Perhaps I will encounter people whose views on Islam are forged by the terrorists, and perhaps they will look at me and my friends, British Muslims of a similar age to the extremists, and ask: “How did you turn out so different?
As well as studying medicine at university, I currently serve as the president of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association.I spend a lot of my time working to organise interfaith dialogues and peace conferences. And could knowing the answer to this help reduce the numbers of young people being brainwashed into extremism? Even in childhood, I always asked questions about my religion – and as I grew up, I had access to imams and elders ready to answer them.I was free to challenge them, to ask the toughest and most sensitive questions about the most “controversial” aspects of Islam.Through this process I learnt that Islam teaches there is no compulsion in religion, that taking even a single life is equivalent to killing the whole of mankind, and that saving a life is equivalent to saving the whole of humanity.More generally, I learnt through the responses I got that everything in my faith was in harmony with human nature, and that nothing was dogmatic or unreasonable or a threat to society.
I learnt that a strong grounding in Islamic knowledge is in fact protective from radicalisation.Her peace of mind and happiness were all on hold as she tried to obtain a divorce through the Sharia Council because her husband refused to grant her one.) three times over a period of separation and the divorce is legitimate. She has to go to an Islamic judge in a Muslim country, or a sharia council in non-Muslim countries, to seek a judicial decree on specific grounds to be free.If she does not have any grounds for a divorce, she has to waive her “Mehr” – a compulsory financial gift by her husband. He was the type of man who insisted on paying for all her friends at the table if they were single or unaccompanied by a husband.They were happy until the pressures of married life and children brought a whole different reality to their lives. She forgave and tried to adjust her life, her views, and her tolerance levels over and over again. She became more spiritual and, in doing so, reached the conclusion that she did not have to tolerate his behaviour.Her faith taught her that she was an equal human being who was worthy of respect.I remember my friend’s friend at social events 10 years ago when she was dating her husband-to-be. We all thought he was a gentleman and she revelled in the knowledge that he was all hers.