13 September 2005

I went to the meeting of the 'Leicester Campaign to Stop the War', with Manzoor Moghal, of the Muslim forum, and Akram Hawwash, from Palestine, as speakers. There were 18 people in attendance in all, including myself and the speakers. Alas very little was said about what can be done now, rather than raking over old history.

At the end I was able to ask Mr Moghal if he could say why there were (as far as I could tell) no Muslims in the audience, when the speakers were Muslim and the topic so obviously of interest to the Muslim community, and seems to have been well publicised. We had the same problem when Ziauddin Sardar spoke to Leicester Secular Society on 'Islam and Secularism' last January. (Dr Mukadam of the Islamic Academy was the only other Muslim evident.)

Mr Moghal spoke of Muslims having the duty of prayer five times a day, and of family duties. This may be so, but is surely not sufficient. I pointed out that when I took part in a debate at a Leicester University Ideological Society (a Muslim student organisation), two years ago, at a similar time in the evening, the lecture hall was packed out.

My conclusion is that Muslims will only attend meetings organised, or approved, by Muslim organisations. This failure of Muslims to participate in the wider society is a serious problem.


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