I was shocked to read that the leaders of our three key political parties in Scotland, Alex Salmond, Annabel Goldie and Nicol Stephen are endorsing the Scottish Islamic Foundation to seek funding which will further isolationist approaches to education and hamper attempts at building bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims. I have nothing against the SIF, they have every right to exist and voice their opinion, albeit a political one, but they are not representative of a 'Muslim community'. Why are we failing to understand this?
If the SNP are so determined to create an alternative to Westminster then they need to learn from their English counterparts' mistakes and that was when Downing Street ran to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in hope of finding some united voice for the 'Muslim community'. This they failed to find but what emerged were several other voices who distanced themselves from the voice of the MCB and in turn exposed how wrong the British government was in seeking an acceptable political Islam. What we seem to be growing in Scotland are those from the same ilk couched in some mish mash of an imagined tartan which I most certainly wouldn't want to wear! It is an ill-informed government that seeks diversity in neat different boxes all brought together to sing from the same hymn sheet. An informed Scottish government would realise that diversity forces us to consider the layer upon layer of diversity that unravels when we begin to unpack that neat box we started with.
Thank God that Islamic theology allows for diversity without a religious hierarchy, even though the usual suspects seek to create one. When will we realise that the Muslim community is not a monolith? When will we realise that political Islam is far from the essence of the beautiful and loving Islam which is totally at ease in a diverse Scotland? Or is this just about getting the Muslim vote and seeking it by hook or by crook? I guess it's a little more hard work for our Scottish Government to seek the diversity of Muslim voices so they have found the loudest voices and forgotten about the rest. I shudder to think if the Scottish Government does actually care for a progressive society or a regressive one which just nods at their every gesture? Progressive Muslims in Scotland are far from the reach of politicians or Islamist foundations who may present alluring objectives but up close twist them to their own political gains.