Muslims more free to practise their faith in UK than most Islamic countries, insists leading Shia scholar
London is a more “Islamic” city than much of the Muslim world put together, a leading Muslim scholar has argued.
Maulana Syed Ali Raza Rizvi, a prominent Shia cleric, who was born in Pakistan and studied in Iran, said he “feels more Islamic” in Britain than other countries because of the freedom to worship and the multicultural mix.
He said Islam could be summed up as being about “love and justice” but that the “Muslim political leadership” around the world was failing to foster this.
He was speaking alongside the Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at the annual Benedict XVI Lecture, an interfaith discussion event in London.
The three leaders discussed how members of their own faiths had, in different ways, lived as “creative minorities”.
Maulana Rizvi said that unlike their “Jewish and Christian brothers”, Muslims in Britain were a new community, established for decades rather than centuries, and had a “lot to learn” from other religious groups.
But he added: “I feel that London has more Islamic values than many of the Muslim countries put together.
“There are many different communities living together in peace and harmony, giving respect to the others and loving others and that is what Islam is all about – and unfortunately [much] of the Muslim political leadership has failed to provide that.
“I feel more Islamic living here because I can easily practise my faith and give respect to all other members of the community belonging to different faiths and not even belonging to a faith, to anything.
“Because that is what Islam is all about, respecting and giving to others … if in one line I could say what Islam is all about, it is all about love and justice.”