Quilliam provides a theological response to Islamic State and other Islamists

In Quilliam’s latest report, our senior researcher in theological studies, Shaykh Dr Usama Hasan, provides an Islamic argument for British Values and rebuttal to Islamism in general and Islamic State in particular.

Dr Hasan, an Imam for 30 years, successfully argues that Islam can be compatible with a citizenship model of political affiliation on the basis of shared values. His report, From Dhimmitude to Democracy, shows that Islam can go hand in hand with democracy, human rights and the values enshrined in the Magna Carta.

Of particular significance to our shared struggle against the so-called Islamic State, is Dr Hasan’s justification, based on the ethical principles and history of Islam, for full religious freedom and equality.

Quilliam shows that literalist and extremist Islamists often reject the historical development of Islamic thought. Extreme, contemporary examples of this may be seen in the pseudo-states established by the groups known as “Islamic State” and “Boko Haram,” both of whom are known for their violent and brutal discrimination against non-Muslims, and indeed against any Muslims who oppose their fascist misinterpretations of Islam.

From Dhimmitude to Democracy: Islamic Law, Non-Muslims and Equal Citizenship traces the evolution of Islamic thought and jurisprudence on the status of non-Muslims in Islamic law and ethics.

With around 40 pages of original translations from classical and contemporary Arabic texts, it shows how ancient notions of dhimma (protection of non-Muslims under Muslim rule) in return for the payment of jizya (a poll-tax on non-Muslims) gradually evolved and were eventually superseded by modern Islamic thinking that points towards equality under a democratic model of citizenship.

Quilliam’s Managing Director, Haras Rafiq says: “The debate and battle of ideas and practice within Muslim-majority societies and states continues, in a constant state of flux. This report highlights and elucidates the basic scriptural, theological, jurisprudential, historical, political and contemporary bases of the debate, and makes a strong Islamic case for equal citizenship and universal human rights.”

The full version of the report is here and the abridged version here.

Notes for editors:

As Quilliam Senior Researcher, Shaykh Dr Usama engages in ongoing reform, outreach and media work. He aims to address key questions on gender rights, minority rights, personal freedoms, penal codes; seeking to harmonise tradition and reason, faith and science, and developing the Sharia in keeping with the original Prophetic spirit of mercy, and away from rigid ritualism.