VIDEO: British Election – Exposing Corruption of British Political System

Arzu joined Faiza Abbas on Live Perspective on Hidayat TV to discuss the British Election and the corruption of the political system, alongside Dr. Syed Andrabi and Syed Muhsin Abbas

Watch the video below


Excerpt of discussion between Faiza Abbas and Arzu Merali:


Excerpt: British Elections

2 July

Hidayat TV


Faiza Abbas:  So what are your thoughts? Muhsin [Abbas] has explained and addressed the question and how Dr. Andrabi has shared his view regarding Kaleem Siddiqui’s vision for Muslim community and Muslim vote and Muslim power. And what are your thoughts, your own personal thoughts on the whole thing which is going on in terms of election in the middle of genocide, how it is important because, you know, in general circumstances, maybe we don’t even care about giving our vote or sharing our views in these ways in general. But now at the time when genocide is in the middle and people are dying every single minute, these words do count and we can at least share something and do something through these votes. Do you think it is a good idea to vote for independent candidates instead of these parties which we have before for the past many decades..?


What kind of message you would like to share with all the voters, especially the Muslim voters, what they should do in order to expose the corruption within the system and how they should use their vote? Because there is one problem, which I personally see as well. Sometimes people are voting because they are loyal to some party or some person… For instance, there are many people who always give vote to Muslim MPs, for instance, from Labour or from parties or something like that. So what message you would like to give? And one more important thing is why Muslim MPs, for instance, from the Labour Party, they couldn’t resign from the party and stand as an independent candidate. What do you think, what could be the reason? Because this is something I was just thinking about and maybe you can answer it very well.


Arzu Merali: Thank you so much actually for your questions and also for Mohsin Bhai and Dr. Andrabi these contributions have been really fascinating. And I agree with large amounts of it and I have some disagreements as well. We don’t have time to go into everything, but let me say what I feel and this is my very personal view.


As you know I wrote those two articles they were a review of my 30 plus years of thinking and working and actually I did work in the Muslim Parliament Dr. Andrabi, and I’m quite familiar with the events you were talking about which is where I have some differences and some agreement with you. Maybe we can do a whole other show on that actually because it’s a lot to talk about. I think, as Dr. Andarbi said, and even more so in terms of learning this, we have to protest what is happening. We protested in the biggest mobilization, honestly, I think, of any community at the time of Salman Rushdie. And right now… We have been, and we have always been actually in fairness for the last 15 years, Muslims leading communities. It’s not just been Muslims, but Muslims have been integral and probably the largest amount of people protesting about Palestine.  For me, it’s my personal view, but we can use our votes on Thursday to make another protest about Palestine. Now that means we cannot vote for any legacy party. You can’t vote for any Tories. You can’t vote for Labour, you can’t even really personally, I don’t think you can tactically vote for Lib Dems or Reform or anybody like that who’s not basically given an inch, let alone the miles and miles that we need on Palestine. Okay, now we have some in some places, independent candidates who are standing on the pro-Palestine ticket, in some places we have minority parties like the Workers’ Party standing on pro-Palestine tickets and while I have some big issues with some of those parties on their stances, particularly about immigration, they are calling out the genocide. Votes for these candidates can count as a protest and I think people would be watching. Now, if you’re in a constituency like mine, where I don’t really even with the kind of independent candidates, I’m not seeing the kind of benefit of voting for them as a protest. You know, you could argue that we could spoil our ballot papers. This is a well-known form of protest in this country. All those things will add up.


But personally, I don’t think that more than that can be the use of voting on Thursday. And I completely sympathise with people who say don’t vote. I completely sympathise with people who’ve said, Islamically, you know, whether they’re Sunnis or Shias, that it is haram to vote. I can see exactly that reasoning because as many Ulema have said, you cannot vote for or take part in the politics of a corrupt system and I don’t think any of us are in any doubt that this system is completely and totally corrupt. You know, it’s arguably beyond reform. We need something completely different and drastically so. How to get to that: we all have to work that out collectively in this country. There’s no quick and easy solution.


So what I would say to people is that by all means express a protest on Thursday. But please, even if let’s say, you know, there are some constituencies where there are independent candidates, Mashallah, like Leanne Mohammed, who quite possibly could win in Ilford North. And she is Palestinian and she is pro-Palestinian. And she’s also a very, very good advocate regarding the NHS, which is why I think she has a very good chance of winning. Please don’t think that even if we get those people in power on Friday that anything’s going to change. Right? And you talked about Muslim MPs. The thing that has happened, not just with Muslim MPs, but all MPs actually, because, you know, let’s be honest, even once upon a time, I’m sure Tony Blair, (as appalling and evil as many of the things he’s done now, are, and the kind of direction he’s still taking outside of government), he might have been an idealistic guy who wanted to do good, right? But he entered this system and this is how he came out of the system. In fact, he’s just a different cog in the wheel of the establishment now. And this is how, if you like, the system works. It takes well-meaning people in and it turns them into part of its machinery. There isn’t really a way around it. I can’t see how anyone has managed to negotiate that. Even people like Jeremy Corbyn found themselves having to.  I would never say they [people like Corbyn] are corrupt, but their politics was infected with that kind of corruption when they became close to power. And they became immobilized, they made lots of compromises with exactly those factions that we are trying to really expose as corrupt, particularly Zionist politics, but also as the way capital has worked.  I’m not saying this is some kind of Marxist analysis, it’s just a fact that money is the root of all evil in our system, really and truly, as well as other issues which we can’t unpack now. Jeremy was not able to overcome that, right? Because instead of going for building a movement, which is what we need if we’re going to get real change, he went in 2017, after coming so close, the chance of getting into power. We have to drop that as a model. It doesn’t matter if we’re Muslim or we’re not Muslim. It just doesn’t work. So that’s my summary of my points…


… What I would say is that yes, Kalim Siddiqi r.a. was an incredible thinker, but there have been many people since. I think what died with him and actually had died before was the project of the Muslim Parliament. It never got off the ground. It lacked legitimacy because it established itself on the wave of those protests. It didn’t lead those protests and it didn’t reach out to the rest of the community. So the rest of the community is not just going to follow if you just take for granted that they’re going to give you their support. And I think we see that with the Muslim vote now, which is a much reduced project compared to the aspirations of the Muslim Parliament. We see that with any organisation that’s trying to be representative of Muslims now.  I think we have to look at the thinkers, for example, you know, Imam al-Asi, who was very close to Kaleem Siddiqui and whose work we can read over and over again since that time, is quite inspirational. And there are many people who have taken Dr. Kaleem’s work and tried to kind of make it a reality in different national contexts.


We’ve had other examples, for example, from South Africa of Imam Ahmad Cassiem, may Allah be pleased with him, who passed away last year, who was a leader of the anti-apartheid movement. You know, he led the armed resistance of Qibla, which was part of the armed resistance against apartheid. There are many things we can learn from different examples in different countries and after… the end of apartheid in South Africa, he was very involved in politics, not… being part of the system, but actually trying to create a politics of Islam that mobilizes outside and is not about Muslims and rights for Muslims, albeit that Muslims need their own special rights in any system, but for everybody.  When he was asked and he was challenged over and over again, “ What is the Islamic movement of South Africa? You want Sharia, you want this, you want that.”  He said the main aim of the Islamic movement of South Africa is that everybody has one square meal a day because that is the issue of justice in South Africa. People are starving, people don’t have food to eat. What was the use of ending apartheid when people are not eating? It wasn’t just about saying on paper we’re not segregating you anymore. It was something much more than that.


I think this kind of way of looking and mobilizing and creating a power or a different politics that is not relying on the ballot box is what we need to ask ourselves in the United Kingdom or everywhere else, not just what we can do internally, but how do we join the dots with all the other struggles, especially Palestine.

For further material on the UK elections from Arzu see:

Revolutionary Politics in the Time of Genocide: Beyond the Fantasy of a Muslim Vote

Democratic Dictatorship: the UK as Prime Exemplar