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You are in: Birmingham > Faith > Features > Faces behind the faith

Faces behind the faith

Faces behind the faith

Who and what is a Muslim? Five very different Birmingham Muslims share their faith and tell us of their lives.

They use faith as their disguise, and debar others from the path of God. Evil is what they do.

Koran 63:2

When Birmingham City Centre was evacuated on Saturday night, so soon after the 7/7 atrocity in London, the terrorist threat became very real and personal for residents of the city.

As soon as it emerged that the perpetrators of the London bombings were likely to be Muslim, many thoughts went through the minds of ordinary Muslims. One of them was, “How can followers of our faith commit such an evil crime against innocent people?”

Kindness and mercy

It is a question we are still asking ourselves and finding the answer is not easy. The more we explore Islam the more we discover that it is a religion of kindness and mercy. Being a Muslim means believing in a Merciful God and showing kindness towards God’s creation. By no stretch of the imagination can it be equated with what happened in London on July 7th.

But that doesn't make it a less difficult time to be a Muslim in Britain. Since Thursday’s bombings, Britain’s Muslim community has been suffering doubly. As British subjects we are horrified that our capital city was attacked and that so many of our people were killed regardless of race, religion, or nationality. As Muslims, we are afraid of another terrorist attack and what people will think of us and our faith.

We pray to God that no more lives are lost to the evil of terrorism and we desperately hope that Britons will not associate this act with Islam and the Muslim community. It will be a great shame if relations and friendships are set back as a consequence of the London bombings and it will be a lost opportunity if people do not unite in their condemnation of this tragic event.

Taslim Rashid

Taslim Rashid

Taslim Rashid

My name is Taslim Rashid and I was born in Moseley back in the 70s! I teach for City College on a project called ‘Moving Forward’. My role is to deliver classes at various Day Centres throughout the city in an attempt to offer opportunities for knowledge and skills development to people recovering from mental illness.

I am also the founder of ‘Tranquilart’ which I started under the name Bint-eh Adam or Daughter of Adam. This is a personal arts project which aims to influence peoples’ way of thinking and, ultimately, acting. The aim is to use art to achieve a philosophy of peace and harmony. Tranquilart asserts itself with the logo of a butterfly; the universal metaphor for change. There are several levels of change, the highest one is of course, that, which affects the spiritual being within us. It is my intention to demonstrate that change is possible.

The inspiration for a lot of my work, both in my occupation and my arts project has come from my faith. The Islamic Traditions teach us to work towards the betterment of society and those around us. My field of work has taught me about the importance of humbling oneself, as is taught by my faith.

In 2003 I performed the Hajj; my visit to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. For the first time I saw flags of all nations side by side. I saw people from all colours, nationalities and backgrounds, and was swamped into a human sea of tranquility. Since then, this experience has served to remind me that the one thing that relates us all is our humanity. And it is, thus, for the cause of humanity that we should strive to work towards. 

Naseem Akhtar

Naseem Akhtar

Naseem Akhtar

My name is Naseem Akhtar and I came to Birmingham as a year old toddler, having been born in Kashmir, Pakistan. I have lived in Balsall Heath all my life and am a co-ordinator at the Balsall Heath Forum. I work within the community in this area for resident involvement in different aspects of development.

In particular I am keen in getting young women involved locally, an example of which is the Saheli Womens’ Group which was set up in 1999 as a small residents’ group and is now a registered charity. The group promotes sporting activities such as rock-climbing, skiing and quad biking for those aged between 13-19 years. I am able to achieve my philosophy of gender-only activities which relate to my religious beliefs by creating an environment whereby women can achieve their potential within a safe and secure environment. We have also secured funding worth half a million pounds from Sports England to renovate a local college facility into a gym, run by women for women. In this manner I am helping address health issues prevalent in my neighbourhood.

My prime duty is to think about the women of my community, and what is in their best interests, whoever they are. My religion does not teach me about hate, and tells me that I am accountable for my actions in this world. I am here to ensure whatever I do benefits other people and give them opportunities irregardless of their race, colour or background.

Abdullah Mussa

Abdullah Mussa

Abdullah Mussa

My name is Abdullah Mussa and I have lived in Britain all my life and I am a Muslim.   I am 100 per cent Muslim and I believe I am 100 per cent British as I grew up in Scotland and now live in England. I believe it is my duty as a Muslim to enjoy being good and forbid evil.  Everyone can do their part to make the world a better place.

I am currently working in a team developing Muslim scouts in the UK.  I see this as a small effort but with big results for the future. For people who have gone through scouting they claim this is an essential part of the development of a well-rounded individual, as it teaches all the skills schools fail to teach. I believe currently some of the Muslim population in Britain are deprived of this and this can lead to close-mindedness and bad social skills. 

Scouting addresses this problem and we help to develop young people in a well-rounded socially creative way.  This helps them to be better individuals and put back into society. At the same time Muslim scouts are taught with a Muslim ethos and are proud of their faith. Our children are the only way we can work towards a better future are to change things here and now.

Shagufta Yaqub

Shagufta Yaqub

Shagufta Yaqub

I work for Islamic Relief, an international aid agency based in Birmingham. We work in many countries around the world, providing humanitarian assistance to those who need it most. The inspiration for our work comes from Islamic values that require us to help the poor and be kind to people. As Muslims, we care about the welfare of all humanity and see it as our duty to help, wherever we possibly can.

I grew up in London and moved to Birmingham two years ago. When the bombs went off on Thursday I quickly called my family and friends to see if they were ok. Personally I felt a little safer being in Birmingham. But then there was a scare in Birmingham too and suddenly it felt like nowhere was safe anymore.

It really hurts me that the people who committed this evil act are likely to be Muslims. I feel that something, somewhere has gone seriously wrong if people who should be honouring and defending the sanctity of human life end up threatening it, in such a horrific way.

Just three days before the bombings I was in Srebrenica in Bosnia, where 8,000 Muslims were massacred just ten years ago. It was the worst atrocity to be committed in Europe since World War II. The mothers and widows of those who were killed were still grieving but they had only this to say: “Please, don't let this happen to anyone, anywhere, ever again.”

Our work and our faith is a world away from the hatred and rage that leads people to commit evil crimes against humanity. Our faith teaches us to work towards making society a better and safer place and there are many people in Birmingham and elsewhere who are trying to do that, in our own small way. 

Adam Yosef

I have spent most of my life in Birmingham.  From that very first day I drew breath back in September of 1981 when a doctor at Marston Green Hospital must have disappointed my mum by announcing "Yam can boffle screamen an' shut yer chops noo love, you've got a noggen yedded looken babby eya, I fink it's a boy...seems a bit of a hairy lard 'ed. Anywoy, yam alrooyt? Oo miskin ya feelen duck?" to today when I'm writing this - most of my memories are of Birmingham.  I'm a born and raised Brummie.  I don't love everything about the city but it's mine.  The city is me and I am the city.

Adam Yosef

Adam Yosef

A large part of my childhood was spent on the inner city streets where people have very little hope and enough trouble putting food on the table, let alone having time for their kids.  This especially used to apply to the elder generations who were waiting for their children to  grow up and have a better life than they could offer.  Unfortunately, in the inner city 'ghettos', that rarely happens.  Some kids do well in life and usually never return to the dumps but most are caught up in a street culture of crime, drugs, violence and lack of education.  There's very little opportunity and hope in places like that and change always come too late for one generation but in time for the next.

Most of the smart people I went to school with ended up getting to university and studying what they wanted to but a lot also ended up in dull offices or working in retail.  They are still hopeful they will achieve their dreams and maybe they will.  You have to get through a lot of obstacles before you can even start to buckle down and concentrate on that perfect career and even then it doesn't fix all of your problems.

When I was at school, I wanted to be a journalist.  I had a rough patch in my last years at secondary school, dropped out of college, didn't attend university, had loads of 'high-effort but low-pay' jobs and along the way; personal and family life didn't make it any easier.  Yet, today, at the age of 23, I am a journalist and have done most of the things that I wanted to do.  Of course, there are plenty of things I'd like to do and some are just fantasies as far as job prospects go but I like a challenge.  That's not to say I have a problem-free life either.  I face all kinds of difficulties, social dilemmas and financial problems everyday but that's what keeps me focused, I guess.

There's a reason I don't give in so easy, a reason why I wouldn't compromise my relationships and the trust of others.  There's a reason I try not to do anything that would offend or harm people or bring me down to an appalling state of depression (which I know I'm capable of sinking to) and a reason why I don't get angry and give up on life despite what happens to me and that reason is my faith.  I may not be the most shining role-model of a Muslim you've ever come across but a Muslim I am, and it is from my faith that I take so much inspiration to do the things I do.

I may move on in life but I will never forget the people from the 'ghettos' who have less of an opportunity than myself.  I believe everyone carves out their own future if they are committed enough and this is why I am the co-founder of the Saltley Gate Peace Group, a project that works with inner-city residents in raising awareness about community issues and social problems such as racism, education and drugs using religion as a foundation for motivation.  Currently, I am also the Interfaith & Community Liaison Officer for the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and have been committed to the anti-war movement since 9/11. 

My dream is that people of all backgrounds, faiths and no faith, ideology, race, ability and diversity can and will come together to work with each other and help make this city in which God placed me a better and more beautiful home for us all.  Whenever there is an international tragedy, we always seem to unite in our grief and something is always born from that unity.  It happened after September 11th and has happened many times since.  We will continue to cement that bond we have and a day will come when people will look at Birmingham and say "There's that city where people have no quarrels, where everyone stands united and where love is the fuel that keeps it alive'"and we shall reply: "That's roight, we welcum people of all beliefs, unity is ar strength. noo 'oo abart a curry an' sum faggits?"  Peace.

last updated: 16/07/2008 at 10:18
created: 18/07/2005

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Rory Herbert
I am writing a short film highlighting the some what negative, extreme and sometimes scare-mongering tactics the media use to portray this "war on terror". I am interested to know, what would you say to a person who accused and/or attacked you for thinking you were a terrorist or had terrorist sympathies just because if how you looked and dressed.

shams, england
i came here from central mosque website and i think it is a very good job u are doing, well done.

Bint-eh Adam
Thanks for the great feedback folks! It's lovely to still be reading fresh comments in May 2006! Just like to add that the answers to some of the questions that have been raised by folk may be found in the links under the heading: "On the rest of the web" which is in the blue frame on the right hand side (at the top)! God Bless!

tamarak
do you think people who are muslims by background should be free to convert to other religions like christianity- the reverse of what mr weir did. some who have done so often live in fear for their lives

Zadal
May allah bless you

Miles Thorpe
i agree that all cultures should ... well, just make peace not going round blowing up towers and shooting people

Zainub Khan
Hey. im a 15 year old girl, from Birmingham too. Ive just read this, and ive got to say, ive got this biiiiig feeling of relief inside me. ive been arguing with various people from all over the world, on the net, about islam. They believe Islam is the source of terrorism, and ive been trying to explain its not. nowhere in any place, does islam say violence and racis is a solution to any problem. after reading this page, ive got some more arguments, and those people are finally calming down. i not lieig to them, im using solid evidence, and fair retaliations. a nice big juicy big up to you all.

Paul G
I am a man that has known and understood the greatness of God through practising an upright life of faith, truth obedience and love. I am not a Muslim but I understand something of the Muslim belief and the reward for living an acceptable life before God. Initially was afraid of the Moslem religion and I was swayed, fooled and made fearful by bad political and media coverage. Now I look forward to the day when the Muslim religion is completely wide spread and integrated into British society. The British society can only prosper by receiving the Muslim faith and society as the Muslim belief is built on respect, truth and strong good upright lives. I believe the Muslim faith may just save much of the British society from its own bad ways. Peace to you all.

hanisia
is it true that we wear a robe when praying???

sultana
i would just like to say enjoyed viewing this web page. i know definitly believe that there is a God up there to protect us the only thing we need is faith in. and it will lead a long way FAITH IS A WONDERFUL THING.

tamsa
hey mr yosef i want to b a journalist too and write for a local young peoples magazine in my city but i have to leav college and im woried i wont be able to become a journalist if i dnt go to college. how did u manage it with family problems too?

joshua
would you be freinds with a jew???i ask honestly and am only interested in the posiable freindship which could arise from a better relationship between two worlds so closley akin as ours!!!

m
masha'allah may allah bless u ameen keep up he good work with Allah.s.w.t direction ameen

For Alex Thomas
like the other message says, i welcome people like Alex to come into the mosques for a cuppa or just to look around. We need to remember that we are human before we are followers of this faith or that. We need to start breaking teh ice in our community. At least if us Brummies stick togther everyone will see that a harmoniouss socity is possible! well done bro alex!

Alia Aziz
Well done! I'm sure I have seen some of these people. I didn't ever realise that they did so much good work for Birmingham. Keep it up! We are very proudd to have this feature up. it shows a real side to Islam. Thumbs up to the Birmingham bbc team xx

Shazia Khan
I think its so unfair to be asked "Are you Muslim first or British first?" I mean - that's so dumb, cos it's like asking me "Are you a woman first or brown-skinned first" !!! Whats the matter with people? Can't I be two things at once?!

Response to: Alex Thomas
Hello there! Your spot on mate! I'm a 'devout' Muslim and have lots of friends who are not Muslims, some without a 'faith' at all. But we are all there for one anothers' times of grief and happiness. If I don't go to the pub - what is the big deal? Loads of people don't go to the pub! It's about trying to appreciate 'why' I don't go rather than think I'm some kinda 'shrewd dude'. Like if your a vegetarian - how would you like sitting at the dinner table with a juicy lamb steak in front of your plate? How would that make someone feel? Of if you don't smoke, would you really waste your time sitting in a cloudy puff? Come on Birmingham! Pubs, clubs and bars are petty excuses - We all gotta start somewhere. So let that somewhere be anywhere! And hey Alex, pop along to your local mosque, we'll be more than happy to show you around! Here's to a more cosmopolitan Brum!

Jumshad Khan
Interesting reading. I enjoy reading peoples opinion and stories of their situations and thoughts. Such a diversity in personalities. I was born and bred in Brum in 1980 and have been taught in schools both here in Birmingham and Pakistan. I completed my International G.C.S.E's in 1997 at a school by the name of Edwardes College School Peshawar. I found students in Pakistan had heaps of drive in studying, I found my peers very competitive and mature. The effort expressed and shown by these students was inspiring for me. Sad that they do not have the same facilities and funding as we do here in Britain. Whilst studying for my A-Levels I struggled to come across the same calibre of effort as I saw in Peshawar, Pakistan. I only wish and hope for our youth concentrate on their educations, not for the ideal job but to be better people.

Naeemah Essak
im a young muslim but the attacks didnt effect how people saw me. When they found out i was muslim they were a bit shocked! I guess im not ur average muslim girl: i chat 2 much, dont wear a headscarf, flirt sometimes. But that doesnt stop me from prayin 5 x a day, reading the Quran fastin and basically keep my faith alive, so i guess it doesnt matter wat belief ur from its the person u r inside that matters!

Umar
Great section. A quick reply to Mr Singh. Islam does allow having more than one wife, yet it has set conditions for that, which is that the husband should be fair with all his wives, and treat them equally, which is very difficult. The reason for multiple wives in Islam was not to satisfy men’s desire and that's it, but for the welfare of the widows and the orphans of the wars. During war times, many women are unable to find husbands, and they might prefer to be a co-wife than no wife. But in Surah Nisa verse 129, Allah says: "You will never be able to be fair and just among women (wives)...." Qur’an (4:129) So it is generally not done these days, by most Muslims. Do a quick search on 'Kaaba' and you'll get loads of information.

arfan
Dear Sir/Miss Singh A muslim man can marry up to four times but in this time scholars recommend that one wife is enough. In the region of Arabia this was common pratice when the religion was first revealed. And if you look at history we can see that most men married once. A man in this country has to respect the law of the land which only allows one marriage. The square building in the complex of mecca is the Ka'aba which means cube. This is a muslims direction of prayer. Please feel free to ask more questions.

Fatimah
My name is Fatimah & 13 years old. my mum and dad is White British converts to Islam. I am now very happy to be a Muslim understanding the religion in a very very young age. i am happy to be a Muslim and live in a good community and country where everyon erespects my religion. I know that I am one of the lucky ones because I have never been bullied in school for wearing head scarf or jubbas (a long black Islamic dress for girls). Anyways enough about me.... Thank you for a wonderful site. it shows everyone what Islam is about... Yes exactly PEACE!! :)

singh
Is it true that a muslim man can have four wives? and if so why? What is inside the square building located in the complex of mecca?

James Ellis
I really liked reading the introductins above. I think I've seen and maybe met some of these people as I work closely with a number of ethnic communities. I think diversity is good and you can generally have a lot of misconceptions about people sometimes because you haven't met them and just because of how they look so features like this are very useful. These are ordinary people and after reading their backgrounds and dreams, you can't ignore the facts that we must treat everyone the same and know each other better. Thanks!

Abu Ubayd
Hello everyone, This is extremely encouraging to see the true colours of Islaam and the true views of muslims in the British Society. Like Bint-eh Adam mentioned i hope this gives confidence to muslims in British society to protray their views to the media and say 'ISLAM DOES NOT HARBOUR TERRORISM WE ARE MUSLIM AND BRITISH' and prove this with there own lifstyle. If people were to take some time to read up on just some of the fundamental aspects of Islaam from reliable sources they will soon come to realise that Islam is not what the media makes it out to be. Thankyou for this excellant website

Nav
Ime Muslim and I was born and bred in North England. Muslims are making it harder for themselves to intergrate into Britain, we HAVE to realise that our NATIONALITY is British and our RELIGION is Islam!

begum ali
I disagree with peter. Sharia is soemthing that has evolved over centuries, you have to understnad it and apply it in light of the society you live and the environment(called Fiqh). There is no probelm with Islam, the problem is when peopel move away from islam and begin to user secular methods of solvign the problem.20th century was the most secualr era and the msot bloodiest and violent, were millions perished. so lets not blame religion. Peopel who have very little understnading of islam or islamic history are quick to see the fault in Islam, but they shoudl rememeber that just war is a concept that exists in all ideology, sadly these london bombers took that to justify their cause as have done Bush and Blair. Religion, and islam teachees resepct and tolerance, to think and act with our conscience, its God given,Youve seen 9 centuries of peopel of muti faith livign under islamic rule in spain, where muslims, christans and Jews thrived intellectually and socially in peace and respect. That was living islam.

Alex Thomas
I live in Birmingham and must admit I have very few Muslim friends. Not because I have any hate or prejudices against Muslims but just because we seem to be shaped by the way we're forced to perceive Muslims. Maybe I'm not likely to bump into Muslims in the places my life seems to revolve around like pubs, clubs and bars. I would like to have more Muslim friends and not just those that conform to my way of life. Sure, Muslims make an effort to get out there and integrate but what are we doing to learn more about them and other faiths and cultures? I have met Muslims through work and university but would like to have some close Muslim friends, even if they don't go to pubs and clubs. I don't expect them to change me so why should I force them to change? Just because they don't all go to pubs, doesn't mean we have nothing in common. I mean, I've never been to a mosque and I only thought about that today but many Muslims I meet have been inside a church - why do have this weird fear of entering a mosque? Surely, it's as welcoming as a church? There are churches which are cold to outsiders too just as some mosques may be but most are probably very open, we just ignore them and restrict ourselves to our own lifestyle and speak about world events from the comfort of a pub with our close secular atheistic friends. We always say Muslims need to get out more but in reality they've probably done more than we have in life and we just follow a robotic pattern, same as everyone else - we are politically incorrect at the end of the day because we know or make little effort to learn about other cultures and I think that's where we lose out. We can only bridge that divide by knowing each other better than just meeting Muslims and Asians at restaurants and corner shops for a start. Reading the personal experiences above just shows how far behind some of us are. They're not the ones who have a problem sharing cultures, it's us and the more I read, the more I want to be a part of all cultures and for a start, I think it's about time I visited a mosque, especially as we have so many in Birmingham - why is it that I've never set foot in one - or a synagogue or temple for that matter? Weird huh, we gotta change the way we are, we really do. We keep blaming the wrong people and never look at ourselves so I hope we can do this and make that leap.

Moufida
Thank you for taking interest in reading and commenting my viewpoint, but I still do not agree with you :first hand, history is part of one’s past, going beyond it means neglecting an important part of one’s identity.Second,reading history means to learn from our ancestors lessons and to avoid repeating their mistakes.Furthermore, yes,we do need today more than ever before to work hand in hand in order to move forward,however,this can not be achieved unless each one respects the other regardless of his colour,religion,sex,etc.The most important thing of all is to understand that wearing a scarf, being bearded and practicing one’s faith do not at all prevent peace and order from being spread, and when Muslims are doing so it is because God obliges them to obey Him. To conclude, when you call for banning hijeb,you ,the democratic and open minded, are in deed violating human rights which entail freedom for all ,surely without affecting other’s one, bearing in mind that one’s liberty finishes as soon as begins that of the others.

Dan Lasman
I have found this forum enlightening. As a Jewish man living in America, dreaming of peace and unity, surrounded by negative selfishness and hate, I am glad to see others working for peace and unity despite the best attempts of those who defame the good in order to divide us. Good luck to all those who have hope for the future where we can all live in security once again, regarless of race, religion, or geographic location.

Response to Moufida & Doug
It is true that one must read history, but I believe that it is even more important today to go 'beyond' historical facts. We need to move forward as a community. We can only move forward once we close the bloody chapters of history. We need to do things that will help our communities today. We need to ask the question: What will help our communities achieve peace and harmony today, in September 2005? History has many positive examples of people from all faiths living together - Lets start treating one another as 'Human' which entails growing into our humanity. Lets go beyond the dress and the practise to see 'Who' the person is. It is only then that we can move forward.

Abdul Shukoer
Salaam I am a Muslim from Cape Town, South Africa. Great site.To the non Muslims on this site. I must asure you that Islam is indeed a Religeon of peace and tranquility. Muslims have to display this We all believe in one God Allmighty.We believe in all the Prophets of God.From Adam right up to Muhammad (SAW) and yes in Jesus as well , where some Christians believe He is part of God , we believe He is a Prophet of God. Jews believes up to Moses, Christians believe up Jesus Muslims believe up to Muhammad (SAW)and He is the last Prophet. We all come from Adam , so we should all be able live with each other in peace and harmony. Lets pray for that.

moufida
response to Doug yes i agree with you that all religions may call for peace and love,but what muslims are trying to make known is that their religion is not as awful as it is qualified by ignorant ,in fact , we invite you and them as well to read about it rather than uttering nonsence comments and stereotypes . on the other hand ,these bias are made to harm muslims and their image so that to prevent disbelevers from embrasing islam,,the media,too is playing an important role in falsifying the truth for that purpose ,i 'd like to say that crime and evil actions exist every where not only in muslim nations,just remember what happened in europe in ww1 &ww2 ,and the cold war ,and how people were murdered injustly ,houses destroyed ,how many deaths ;injured,a,d please bear in mind what inhapening to the palestinians and iraquis ,the poors, to sum up ,all this violence is a response to the imperialism spread by you the unfair westeners

chmoufida@yahoo.fr
i read chiraze's mail ,i would like to say that the book which she told about is really quite impressive and convincing not only for non muslims but for muslims as well ,it adds them iman (faith) and gives them pride of being muslims and proves with wich they can face islam's enemies ,by the way ,the book's writer is Maurice Bucaille .

sultana begum
i live in tower hamlets, the east end, and have myslef set up a group for young peopel post 7th july atrocity, to discuss issues and find a peaceful method of opposing injusice in the world, we ar also workign with other very active muslims groups to empower the local muslim communty, and have toghether built the muslism cnetre which is for the community. as muslsim i belive what is our purpose of being here in this world, unless it is to offer some positive contribution to the world, otherwise you are a mere insignificant statistic.please can i also correct shgufta when she says Bosnia is the worst atrocity in europe since ww2,250'000 chechniayn muslims have been slaughterd by the russian governemnt. and i agree as muslism we need to work toghether with all peopel to helps tp the injustice in the world, words and the pen are more powerful than arms.

Rahima Ahmed
Finally we have a more balanced representation of islam from the muslims that define much of the islamic movement, energy and future of the 'British Muslims' today. As one of the many muslim voices, our iman is one that is primary and above and ahead of all other aspects of our lives. But in saying that, we as muslims are not ignorant, oblivious or uninterested in what it is to be part of this land and under its laws. Our sole intention is not to hurt, but to spread peace, whether others will use the disgraceful actions of the few that have caused such chaos under the name of islam, or not, is not something we as muslims will strive to make our mission. Our sole passion and drive comes from the Almighty and our sacred Q'uran, and with those foundations alongside the goodness of every human being that we are surrounded by, regardless of colour, religion and backround, we can only endeavour to spread what we as muslims feel is central to our beliefs: the need to spread peace, respect and above all, to keep constant the essence of compassion. Muslims are not a threat, simply human beings with a great passion for their religion and love for the lifestyle that Islam provides them with, one that sits higher than any silly misunderstandings or misinterpretations that many accuse it of. Spread the peace dudes! xx

Doug
It is heartwarming to read these statements of life, although i would also like to have heard how the muslims are trying to integrate within the British way of life as a complementary part of society, not as one seperated by religion as in the Muslim Scouts (are there non-muslim members ?) I was once organising a teenage disco/party night at a local church hall in a reasonably deprived area. When we came to deciding what to do if the night looked like becoming too full of people it was decide that we should only let the Catholics in.. Needless to say i vehemently disagreed and left, and the event didn't take place. I can see the good intentions in all religions, but the people "running" them just want to make everything political and everyone must become like club members. It's just so wrong. The muslim beliefs stated in these passages are one of love, peace and kindness to all men. You don't have to belong to a religion to belive in that and live your life that way, you just have to be a decent person. I hope that there are more of us than the evil doers, and i will never believe that evil can be justified in ANY religion

agh_mad@yahoo.co.uk
Assalaamu alykum I am South african borned,38 years of age who lives and works in the UK for the last 5 years. I am a proud father of four beautifull girls alhamdulillah, who means the world to me. As a father, a husband and a muslim I am focussed on one thing and that is to guide, educate and support my beloved family in all aspects of life. As a Muslim we have guidelines which is the quran and sunnah and I strongly feel if we follow these we will never go astray with the help of Allah Almighty. I feel if all parents implement good morals and values based on quran and sunnah to there children our future generation will be more God fearing.In my opinion,which I think lack in this day and age. This unfortunately is the cause of so much mischief and unhappiness in this world. We are so isolated within our own world and busy with our own affairs that we tend to forget about our most valuable assets, our children. May Allah in His infinite mercy guide our children to grow up with strong belief and God fearingness in order to make this world a better place insha Allah. May Allah guide us all, Ameen Wassalaam Aghmad S

chiraze
hello , for those who are very intersted in knowing the contrast between islam ,judaism and christianism ,do not hesitate to read : L'islam,la bible et la science by tha french academic

chmoufIda@yahoo.fr
PBUH Shekufta Yakub ,I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU AND YOUR MATES AS WELL FOR YOUR EFFORTS TO SAVE AND RETURN TO ISLAM ITS REAL RIGHT IMAGE IN THE WESTERN WORD COMPLETLY MISTAKEN BY THE BARBARIAN ACTS COMMITED BY NON REAL MUSLIMS WHO ,IN STEAD OF SPREADING PEACE ON EARTH AND APPLYING GOD'S TERMS ABOUT ACTING PEACEFULLY EVEN WITH NON MUSLIMS ,THEY ARE HARMING IT AND THEIR MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS .WHAT A SHAME! I AM AWFULLY SORRY FOR THAT.SALEM

Stewart Davies
I don't know a lot about him but I met him at the mosque when I went with university last year. There is a larger and more integrated Muslim community in Birmingham compared to North Wales and it wasn't what I expected. I thought the Muslims in the mosque would be radically different like those on the news but they seemed just as English as anyone else. I think it's easy to misread situations until you're actually there with the people. He must be doing something right to keep the comunity so active in good work. I've been reading newspapers about how it may be a radical mosque. If it were radical, we wouldn't have been invited as Christians, would we?

Noreen Khan
Salaam to everyone, Hello. Iv lived in Stoke-On-Trent all my life and im 19 years old. Im a british Muslim, but i don't pray, or read the quran. I dress mostly, westernise. I don't think it matters on wot u wear, hw u look. I think it counts, wots inside.I know alot of people won't agree with me, everyone has a different point of view. I go to Birmingham, I think its a really nice place. People are friendly, lots to do there. London bombings shocked my hole family. I think there's bad people in every religon. I would like to BIG UP, everyone who knows me N jus say respect everyone, keep peace. xMWAHx

leeba
asalam to all the brothers and sisters,all i want to say is islam is the way of life and all about pease not terror and we all should be proud to be muslims.subhanallah

Fifi Audhali ( Birmingham)
Salam to everyone, hello. I am 10 years old and i am a British citizen. I gave a speech at victoria square in birmingham to repusent my scout goup who are all against the london bomings. I am a muslim and i am proud of being a muslim.I go to the 304th Birmingham muslim scout group. I am really enjoying it. u get to meet lots more of muslim children and the leaders are really friendly and cool. I feel like everyone in my scout group are my brothers and sisters. We play lots of games, learn lots of useful and creative skills, learn more about our religon and not to forget helping our community. I really want everyone to know that there are good muslims and bad muslims. And that me my family, friends , scout group (and many more) disagree with the dreadful suicide bomers. I would really like a world full of peace and homourny and without hatred and vilonce, and that what ever colour or religon you are we all get treated the same. I'm really happy the BBC have put up this website so we can talk about these dreadful things. But I guess life has to be hard and not just easy. wassalamualakum good bye!

Shaid Yousaf, Brum
May God bring peace and blessings upon you. I am a British muslim and had not experienced any sort of racism or hatred from anyone in Britain apart from after the 9/11 and the 7/7 incidents. People don't realise that only a minority of people are resonsible for these horrific acts yet why see muslims as a whole responsible for it. I have been strong and don't let these people put me down because they don't have enough knowledge or wisdom to understand what Islam means rather than thinking all muslims are terrorists. Talking about knowledge people should learn the basics of different religions and cultures and more if they want, to make them realise that all religions teach peace especially Islam. When I interact with people from different religions and cultures I try to learn more about them rather than thinking I know everthing. The best people to talk to are people who have travelled different countries because they have expeienced diversity. The best advise they all gave to me was to travel and see the world which I give to you so you see the bigger picture and don't have misconceptions about different people. Ameen.

Sajila Rosie
I am a young professional British Muslim woman. I was born in Birmingham and Birmngham is all I have ever known. I am as much british as my white counterparts. Alot of the time young people become disillusioned with the society we live in and in alot of the cases this is associated with religion. religion is not the root cause of the problem, people and people's perceptions of what religion is - this is the problem. As a collaborative society we have to take responsibility of better educating each other to our inherent differences but also highlighting our commonalities. This is the society we live in, this is the society my children will be born into, this is our home. Many youth use the term "back home" be it India, Pakistan or Bangladesh they are referring too - the reality of the situation is, this is their home. Chances are the country they are referring to as their home will be a country that they have no knowledge of in terms of its culture, traditions etc etc - as the culture they have been brought up within - is NOT that, but a hybrid of the culture their parents stemed from to that which in it's current state surrounds the youth. What is further amusing people of the country youth so proudly refer to as "back home" call them foriengers - and yes rightly so they are foriengers because they do not belong to that country. Accepting this realisation will better the society we live in no doubt.

Mona Al-Kayyal .Damascus,Syria
Peace be upon you all. I'm a British citizen who lives in Damascus now.I spent my 1st 9 years in England since birth and then never returned.It's my dream 2 come back 2 Britain and spend the rest of my life there.This year i'm going 2 finish my last year in collage and then God willing come back 2 complete my studies.Last year i put my hijab and im very proud.But after what happened in London last month gave me the feeling that im not welcomed back.If anyone sees me they will think me a terrorist just because i have a scarf on my head.I see this a very big problem.I based all my dreams on coming back.I'm afraid of not achieving what i always want.May God help us all.. Thank you.

Zuhayra Bint Jabber
I found Adam Yosef's article a great read and very funny, i agree that parts of Birmingham's strength is its diversity despite the fact that some areas are impoverished, there is still hope.

Ruksana
Asalaamu alaykum to all! It was nice reading these excellent comments by the six muslims. It shows that all of you have got strong faith which is really good.Its really nice to know that Sister Taslim Rashid has performed hajj. It's great to hear that Ahmed Weir who converted to Islam. It's also very interesting to know taht Naseem Akhtar is thinking about the women in her community. It's very good to hear that Abdullah Mussa says that it is his duty to enjoy doing good and forbid evil. A good deed done by Shagufta Yakub such as helping the poor will surely make Allah happy. Last but not least it very nice to hear Adam Yosef's dream about evryone coming together. May Allah bless you all and reward you with heaven. Ameen! Allah Hafiz!

baber
salam to all welldone

boonchai
Kindly allow me to add my comments, ref "FACES BEHIND THE FAITH", wherein much appreciated the frank but 'slightly incorrect, thus a distorted version of the TRUE ISLAM IN THE QURAN. Errors have been committed not only in their 'thinking' of Islam, but also incorrect references were made. IMHO, it is beneficial that they be made aware of these 'incorrect' ideas, to further augment their existing committments to sow seeds of peace and goodwill all round. There is no intent to criticize or find fault with them, but rather to ask them to reflect a little more on what the real DEEN e'ISLAM entails. To begin with, Shagufta Yakub quoted Surah 63 (Al Munafiqun - the Hypocrites), Verse 2 ro start off her intro. May I ask her to check Verse 1 and what exactly does Verse 1 say or refer to. This is the oath or testimony (Shahadah) that ALL muslims say worldwide without realising that each time they say the 2nd kalimah (Mohammed Rasuluallah), they have become hypocrites. Mayv I ask Shaqgufta to think and reflect over it. Allah asks in the Quran - whose testimony is greater and Allah is witness ENOUGH that Mohammed is His Rasulullah). Surah 63, Verse 2 continues froom Verse 1, thus all who testify are hypocrites and liars, using their faith as a disguise to debar others from the path of Allah. Think it out carefully - and tell me whether it is correct ton testify that 2nd kalimah. The 1st kalimah is more than OK - it is a oft-repeated phrase in the Quran. Not the 2nd kalimah (if you are sunni) or the 3rd kalimah (if you are shite). It's wrong. SECONDLY, Who is a Muslim? The answer is in the Quran. A Muslim is a submitter who believes in none other than Him. It is not 'specially' reserved for for those who of that belief. In this regard, may I ask you a simple question-Is IBRAHIM (Abraham) a MUSLIM, a Jew or what? The answer is in the Quran. THIRDLY, from what I read, it seems that there is ONE VERY COMMON TREAD IN THEIR THINKING - namely, that their practices and beliefs are mainstream islam - not 100% pure and true ISLAM of the Quran. Let me point out a few examples:- a) of the 3 ladies interviewed, 2 wear the hijjab (Veil). Please know this is NOT FROM THE QURAN. There are 7 verses in the Quran ref Hijjab and NOT ONE refers to the head scarf. Do you want to know where it is plagiarized from? Please see the Bible, I Cor,11:6~7. So please, if Shagufta and Taslim profess peace and goodwill, kindly integrate with British society - there is no need to wear that veil. It is a Christian practice with a little cultural influence from Indian sub-continent. That veil wearing caused a big ho-hah in France. Do you wish the same to happen in UK or US or do you just want to be different. b) Why Taslim wants to use the Arabic caption or her society - is English not good enough for such a charity org existing in a UK environment. This is another quirk I find most distressful and disturbing. Why alienate yourself? Integrate please. c) Similarly, why a gender only group (which Naseem justified as 'related to her religious belief' - no, sir, there is nothing of that sort in the Quran, so please don't invent it like what the Taleban did)- Is Naseem advocating Taleban wisdom of gender separation? The Quran is most explicit on THE EQUALITY OF THE SEXES. Please understand the following - the Quran HAVE TO BE IN ARABIC as the messenger is an Arab. There is nothing special about Arabic. Would you think that Musa (Moses) or Isa (Jesus) communicate with Allah in Arabic or did the ants warned each other in Arabic to get out of Suleiman (Solomon's) army lest they be trampled on? Come on, sweet ladies, you are nearly there - just a little bit more effort and you'll be there. There is however, ONE GREAT SAVING GRACE the ladies said which is - I AM ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY ACTIONS IN THIS WORLD. Yes, you are right, nobody can intercede or you. Even the good Prophet Mohammed cannot save those that he loves - ses Surah 28, Verse 56. d) I admire Abdullah Mussa efforts - but then again why marginalise, segregate and dis-enfranchise your boys? Integrate

Henry Francis B. Espiritu
I am so touched by the simple and straight-forward, but sincere testimonies of the British Muslim brothers and sisters featured in this website. In my studies in comparative religion, I have read the Qur-an and I have noted that the Prophet Muhammad preached a very humane and peaceful religion, Islam (Submission)a word in Arabic which is of the same derivative of the Arabic word, Salam(Peace).The Prophet Muhammad is even called by pious Muslims by his epithet, "Mercy to the Universe". I have likewise noted that the conduct of the Prophet in his dealings with believers and unbelievers alike, were always governed by justice, piety, and love for humanity. That is why I feel from the deepest recesses of my heart that true Islam as practiced by the Prophet and pious Muslims who know the peaceful message of the Qur-an, is a religion of peace and amity. Reading the testimonies of these British Muslims made me appreciate Living Islam better. The true muslims are those ordinary people striving to live a decent life, struggling to please God in their own little way by following His precepts, and contributing their own part to the welfare of humanity. I think we need testimonies like this in order to counteract unfair and unjust stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists and troublemakers. I think the media is full of selective reports that regularly dish out erroneous sterotypes that unfairly generalize Muslims as the "bad guys". Likewise, the media is guilty of fanning unjust,inimical, and judgmental attitudes against Muslims and Islam by unfairly singling out Muslims as "bad apples in the basket". Yet, the truth is, there are millions if not, billions of Muslims in the world who are law abiding and God-fearing compared to just a handful of misguided and bad ones! Media must be balanced in their news coverage and reportage by showing that there are billions of Muslims in this world who live a life of peace and amity with other members of their comunity; that there are Muslims who took to heart the peaceful and compassionate teachings of Islam in their dealings with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I think media should sincerely strive to be fair and just by reporting constructive news about how simple peace-loving Muslims contribute to global amity and understanding. I am indeed very happy to read this BBC article that registers the various testimonies of these British Muslims as they fruitfully and meaningfully live their daily lives in pursuance to the lofty teachings of true Islam (submission to the ways of Salam/peace)as shown in the compassionate ways of the Prophet and as mapped-out in the contents of the sacred Quran. I hope to see articles of this sort in the future. Articles of this kind are very much needed to encourage fraternity and solidarity with all peace-loving Muslims for global understanding and harmony.

Emma
I think this really speaks out: http://news....4.ece "A suspected member of the 21 July bomb cell has told investigators he was motivated by the Iraq war, not religion ..."

Bint-eh Adam
Could I just add a Big Thank You to everybody whose commented here. It really is refreshing to read these comments as I believe it is more of a reflection about those truly in our society. Yes the world has people within it who use any excuse to 'avenge' those who are different. Yes there do exist people who will shout in the faces of Muslims or make unintelligent remarks about their attire and beliefs. But despite that, the common good which exists in us all has been displayed here, and I hope it continues to do so.. not only here, but in the workplace, in our neighbourhoods and in the streets. God Bless all and may we all raise together to the challenge which divides society.

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