The need to belong

  (08 November 07)

Noorjehan Barmania had her 'two cents worth' in the Guardian Weekly recently (26.10.07). Now living in the UK and having grown up as a Muslim in apartheid South Africa she wanted to complain about not knowing where she fits in in British, 'mainly atheist', society. One attempt at fasting led a work colleague to observe that she was easier to work with when not fasting! Her Croatian Muslim handyman on hearing this said she was perhaps becoming like him a European Muslim, i.e. just culturally Muslim. She baulked at this. No, she insists she wants much more spiritually, a sense of belonging to a community which transcends 'ethnicity, nationality and class'. She claims we all need to belong in such a way. Is she right? If so, is it so for everyone, part of being human? And again, what is the mechanism? Many more questions might follow, producing stuff for story-telling.


My understanding of the topic we are planning for the next South-East Queensland conference is that it is based upon the problem similar to that is perceived by Noorjehan Barmania in British society.
While I agree with what she sees as the problem, I am wondering what she might wants for the mechanism. I believe the religion of the churches, particularly the Muslim religion, divides groups from each-other. For example, Muslim men withdraw for public prayers every few hours, Sharia law is abhorrent in many ways, and the 'covering' of women is not attractive and is un-necessary for modesty. Instead it suggests subjugation of women.

Posted by Helen Mason

The future of a new Islam lies in the generosity and tolerance by host peoples in those lands wherever they have arrived to make their home.
Why do you suppose these Muslims have left their own homelands?They desire a more relevant Islam that meets the needs of the present.They want to restructure the inherited scriptures in which they clearly discern mythological structures which are held to br the immutable "Holy" words of Allah and therefore are etternal. Their presence ion our homelands is proof to me that they are making radical decisions and need our support.

Posted by Robert Halsey

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