Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Renaissance

In a letter in today's Telegraph, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain lends his name to the following:

We have drawn attention to the continuing infringements of the right to freedom of religion. These breaches include the control of religious activity by totalitarian states, institutionalised discrimination experienced by religious minorities, and official and unofficial barriers to the right to adopt, change or choose a religion. We have called on the Government to develop a strategy to promote the right to freedom of religion and belief around the world through all of its different ministries, departments and agencies.

The failure of governments and societies around the world to respect religious freedoms is not only a breach of basic human rights. It is causing poverty and social exclusion and is hampering sustainable economic development.
The Islamic attitude to apostasy has been a major barrier to peace, and is a profound assault against freedom of conscience around the world. That a senior official in the MCB should lend his name to these sentiments is very encouraging.

6 comments:

vervet said...

"We have called on the Government to develop a strategy to promote the right to freedom of religion and belief around the world ..."

Hopefully Dr. Muhammad and the MCB direct their call with equal weight to all governments, including that of Saudi Arabia.

JohnM said...

The Islamic attitude to apostasy has been a major barrier to peace, and is a profound assault against freedom of conscience around the world. That a senior official in the MCB should lend his name to these sentiments is very encouraging.

Given the reasonably well publicised links of Bari to extremism, I presume you damn with faint praise.

Peter Risdon said...

johnm, sort of. Certainly Bari is the signatory I wanted to draw attention to. If the barriers to apostasy can be eliminated, all else will follow and - given his track record - it's extraordinary that he'd endorse this letter.

If the MCB does speak for several hundred other Muslim organisations, this is an encouraging precedent and one thing I do try to do is to draw attention to signs of reform in Islam. So credit where it's due.

This is also one to keep in mind. There are other signs of reaction against the apostasy laws in Islam, not least among a group of Pakistani clerics, and I think - or hope - that these are the first cracks in the dam.

Yurk said...

He means that there must be no barriers to people converting to Islam. That's all.

James said...

Yes,
I would side with yurk's interpretation...

Peter Risdon said...

Yuri, James, I'm just amazed he'd even consider signing such a letter, whatever his meaning. It's a hostage to fortune, however slight.