Friday, December 1

Global Peace and Unity

Last weekend was the second spectacularly annual Global Peace and Unity event. People came from far and wide (well, Hounslow anyway) and everyone who was anyone went. Except for me - I was too busy doing other things.

It didn't take long before someone told me how great it was, what I had missed and how it was my Islamic duty to support such events (the corollary being that anyone who didn't wasn't a good Muslim). Of course, that last bit was like waving a red rag to a bull (but I suspect my friend knew exactly what he was doing).

Don't get me wrong. I do think that the GPU event is a good thing. It sometimes gets criticised for being disorganised, or not providing what people actually want, but for something that's been going on for just two years it's pretty darn impressive. From what I've seen there's enough for even the least interested to have a passing look at, and even for someone of another or no faith it could be a nice day out. So yes, it's officially A Good Thing in my eyes, and long may it prosper.

But I still didn't want to go. And so, more importantly, I shouldn't be forced to go.

I've written before how broad Islam is, and therefore anything described as "Islamic" may not actually be that to all Muslims. And even if it was, Muslims shouldn't be expected to support everything and anything described as such. It's why we're not all members of the MCB or MPAC or FOSIS even though we may agree with what they say. In fact, to think that we should all Muslims should homogeneously act the same smacks of the particular Governmental policy or media opinion some of us take issue with.

Apart from this identity issue, there's something unsettling for me about overtly Islamic entertainment of this type. I don't need to celebrate my faith just like I don't need to celebrate the fact that I'm a man or that I develop software. Sport, music, videogames and television all don't have to have been "islamicised" to be more acceptable for a Muslim audience, so why do family days out?

And apparently it's spiritually beneficial to attend these things. However, in my opinion, £15 to charity and two days worth of private prayer/study will provide much more benefit than GPU ever will. Of course events like these are more accessible, easier to take part in and possibly even more fashionable than other traditional things. I'm sure that more than a few feel that they've done their duty after watching a nasheed concert - it's almost similar to offsetting Home And Away with an hour of Islam channel each day. At best it almost smells of over-compensation and at worst for many it's an easy-to-swallow McIslam.

And don't get me started on nasheeds. I really don't like them and they give me the creeps. I don't think it's my duty as a Muslim to like them either. And so I probably won't leave my house to listen to them. Oasis, on the other hand, I would (they rocked at Wembley in 2000, by the way).

Ok, I'm ranting now. And this isn't really about GPU, it's about being preached to. But this post is already five paragraphs too long, and so I'll leave that particular gem for another time. For now, spare encouraging me to go to GPU. I honestly, truly, have better things to do, thanks. But hey: if you feel the need to spend a weekend listening to nasheed concerts and eating halal hot dogs then please, do go nuts. I certainly don't think it's my place to stop you.


  1. Aslong as your disclaimer is in place im happy :-) Sssooo diplomatic! No-one likes to be preached to- but maybe advice or suggestions shouldnt always be taken as preaching *shrug*

    There's nothing unsettling about these types of events- maybe you should attend one before you start making sweeping generalisations.Or maybe you feel you know enough about Islam and so would not benefit from such events, i dunno- but its clearly not the case for others whose Imaan may be strengthened by such "days out." Oh and trust me, these events are about alot more than just nasheed concerts.
    Dont get me wrong- i understand exactly what your post is about but sometimes you can sound very condescending. Im not questioning your "muslimness" here and have no right to either. Sometimes it seems you get pissed off at muslims for wanting to overtly celebrate their faith! Whats your problem? Fair do no-one should preach/force you, but then you should also accept that maybe its equivalent to someone suggesting that you go watch a certain movie or go to a certain concert (to use the same analogy)- you dont seem to get as annoyed when its not related to religion for some reason. (Yes i do agree that going to an "Islamic" conference means jack all in relation to proving yourself as a muslim=,but for those who wish to attend- there is more blessing in the gathering than in attending the cinema to watch Dhoom :-) so why not make the most of it)?

    Btw, there's also nothing creepy about nasheeds (most of them anyway). They're supposed to evoke feelings of love and remembrance of Allah (swt) and the Prophets of Allah. Maybe listening to songs about harmony, peace, brotherhood, solidarity, the beauty of the deen etc does nothing for you- in which case its all good but i wouldnt resort to referring to them as "creepy," its an insult- particularly the ones that praise Allah.

    Then again, maybe in your opinion a nasheed shouldnt have to do that and 2 days of private study should accomplish that aim :-) Anyhow beats the, "I see a hot mama over there blah blah blah" and the other usual tripe that comes out of and yes, stuff that even i listen to from the Western pop culture. (Wouldnt want to be called a hypocrite now would i) :-) Well, each to their own i guess eh? :-) aslong as youre happy.

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  3. i heard that there was some bizzare behaviour at gpu, people being 'fans' and 'pop idolness'.

    that would have been intriguing to observe.