UK: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi wants to reinvent Islam as an ‘English’ faith

Former Minister of State for Faith and Communities and Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. PHOTO: AFPFormer Conservative Party chairwoman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is seeking to develop and promote an ‘English’ brand of Islam, in an attempt to synchronise rituals of the Muslim faith with the Church.

Source: The Express Tribune

Warsi is encouraging mosques to draw inspiration from church choirs as part of a drive to develop and embody a distinctively ‘English’ brand of Islam. “Muslim devotional verses and music could be adapted to sound similar to hymns sung in parish churches, drawing from the centuries-old traditions of English choral music,” Warsi suggested.

Warsi, who was the first Muslim woman to sit in Cabinet, has also suggested building mosques without minarets to make them look more like “quintessentially English” places of worship. She is calling on architects and designers to come up with new styles for Islamic places of prayer to blend in closely to their surroundings, in essence to emulate the typical church designs for mosques.

A local school choir has been invited to sing Muslim hymns in English, presented in the English choral style. Baroness Warsi said, “Recent polls have indicated that ethnic minority communities in England have tended to feel a much stronger association with ‘Britishness’ than ‘Englishness’.”

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Lady Warsi believes that an inclusive sense of national identity can bond all communities together. “How we use the physical spaces that we all share can help do that – whether it’s a new mosque that blends into its local surroundings or a peace garden in Woking,” she added.

Dr Awais Mohammad of British Future said, “We have a British Islam, one that most Muslims here identify with, but with the union now looking more fragile [after Brexit] and Englishness growing in importance, we may need an English Islam too.”

He emphasised that an inclusive national identity can help bring people of different religions, and particularly Muslims and Christians, closer together as a society. “For that to happen, ‘Englishness’ will need to feel open to ethnic and faith minorities.

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He expressed a dire need for both religious communities to understand its shared history. “Islam didn’t arrive in England with South Asian migrants after the war – its heritage here goes back much further,” he said.

“It includes the Victorian converts who opened England’s first mosques and the 400,000 Muslims who fought for Britain in the First World War,” Dr Awais said. “Knowing that, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, can help us understand the multi-ethnic, multi-faith country that we live in today.”

This article originally appeared on The Telegraph.

2 replies

  1. To: Baroness Warsi: we already have ‘Islam’ in English, it’s called ‘The Bible’. I would suggest you, in future, read BEFORE writing. Both Bible and Qur’an are transcripts of judaism. By your name I would not take you to be a jew, but without your name I would, your outlook fits with the jews (again, read first).

  2. Islam is universal religion that can’t be assimilated to a race/nation, but instead of changing Islamic common sense, race/nations can adapt their culture into Islam.
    We as Muslims follows our prophetic way based on Quran.
    English basic culture as my observation honestly is so suitable to adapt in Islam if British care their health so much like stopping smoking/drug/alcohol..
    Like the Church bell, the Minarets is built to recite Azan loudly. In my country, so many non-Muslims like watching those

    ‘The thrice-daily ringing of church bells also resembles the Islamic tradition of the adhan in which the faithful are called to prayer from a minaret.’ (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.gotquestions.org/amp/church-bells.html?client=ms-android-h3g-gb)

    I agree she has a Muslim name, but her approach is not presented us,unfortunately. If not, she should have mentioned ‘Azan must recite to destroy extremism’ because, azan voice makes every Muslims feeling peaceful&safe instead of stressful & aggressive.
    Muslims as English/Turkish/Arab are guided by Quran and our prophet(saw), not by English non-Muslim cultural things. English can make global common sense via the ummah of Muhammad in England.

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