In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh
The recent attacks in the Media against the Deobandees are not hidden from anyone and need no further publicising. I wish to propose a suggestive plan of action, it is only my humble opinion and since I am (most certainly) nobody there is no compulsion on anyone to take it.
This is simply my Mushwara as being part of the Ummah of Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).
IMMEDIATE & MANDATORY ACTION:
All Muslims should IMMEDIATELY STOP sending links of news articles via WhatsApp and STOP posting links on twitter, Facebook, social media etc. Distribution of this material helps those who wish to malign us. As more of these articles are spread with the links, the clicks go above, news moves up the popularity cycle and it forces news agencies to spend more time and resources and come up with more dirt.
This is the best advice which came from Mufti Amjad Mohammed (HA), Masha’Allah.
If you do need to tell people about these, copy/paste the content and just mention that such and such media organisation published it today (or whenever).
STOP sending half-baked WhatsApp messages and social media posts just because it was written by someone you like, it serves no purpose and if publicly circulated makes us look like fools.
It is not an achievement to solve a problem! The real success is in turning an apparently losing position into one of strength. There are those amongst us who believe in conspiracy theories so instead of sensing an opportunity they spend the time:
- Looking for who fed the information to the Media
- Convincing others that dealing with the Media is futile because they will twist your views etc
- Convincing others these attacks are part of some sort of well-orchestrated Qadiyani/Zionist alliance so all efforts are futile
There may be some element of truth in these theories but these sort of people sap the energy of others through negativity and should be kept away from these issues.
Yesterday, Shaykh (Maulana) Yunus Dudhwala (HA) appeared on BBC Asian Network and he was able to successfully articulate the position of Islam with regards to the Qadiyanees during Live coverage.
Allah (SWT) has given us a superb opportunity to convey Islam to 60 million British people so view this as a golden opportunity and take it both hands.
Aggression vs Professionalism:
Many of our Brothers and Sisters want to go to war with the Media and respond in highly aggressive manner. It is counterproductive and feeds into (their narrative). Respond in a restrained but firm and professional manner.
This is NOT a clash of civilisation but a clash of political ideologies and mind-set, don’t turn it into a battle ground.
Keep hot-headed, aggressive people away from these debates.
Conspiracy vs Facts:
Many of our Brothers and Sisters have a head full of conspiracies and they view everything with coloured glasses. It is regrettable and unfortunate that some of the Ulama are also beginning to forward conspiracy theories on WhatsApp and social media.
They are entitled to their opinion but keep them away from these discussions, confine them to forums and let them argue with each other.
We have enough facts to make our case, Insha’Allah. Here are some recommendations and these stages are not rigid and can be adjusted (as necessary).
Don't criticise your own people!
No need to publicly put down your own people. Those who put their necks out should be appreciated and if they make mistakes they should be advised privately.
Even the best should consult Ulama:
EVEN the best people need to consult Ulama on specific positions and this is vital.
STAGE 1 (Speak to the British Nation!):
Deobandees specialise in preaching to the converted and it’s about this approach is radically altered. Those who agree with you, know where you stand so what’s the point of speaking in Urdu, Asian, Islamic clichés etc?
We need to learn to address those who don’t understand it so drop the clichés and lingo. Address people in simple words, tone and language that they understand, our target should be 60 million British people or in fact the whole world.
I have YET to find a single simple article about Qadiyanees or a video which explains the problem, here is a start:
STAGE 2 (Who/What is a Deobandi?):
The first response to the British public should be convey that being a “Deobandi” is a nuanced position. It isn’t a monolithic sect with a standard of beliefs and dogma. Media wants people to see Doebandees as a “cult” and our job should be to show that it isn’t as simple as that.
Do all graduates of Oxford hold the same set of views? Make the British public understand this and as simply as possible.
STAGE 3 (Make it a British issue):
The focus in the Media is that some (foreign) radical preachers arrived in Britain and our (native and naïve) Muslims were misled. It is insulting to propose that someone like Masood Azhar arrived from Pakistan and radicalised Deobandees, such insinuations are from a colonial mind-set.
We have hundreds of Ulama and Institutions and it’s about we stand on our two feet. The issue of Ahmadees/Qadianees is a golden opportunity for us to respond. This is an agreed upon issue in Islam.
- Draft a statement, see example from Wifaqul Ulama but change it to fit your needs
- Ulama should lobby their teachers and heads of Darul-ulooms and make them endorse it
- Ulama and leaders should lobby Barelwees and others like (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad, (Dr) Akram Nadwi and others to endorse it because you need to present this as a British position (and it is)
Again, this is an ideal opportunity for Muslims to develop links and strengthen ties. Remember that it needs to be Deobandi position and not a Deobandi or a Bury or Dewsbury or Leicester position...
STAGE 4 (Pick another British/Islamic issue):
Palestine is an issue with considerable support from mainstream British public. Make it an issue and present a united front.
If you skip this step, know that sooner or later Media will pick you up on Palestine and try to paint you as Anti-Semitic.
STAGE 5 (Introduce Deobandees to British Public):
It’s about time we go on a front foot and tell British public that we are not hidden, have no clandestine agenda and contribute very positively to this society.
I am working on a documentary so if you have any ideas, contact me and I will be happy to hear from you.
STAGE 6 (Appear on Media):
Issuing statements is good but we need to appear on the Media. The more you appear the more people get used to your views and it is likely that Media will invite you again.
NOT responding to Media requests is criminal, Deobandees have tried this for 40+ years and it has gotten us into this mess which we now find ourselves.
STAGE 7 (Back Talent!):
This is the cancer which is eating away at the heart of Deobandees. A person is backed because he is a Mureed, Gujrati, attends someone’s Majlis etc etc etc.
Learn to back talent and be prepared when talented people disagree with you (and they will!) We have plenty of money, resources, Intelligence and talent of our own in this Ummah, we just need to back the right people.
STAGE 8 (Involve Women!):
You can pretty much seal your fate but if you don’t involve women in any of your campaigns, nothing else needs to be said.
STAGE 9 (Use Social Media):
British Muslims are younger and highly tuned into social media frenzy, start using social media to your advantage…begin using hasthatgs like #DeobandiIslam etc and make it trend
Established media cannot compete with you on social media and you can take the battle to them (fairly easily) in an organised manner.
STAGE 10 (Learn response Tactics):
British Media is bound by code of practise so learn to use it. BBC aired a program, Deobandees all over the country should have gone to town in reporting this (as biased) and prevented Part 2 from airing. Massive number of reports would have put BBC on the back foot.
We should have officially come up against this program, clearly told masses on how to report and given a sample complaint.
Ulama and Mashaykh should have gone to town with publicly endorsing this approach.
You wouldn’t be sitting here reading this response if we had done the basics. :P
I bet that you have read this and said "this is common sense" and yes it is!