As rejoinder to a critical article written by Ali Al-Arian for al-Jazeera, Dr Sherman Jackson (also known as Shaikh Abd-al Hakim Jackson) recently composed a retort that incisively points out a number of issues seldom so explicitly articulated today, where demagoguery pervades Muslim public discourse and the collective psyche. It’s difficult to argue against the idea that the Muslim space has become a noxious one; armed with a religiously weaponised ethno-religious identity and a reified Islam, revelation is left on the back benches (if not entirely discarded) and the Muslim outlook becomes one informed by identity politics and ethnic protest on the back of cherry-picked citations that make up a carefully crafted ‘tradition’ to buttress both in religious and political views. The apparent desire to publicly denounce Dr Jackson armed with little but supposition greatly suggests a motivation removed from providing a fair an informed critique. For many believers, what will customarily come to mind here is the divine injunction: “Believers, if a troublemaker brings you news, check it first, in case you wrong others unwittingly and later regret what you have done.” (Quran 49:6)
In this brief post, I intend to draw on Dr Jackson’s incisive sentiments that I feel also speak to the British Muslim space, as well as widespread British Muslim attitudes towards politics. Please note that this post is not intended to be substantive but merely offer some paltry thoughts limited to a few points Dr Jackson fittingly raises.