London ‘more Islamic’ than Muslim world: Pakistani scholar

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LONDON: London is a more Islamic city than much of the Muslim world put together, a leading Pakistan-born Muslim scholar has said.

“There are many different communities living together in peace and harmony, giving respect to others and loving others and that is what Islam is all about – and unfortunately [much] of the Muslim political leadership has failed to provide that,” Maulana Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, a prominent Muslim cleric, said.

Maulana Rizvi, who was born in Lahore and studied in Iran, said he “feels more Islamic” in Britain than other countries because of the freedom to worship and the multicultural mix.

 “I feel more Islamic living here because I can easily practice my faith and give respect to all other members of the community belonging to different faiths and not even belonging to a faith, to anything.”

The cleric, who was brought up in Birmingham and is president of the Majlis Ulama which represents South Asian scholars, according to the Daily Mail, continued, “Because that is what Islam is all about, respecting and giving to others … if in one line I could say what Islam is all about, it is all about love and justice, but that the “Muslim political leadership” around the world was failing to foster this.

The scholar was speaking alongside Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at the annual Benedict XVI Lecture, an interfaith discussion event in London.

The three leaders discussed how members of their own faiths had, in different ways, lived as “creative minorities”.

Maulana Rizvi also said that unlike their “Jewish and Christian brothers”, Muslims in Britain were a new community, established for decades rather than centuries, and had a “lot to learn” from other religious groups.

According to Daily Mail, Cardinal Vincent Nichols warned that definitions of extremism could become “far too embracing of simply the current social consensus.”

He cited the example of teachers contacting police about pupils suspected of extremism. This ‘can do immense damage’ to levels of trust, he said.

“There is no doubt that the threat of active terror is real. But my impression is that we are at a very delicate point at which the defining of extremism could go quite seriously wrong,” he added.

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