Friday, August 19, 2005

al-Taqiyya

Like Chicken Yoghurt, the bombings have been a strong learning experience for me. I have now done much more reading into the Muslim community and into Muslim beliefs (if only, when moaning about 'Western ignorance' of their beliefs, Muslims underwent the same process regarding Christianity). It's been enlightening - but the most significant thing I've found out about profoundly worries me. The concept of al-Taqiyya is one which validates lying about one's faith if it is to be used for the advancement of the faith.

Now, there is still a lot I don't know about it, for example. I know that Sunnis tend to frown upon the concept, yet Shi'ites argue that the Sunni tradition should validate it as well. Within a British context, I don't know what proportion of British Muslims are Sunni or Shi'ite, and so my concerns about it may well be less significant in a British context. Nor am I entirely happy with the definition given on Wikipedia - is the allowance of telling deliberate untruths really so sweeping as to be for "the furthering of one's faith", or are there more specific limitations for those using the principle?

However, the possibility that any Muslim could be lying to me, if he considers the lie to be in the interests of Islam, makes many of the Labour-sponsored initiatives in terms of "community outreach" a moot point, surely? If such a principle is admitted to, where can anyone have any trust? More to the point, how can we possibly hope to integrate when there is no firm community founding?

If anyone has answers, or reassurances, please get in touch. As things stand, I'm getting very pessimistic that a cultural impasse is avoidable.