'Sharia law becomes synonymous with terrorism or extremism in the West’
RT:We've heard about Muslim patrols in the UK, and now they are showing up in Germany. What are the goals of these patrols?
Dilly Hussain: We have to look behind the nature of the so-called Sharia patrol. If there is a group of Muslims that are going around implementing Sharia laws on the citizens of Britain or Germany then I believe it has to be done with coordination with the local law enforcement. The issue that we have had in Britain, where three man were prosecuted for carrying Sharia patrols, they were actually going around confiscating drinks, telling some individuals how to dress and how not to dress. Obviously that was breaking the law. However, there were other Muslim Sharia patrols in other parts of England where they coordinated with the police. And I personally believe that there are groups of Muslims or Christians, and we also have Jewish patrols in some parts of London. If you coordinate on work with the local authorities and you are merely advising citizens not to drink or to stay away from certain vice, that is very different to actually implementing Sharia rules or any kind of religious rules on citizens.
RT:In your opinion, are those patrols effective? How does the wider public in Europe feel about these patrols? Is there actually anything wrong with these patrols?
DH: This is not necessary the case. We, as the Muslims living in Britain or Muslims living in Germany, we are the citizens of that state. We have contact with authorities there. And the issue is to abide by the rules of that land unless it directly conflicts with Islamic law. Now there is a very big difference between implementing and forcing Sharia law and advising general citizens be they Muslims or not Muslims. And I think that is the differentiation that we have to make. If there are groups of Muslims or groups of any people from any religion going round implementing and forcing laws like a vigilante type of police force then others see that goes against the laws of the land, we have a police force to enforce criminal laws, so they shouldn`t be doing that. However, if there are Jews and Christians and Muslims that are going to run their own communities advising citizens not to drink, not to engage in gambling and all the other advice. I don’t see any problem with that.
RT:What is the main goal of these Sharia patrols?
DH: I wouldn`t necessary say it is representative in the way in which it was carried out in Germany and that one incident in Britain. However, conveying the message of Islam to the wider society is a normal mainstream practice. Muslims are told wherever you reside, be it in the Muslim world or in the West, it is an obligation for us to enjoy God and forbid evil deeds. The differentiation, like I said, is implementing and forcing not advising. So I would like to highlight two incidences in Britain, where in the City of Derby there were groups of Muslim men who informed the police that they were going to be carrying out “patrols.” And what they did was: they advised the youth not to engage in drugs, they advised club revelers to stay away. They did this with the permission and coordination with the police. In another city called Leicester when there was a heavy snowfall there were Muslim groups that were going around and they were helping the elderly to get to their destination, could be shopping etc. These are the kind of positive projects, not giving media spotlight; instead the media will intentionally concentrate on these kinds of Sharia patrols. And these kind of Sharia patrols are not mainstream or representatives of the wider Muslim community.
RT:Police and politicians in Germany have already condemned the patrols, but will any real measures be taken? What are they likely to be?
DH: Let`s be real about this, base words such as Sharia, Sharia law and Islamic State are intentionallyused by the mainstream media and by our own politicians to instill fear of Muslims in general. And they do it intentionally. So it becomes synonymous with terrorism or extremism or fear. This is not the case. And I agree a Sharia patrol of that nature, the mainstream media and particular politicians will pick up on it and they have a field day out of it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.