, and again, negates any concept of corporeality.

Though there is much more to the discussion, a simple example of this explanation from a linguistic point of view is the statement, ‘The king was on his throne for 10 years’ which clearly does not mean the king was physically sitting on his throne for a period of 10 years, but rather he reigned over his kingdom/subjects for 10 years. Even at this basic lexical level, the meaning is clearly understood by all.

The simplest things in life are most often the most profound and the most beautiful. The most beautiful and profound thing in life is faith. Keep it simple and guard it.

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present: Basis, Origin, and a Contemporary Example

By Massoud Vahedi

 

This overview aims to analyze a number of topics pertaining to the arba’iniyyat genre, which refers to the centuries-old practices of compiling forty-hadith pamphlets. This will be achieved by briefly looking at a contemporary forty-hadith series on Prophetic Parenting by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. To properly elucidate the style and content of this series, beforehand there will be some discussion on the arba‘iniyyat genre, its legal authorization, and its most famous example, namely that of Imam al-Nawawi. All of these issues contain rich debates and discussions which remain unexplored in the English language. Thereafter, a discussion on a specific subset of Shaykh Rabbani’s commentary on his own collection will follow.

Until the present age, arba‘iniyyat continue to emerge and be written, dealing with a wide array of topics, such as marriage, morals, character, and more. The basis behind the origins of the arba‘iniyyat composition rests on a significant hadith from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace from Anas, Allah be pleased with him: “Whoever preserves for my nation forty ahadith from the Sunna, I will be an intercessor for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ibn Ady; al-Kamil) This hadith has been narrated through more than a dozen transmitters with various wordings, all of which suggest the immense virtue for collecting and writing forty narrations so that they are learnt and benefited from. Despite the grand majority of scholars declaring these reports to be weak, the consistent practice of scholars throughout multiple generations has been gathering forty-hadith collections. This practice began early on with the inception of the eminent hadith scholar Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, then Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi, who was followed by al-Nasawi, thereafter by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri, and so on.

Despite us observing countless scholars collect their forty-hadith pamphlets, the content and theme behind the collections vastly differ. Al-Nawawi notes that collections before him exclusively focused on one of the following topics: fundamentals of creed and theology (usul), subsidiary matters (furu‘) pertaining to religious ordinances and acts of worship, asceticism (al-zuhd), religious piety and manners, religious exhortations, and so on. However, al-Nawawi did something revolutionary in his own collection that would grant his forty-hadith collection an eminent status until the end of time.

Instead of collecting forty hadiths dealing exclusively on one question or topic, he collected hadiths whose content encompasses all of these topics and combined them in a unique way in his compilation. Secondly, he picked narrations which have been declared by past hadith masters and jurists as embodying the main teachings of the religion or being from its foundational principles. Thirdly, he only picked narrations which he deemed to be authentic, with most of them being collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Fourthly, he removed the long chains for the hadiths of his collection so the narrations could be easily read and memorized by laymen. Lastly, Ibn Rajab also mentioned on this topic that Imam al-Nawawi’s noble and pure intention behind the compilation of his arba’in also paved the way for its positive reception among the Umma.

One excellent example of a contemporary forty-hadith collection comes from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. His collection is entitled: Prophetic Parenting: 40 Hadiths on Raising Righteous Muslim Children. This collection contains hadiths pertaining to Prophetic Parenting, and has a comprehensive listing of hadiths which discuss how Muslims can be successful parents in the contemporary context we live in. The Shaykh extracts subtle gems from hadiths which the average reader may be completely unaware of. Owing to space constraints, regrettably only a few hadiths can be discussed here. The hadith that orders us to “marry the one of religion, so that you may be successful” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) has a number of hidden benefits that Shaykh Faraz skillfully extracts for his audience. Being a good parent is not something which starts after marriage, but actually well before the child is born. In fact, it starts even before one marries. In order to be a good parent, one needs to choose a righteous spouse that is actively concerned about the religious upbringing of their future children.

Secondly, a person might superficially read this hadith and think that the importance of being “one of religion” only applies while picking a spouse. But actually, upholding and sustaining religiosity also applies within the marriage, because otherwise the religious meaning and sanctity of the matrimonial bond will be lost in the middle of the journey. To only think that this applies while searching for a prospective spouse defeats the intended meaning. The key point here is that we can in religious terms actually become better spouses during the marriage. This is something that we can all improve on with ourselves and our partners. Another hadith in the Shaykh’s collection is: “If there comes to you someone whose religion and character is pleasing to you, then marry them. If you do not, there will be much tribulation and corruption on earth.” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi) Shaykh Faraz derives two crucial benefits from this hadith. Firstly, we are reminded through this report that marriage is not an individual decision or matter. It actually has a strong social dimension as well. We can readily notice the social repercussions involved when marriages do not occur at a desired pace. To achieve this adequate rate of marriage both parties should be easy-going in decision-making.

Another hadith is reported from the authority of ibn Umar, that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace said regarding al-Hasan and al-Husain: “They are my two joys in this life” (Muslim). On this hadith the Shaykh beautifully explains how as Muslims we should not look at children as being burdens to be overcome, but as gifts that should be appreciated. Secondly, we should view them (and by extension our parenting) as being a means and vehicle to reaching salvation in the hereafter. We must be cognizant of the religious aspects as being a parent, because by doing so, we are rewarded for all the small and mundane things we for our children. By having the right intention, we will no longer see childrearing as being a collection of repetitive and mechanical tasks, but a duty and responsibility before our Creator which if done right means many good deeds.

Another hadith mentions on the authority of Abu Bakra how al-Hasan Allah be pleased with them would as a child would frequently would rise up on the back of the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace when he prostrated during his prayer. The Prophet would rise up very slowly and put Hasan down gently. (Ibn Hibban and al-Tabarani) Here, Shaykh Faraz notes how in the Prophet’s actions there is a “sense of balance” between maintaining the serenity of the prayer and being flexible with a child’s playfulness. The key here is realizing this delicate balance and applying it today in our prayer places as much as possible.

We note that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace did not rebuke al-Hasan for his actions; in other words, he did not actively stop him from getting on his back. From this we can derive that natural childlike actions in the mosques are to be tolerated by parents. But when there are severe and excessive disturbances then deterrence is needed, lest the sanctity of the mosque or the quality of prayer of the congregants be violated. Regrettably, on the issue of children going to the mosques, many of us are often caught on one extreme and have lost the Prophetic model of balance and flexibility.

 


Massoud Vahedi is a Canadian doctoral student in political science. In terms of Islamic sciences, he has concentrated his studies in Mustalah al-Hadith (Hadith nomenclature) and Hanbali Fiqh.


 

How Should Muslims Engage With Politics? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How should Muslims engage with politics?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Caribbean Calling, An Interview with Ustadh Nazim Baksh

At the beginning of the blessed month of Rabi’al Awwal 1438, Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari and Ustadh Nazim Baksh will visit the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Shaykh Ahmad will give a series of talks on the life of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, at local mosques and will teach from Al-Nubdhah Al-Sughra at the prestigious San Fernando Jama Masjid.

In this special podcast episode, Ustadh Nazim speaks to SeekersHub’s Amr Hashim about why the Caribbean and why now.

Our thanks to Raihan for the beautiful singing in this podcast episode.

What unites Englishness and Islam? by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

How can we foster an ‘English Islam’? In this presentation given at the ‘Very English Islam’ garden party at Woking Peace Garden, September 2016, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr Timothy Winter) of Cambridge University examines the shared traditions between Englishness and Islam. 

Read on the British Future website.

What A Concerned Muslim Needs to Learn, and How – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

If you are serious about submitting to Allah, Most High, striving to follow the Prophet ﷺ and striving to please Allah then there is no way around a regular routine of seeking knowledge. Join Shaykh Faraz Rabbani in a clear discussion and investigation of what knowledge is necessary to be a Muslim.

What does a Muslim need to know?

We are given a summary of four particular types of knowledge one needs to know:
1) Fard al Ayn: the personally obligatory – core Islamic knowledge (aqeedah, fiqh: all financial dealings, the permissible and impermissible relationships)
2) Devotional Knowledge: knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah – cultivating the knowledge of the Quran and reading something about the Prophet ﷺ daily
3) Spiritual Knowledge: knowledge of the heart, ihsan. Ridding oneself of blameworthy traits and adorning oneself with praiseworthy characteristics.
4) Spiritual works: regular routines of acting on what one knows.
Our Ummah has been given two  gifts that no other sacred community has received in the past: the deep value and reward of intentions, and access to the remembrance of Allah.

Cover photo by Olivier Blaise. We are grateful to Madarik Centre in Amman, Jordan for the video.

Resources for the Seeker:

Abdul Sattar Edhi: How Should Muslims React To His Passing? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

When a great believer like Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away, how should we react? The guidance for this comes from Allah’s promises to us, as Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains in this brief talk.

See also The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord and Three Acts That Formed The Core Of Abdul Sattar Edhi’s Life on the SeekersHub blog.

The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

The great Muslim, Pakistani social worker, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, has died at the age of 88. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersHub pays tribute and reminds us that service can and must be a part of all our lives.

May Allah have mercy on his soul, and admit him among His foremost and most beloved servants—in the close company of His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him and his folk).

May He make this loss a time to reflect on the urgency of service: the trueness of our faith itself is dependent upon true, expressed concern for others. The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said that, “None of you believes until they love for others all that they love for themselves.”

This brief lesson is a reminder on the urgency, responsibility, and opportunity of service—and some of the principles and proper manners related to service:

Listen: Ummah Boost: Serve The Community, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Taking heed from his example, make a commitment—now, today—to give some of your time each week in serving others. Consider it the zakat on your time. 2.5% of your week’s 168 hours is 3.5 hours (or 30 minutes a day).
Obituary: The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

Five Ways Find A Way To Serve Humanity

Choose on the basis of what service would
(1) be of greatest, widest, and most lasting benefit—to yourself and others, in their religion or in their worldly life;
(2) use the skills and experience Allah has blessed you with;
(3) be easy to sustain with consistency;
(4) would be of benefit to you in your turning to Allah (such as by the company it would facilitate for you); and, simply
(5) be an opportunity that is available before you to serve others.
“And Allah remains in the aid of His servant as long as His servant remains in the aid of others,” promised the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).
Sura Fatiha‬ for the soul of Mawlana Edhi (Allah have mercy upon him).

Watch: These Bird Walk

A moving documentary on a small part of Mawlana Edhi’s legacy can be watched on Netflix, Amazon and also Vimeo (below).
In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart-wrenching and life-affirming, THESE BIRDS WALK documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the samaritans looking out for them in this ethereal and inspirational story of resilience.

Who was Abdul Sattar Edhi and what is his legacy?

 

Photo credit: DVIDSHUB

Mother of "cucumber, not cooker bomb" toddler, in her own words

Editor’s note: In January 2016, a British Muslim mother was called in for a meeting by her 4 year-old son’s nursery school. The managers informed her that her little boy had been referred to a ‘de-radicalisation’ program after drawing what they alleged to be a ‘cooker bomb’. Shocked by the news, the mother reached out for help on the private Facebook group, Muslim Mamas (see their public page here). Muslim Mamas is a close-knit group of some 9000 Muslim mothers from around the world. This mother now shares her story in her own words for the first time, though the story has been reported in The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and other news outlets.

Assalamu’alaikum,
Some of you may have heard about the four year old boy, whose nursery wanted to send him to a deradicalisation programme for mispronouncing ‘cucumber’. Well, that was my son. I’ve been a member of Muslim Mamas for a while now and wanted to share my story with you all.

“He told us it was a cooker bomb”

One afternoon back in January 2016, when I dropped my little boy to nursery, the nursery manager and deputy manager called me into a side room and presented me with a document, together with some drawings that my son had drawn. I recognised the drawing straight away, as it was a recent one. It was of a man with a knife. My son had told me it was ‘daddy cutting a cucumber’ so I told the school managers this straight away. They were unconvinced.
“Well, that’s not what he said to us. He told us it was a cooker bomb,” the nursery manager replied.
I was blindsided by this. My son has never talked about bombs at home. I was so confused and upset. At that point, I didn’t immediately associate his pronunciation of cucumber as “cukkabum” with a “cooker bomb”. I’d never even heard of such a thing.
cucumber-bomb
The school then showed me two other scribbles by my son. They said he talked about “pulling a string in Africa.” I explained that my neighbour’s cat used to visit our home frequently and my children often played with the cat by pulling a string. Sadly, the poor cat got run over and, not wanting upset them by telling them that he had died, I told the kids that the cat had gone to Africa to be with his family.

“Prove yourself innocent”

Again, the nursery manager dismissed my explanation and told me that they were referring me to Channel. I had no idea what Channel was, but assumed it was social services. I asked the manager if this was the case and she told me that yes, they did work together and that they would help me raise my children in the ‘right’ way. By this time I was in tears and pleaded with her not to refer me. But her reply did little to console me.
“Your kids might not be taken off you. You can prove yourself innocent,” she said.
I was distraught! I continued to plead with her. She asked me what he was watching on television and I told her that he liked his superheroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, but I would put a stop to this immediately if it would help (and I actually did go home and do this!). I even banned their Disney movies, as the nursery manager described one of my son’s drawings as that of a train blowing up. Incidentally, this is the opening scene in Toy Story 3.
Nothing was going to help me that day. She told me I’d already been referred and I had to “sign the referral form”, which I declined to do. I couldn’t – it just felt wrong to sign a document I did not agree with. My son, according to the nursery’s own description is a very ‘gentle’ child. I couldn’t accept the things that they were now suggesting about him.
I left the meeting and went home. My husband was away, so I telephoned him and explained the situation. He told me not to worry and reminded me that our boy always says “cukkabum” when he means “cucumber,” so obviously they’d misheard him. It then became clear to me what had happened.

“Cucumber, not cooker bomb”

I called the nursery manager immediately, with a renewed sense of hope and told her about his mispronunciation of the word “cucumber”. My son was still at the nursery and I told her to go and show him a cucumber so that it all becomes clear. However, the nursery manager was not willing to discuss things any further and told me that my son had already been “referred” and it was out of her hands. She then asked me again about signing the document and I once again refused. She informed me that she would “have to put down a reason”.
I felt really pressured but I’d spoken to my husband and my sister and they both advised me against signing something I am not comfortable with. So I held my ground and I told her firmly I wasn’t going to sign it as I didn’t agree with it. I hung up at the point and felt really worried about how I was going to find someone who could help me. I felt bullied and was ready to ask the police for help. I didn’t realise then what I realise now: this is state supported bullying.
I frantically called people who might be able to help me. I knew the school was wrong. Had I not been a Muslim Asian, I wouldn’t be in this position. I even messaged Tell Mama and was ignored.

Teachers now legally obliged to report concerns around terrorism

In Luton, where we live, you’d think it was easy to find help but there is no local organisation to help our community in situations like this. It’s actually more like the opposite. People don’t want to get involved, even though they know it’s wrong. They’re scared of the repercussions.
Eventually, I was put in touch with Rehana Faisal, who is a local Muslim community activist. She came round to see me and I went through everything with her. She asked me if I knew what Channel was. I told her I didn’t. It was Rehana who told me that Channel was a de-radicalisation programme and that teachers are now legally obliged to report concerns around terrorism. Apparently, this is called the “PREVENT duty”. I was horrified. She called a local solicitor, Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors, for some advice and the two of us then went to the nursery together for another meeting.
Rehana talked the nursery manager through what had happened and tried to encourage her to apply some common sense and recognise that the referral was misguided. The nursery manager again stated that the referral was a done deal. Rehana asked the manager if there was something else that had triggered this referral because it seemed ridiculous that they had taken such drastic action over a child’s mispronunciation. Did they have any other concerns about the parents? You see, I wasn’t new at this nursery. I had a seven year relationship with them. Thus far, it had always been a positive one. In November 2015, there was a parent-teacher evening and I was told not to bother coming in because my son was so lovely and gentle.

Questioning children appropriately

The manager told Rehana there was nothing else of concern apart from this one picture, to which my son couldn’t mispronounced “cucumber”. To be clear, my son never said the word “bomb”. This whole incident was never about what my child said or drew. It was about their perception of what he said. My son did not say the word bomb, they did. And they repeated it to him in their questioning. As Rehana pointed out to them, had the staff member he was speaking to questioned him appropriately, without leading questions, they would have realised what he was actually saying. In fact, he, according to their own records told them that a ‘cukkabum’ was something you cut!

“Did Jimmy Saville look like a paedophile?”

At this point in our meeting, the nursery manager repeatedly asserted her position that the referral to Channel had already been made. I was really upset at this point and was crying. I asked her, “Do I look like a terrorist to you?!”
The manager, looking directly at me replied, “Well, did Jimmy Saville look like a paedophile?”
I was shocked. Rehana witnessed this exchange and couldn’t believe how unprofessional the nursery manager was. Rehana informed the manager that we had sought legal advice before attending the meeting and if the nursery chose to pursue this, then so would we. We would go to the press if necessary. We then walked out of the meeting.
That evening, Rehana and Attiq came to see me show their support. Attiq then introduced me to someone from an organisation called PREVENTwatch and discussed what could be done next. They helped me draft a very detailed letter, which I gave to the nursery. They also told me to unblock the kiddy channels and assured me it was normal for kids to be into Power Rangers and the like!
The nursery manager on numerous occasions tried to speak to me alone over the next few days but I just didn’t trust her or anyone at the nursery anymore. Speaking to them was the last thing I wanted to do after being treated this way.

Backtracking

Soon after, I was given a letter by the nursery manager that said they had never made a referral but that everything they had said to me was according to government guidelines. This was a blatant lie. I know this because they had, possibly accidentally, given me a document which clearly states that my four year old has been referred. They had clearly backtracked and I strongly believe this was because they realised, I now had support and backing.
The last few weeks have been a steep learning curve for me. I didn’t know much about Channel or Prevent but I do now. Channel is supposed to be a ‘consensual’ programme but my son’s nursery tried to bully me into it. That’s not right. The whole policy isn’t right. It is not only flawed, it is also deeply discriminatory.

Don’t Take It Lying Down

I decided to talk about what happened to me in the hope that it will help others who find themselves in such a position. I want people to know that they must not put up with it. I originally spoke to the BBC Asian network and the story was then picked up by other news outlets. After that I was on the morning program on BBC 3 Counties Radio and Inspire fm. I also gave an interview to Luton on Sunday and the Guardian and was on ITV news Anglia.
I hope that this helps people to understand how flawed PREVENT is. It is a policy which is supposed to be making us safer, but it is hardly doing that. I felt scared, intimidated and discriminated against. It cannot carry on. I hope by speaking up myself, I will encourage others to also speak up.
My son is still at this nursery. Some of you might think that it’s a strange decision to leave him there. To say I feel awkward is an understatement. Everyday, I drop my son off to people that I no longer trust. However, my son loves nursery, his friends and his keyworker, who wasn’t present in any of the meetings that the nursery managers had with me. I’m not sure who flagged my son as a ‘radical’. His keyworker is so lovely and always has pleasant things to say to me. I’ve decided I don’t want to disrupt my sons life due to the incompetence of some prejudiced staff members.

Teachers as Spies

While I’m upset at the way the teachers in my son’s school dealt with this matter, I feel sympathy for the teachers who have been forced to act as “security services” in schools. They are given 1-2 hours training and are expected to spot the very complex signs of “radicalisation”. Unfortunately, too many of these “signs” focus on the Muslim Community.
So that’s my story. I’m still struggling to come to terms with what has happened but I want to keep talking about it, and I pray that this helps others.  I never dreamed I could be treated this way, in my own country, as a British Muslim.
If any of you find yourself in this position – GET HELP. PREVENTwatch is a national organisation who can help. If you are in Luton, you can look up Rehana Faisal and Attiq Malik. Speak to them.
As a community, we all need to speak up. Our “community leaders” and elected representatives need to speak up. Let our teachers teach rather than behave like the police or like spies!
I want to end by expressing gratitude for the help and support I’ve received from family and friends, through this horrid ordeal! As for the nursery, I am yet to receive an apology from them.
Anonymous

Cover photo by Keoni Cabral.