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Fresh thinking from a
Muslim Briton
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Newest pages on this site

The latest 20, newest first, are listed below.

Clarion Project interview on Muslim groups fighting extremism
I was approached by the Clarion Project for an email interview on "What Should Muslim Groups Do to Fight Extremism." The Clarion Project has published my interview responses verbatim. In them I explain how a desire to please too many constituencies and poor analysis make some Muslim organisations less effective at countering extremism. I was also asked what I liked about being a Muslim and what makes me proud of my faith.
Review of "The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment" by Guy Spier
I bought this book primarily because I knew Guy Spier. It reveals that we have a surprising number of interests in common. The book is short, easy to read, informative and the author is very open about himself. I believe that it should make every reader a better investor.
Simply condemning terrorism by Muslims is not enough
Whenever Muslims commit terrorism, Muslim organisations issue statements condemning it. However in most cases, the statements deny any religious motivation, even when the terrorists state their motivation explicitly. Also the statements rarely contain any positive recommendations for action by Muslims. I regard such an approach as wholly inadequate.
Panel discussion: Is Islam the Cause or Solution to Extremism?
Full 1 hour 48 min video of six person panel discussion before a mainly Muslim audience organised by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA). The speakers came with a range of views, revealed by their comments. My comments are also transcribed on the page. I consider that how one understands Islam can be the cause of extremism or the solution to it.
Why I would not renew Trident
The UK's Trident independent nuclear deterrent is ageing and needs to be replaced or scrapped. The main argument put forward for replacement is that the UK cannot rely upon the US "nuclear umbrella". However this argument applies with even greater force to many other US allies. If they all sought nuclear weapons, paradoxically the world would become more dangerous, not less. Therefore I would not renew Trident, preferring to spend the money on conventional weapons.
The language of international Islamic finance is English
International Islamic finance is normally conducted in English. However precision and brevity often require the use of vocabulary derived from Arabic. Such imported words become part of the English language and are no longer foreign words. Accordingly they should not have transliteration signs or use Arabic grammatical formulations.
Political activity builds social capital
Social capital is built when people join organisations and take part in group activities. A particularly important such activity is joining a political party and voting to elect our government.
A review of the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill [HL] 2015-16
There are serious problems affecting Muslim women who are sometimes denied religious divorces, and also women who enter into a religious marriage with no civil marriage. For several years Baroness Cox has been promoting a Bill apparently intended to address those problems. I review the Bill clause by clause and conclude that the Bill will do little to help with the problems but risks damaging community cohesion.
Short interview about the European Union
In May 2015 with a group of friends I visited the European Parliament building for the first time, hosted by Afzal Khan CBE MEP. He used the Parliament's facilities to record an eight minute video during which he asked four of us to share our thoughts on the European Union. I spoke three times in the video, very briefly, but was still able to state the key reasons why I strongly support the UK's membership of the EU.
ISIS, ISIL or Daesh? What’s in a name?
The terrorist group controlling large parts of Syria and Iraq calls itself "Islamic State." However it is neither Islamic nor a State. There are various acronyms governments use to refer to the group and of these I conclude that ISIL is the most appropriate in English. I also recommend not using the name ISIL's leader has adopted.
Becoming an Islamic finance columnist
Although I have been writing technical articles for 18 years, I have just become a columnist for the first time with a monthly column in the magazine "Islamic Finance News." I devoted my first column to explaining how I got involved with Islamic finance, and why I am passionate about it.
Is the world getting worse or better?
Many commentators contend that global poverty is increasing. However such contentions are simply incorrect. On average people around the world are far better off than they have ever been. The danger of seeing the world incorrectly is that you will prescribe the wrong policies and in turn they will make people worse off.
A comparison of British Muslims' and Jews' engagement in interfaith dialogue
My experience has been that British Jews are far more interested in talking with Muslims than Muslims are with Jews. A close look at the two groups explains why there is such a difference. Gratifyingly the difference is eroding as British Muslims are changing with the passage of time. This trend towards greater Muslim interfaith engagement is likely to continue.
What is a responsible tax policy?
Tax avoidance gets much media coverage, and is often confused with tax evasion. I explain the difference between them. I have contributed to the discussions at the project "Responsible Tax for the Common Good" and as part of that, I have written down an illustrative corporate tax policy which encapsulates my views.
Success tip: Use telephones effectively
Almost everyone uses telephones, but few people receive guidance on how to use them. Accordingly many people make basic mistakes when initiating calls, receiving calls and using voicemail. However developing good telephone habits will make you more effective. You will also benefit from learning to use the more advanced features of modern telephone technology.
Review of "Islam and the Future of Tolerance — A Dialogue" by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz
Sam Harris is a well-known atheist commentator while Maajid Nawaz is a former Muslim extremist who now chairs the counter-extremism think tank Quilliam. This book contains an extended dialogue between them on whether Islam is compatible with tolerance. It is short, very easy to read, and gives real insight into the issues.
TV discussion: David Cameron's Birmingham speech and non-violent extremism
Many Muslims deny the existence of non-violent extremism. The Ummah Channel's "Face the Facts" programme discussed it for 49 minutes. My fellow panellist and the presenter both appear to believe that non-violent extremism does not exist while I robustly supported David Cameron's position as set out in his 20 July speech. The programme can be watched on the linked page.
David Cameron's Birmingham speech on extremism
Prime Minister David Cameron has consistently expressed concern about non-violent extremism as well as violent extremism. His most recent speech on this was given in Birmingham on 20 July 2015. While many Muslims have criticised his speech, in my opinion the Prime Minister is right. Non-violent extremism ruins the lives of those who fall into it, even if they do not progress to violent extremism.
Ten short professional success tips
A long career teaches you what professional success requires. I was asked to speak to an audience of consisting mainly of Muslim doctors from Pakistan and India about the subject. I gave them 10 tips in 10 minutes. The prescriptive style helped to keep the talk short.
Success tip: The paradox behind a happy marriage
Your choice of marriage partner should be made for entirely selfish reasons. However once you are married, you will only be happy if you behave very unselfishly. That paradox underlies having a happy marriage.

Top 20 pages

The pages I most recommend listed in alphabetical order.

A brief introduction to Islam for non-Muslims
For many years non-Muslims have asked my wife and me for a simple and short introduction to Islam. Unable to find anything quite suitable, I decided to write it myself.
A personal view of the Israel / Palestine conflict
This conflict has endured for over 60 years. It matters because of the status of Jerusalem and because many see the conflict as a religious one. Achieving peace requires difficult concessions from both parties but a two state agreement is the only realistically acceptable solution. It is essential for Israel to avoid policies that would make a two state solution impossible.
Blasphemy should never be a crime
Blasphemy features prominently in the news from time to time. Many believe that blasphemy should be a criminal offence everywhere, as it already is in some countries. In the UK the blasphemy law only ever applied to Christianity, and has been abolished. I believe it should remain abolished. In my view Islam does not prescribe any penalty in this world for blasphemy.
Compendium of Muslim condemnations of terrorism
Like many other Muslims, I am fed up with hearing the refrain "Why do Muslims not speak up and condemn the terrible things that are done in the name of Islam?" The reality is that Muslims have condemned terrorism time and again. However quite often the media gives very little coverage to the condemnations. They may get a slight mention, and then they are forgotten. Accordingly I have created this page and will add to it from time to time condemnations that I regard as particularly significant.
David Cameron's Birmingham speech on extremism
Prime Minister David Cameron has consistently expressed concern about non-violent extremism as well as violent extremism. His most recent speech on this was given in Birmingham on 20 July 2015. While many Muslims have criticised his speech, in my opinion the Prime Minister is right. Non-violent extremism ruins the lives of those who fall into it, even if they do not progress to violent extremism.
How to control your weight
Being overweight has health risks and also makes career success harder. After receiving unwelcome news in my annual medical, over the year to July 2014 I reduced my weight simply by counting calories. It was much easier than I expected.
Islamophobia – a trap for unwary Muslims
Many Muslims use the word "Islamophobia" as if it meant "hatred of Muslims." However it does not; the word Islamophobia has a distinct established meaning. Accordingly, when Muslims complain about Islamophobia when they intend to complain about anti-Muslim hatred, they are making a mistake. Complaining about Islamophobia makes it easy for people who really do hate Muslims to claim the moral high ground of defending freedom of speech. Instead, Muslims need to be focused and complain about what matters, which is anti-Muslim violence and anti-Muslim hatred.
Muslims misguided enough to abandon Islam are free to do so
Apostasy is a controversial subject, and this item generated more comments than any other blog I have written.
My Clare College "Alumnus of the Year" speech
In this 22 minute acceptance speech I explained why I regard my life as so blessed, and why I do what I do in retirement. I also gave the students five pieces of advice, and encouraged them to give to the College.
Playing Russian roulette with my baby's health
Marrying your first cousin increases the risk of your children having a serious genetic disorder. As well as discussing the risks, I link a number of scientific papers, so that readers are not left in any doubt regarding the facts.
Reading the Quran
If you want to understand the Quran and don't speak Arabic, you need a translation, but where do you start?
Report on the cross-border taxation of Islamic finance in the MENA region
I am the principal author of this report published by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority and the International Tax and Investment Center. It looks at the taxation of four common Islamic finance structures: commodity murabaha, sukuk, salaam and istisna in eight MENA region countries: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and also in the Qatar Financial Centre. The report recommends how these countries should adapt their tax systems to facilitate Islamic finance.
Review of "The Mystery of Capital" by Hernando de Soto
Why does capitalism work in the West, but fail in so many other countries? In the 1990s Hernando de Soto and his colleagues went fact-finding. They went into the streets of developing and former communist nations to learn what real people are achieving inside and outside the formal economy. They found that even poor people in such countries have assets and savings which could be used for successful capitalism, but nevertheless these countries are underdeveloped. In this book they summarise their findings and explain the key changes underdeveloped countries need to make to transform their economies.
The benefits and costs of joining a political party
Few British citizens are members of a political party. I explain how much influence joining a party gives you, even if you don't have time to get actively involved.
The Euro – Conception, Complications & Prognosis
An explanation of my view that the euro was created to increase the cross-border integration of european business and an analysis of what has gone wrong and what needs to be done. I forecast that all current members, even Greece, will remain within the eurozone.
The importance of speaking proper English
You are more likely to succeed in life if your spoken English is outstandingly good. I give some simple advice on how you can improve it.
Think about your CV
Most people see only their own CV. I have seen many, most of them written in ways that would get them rejected by a recruiter. I have illustrated the failings with a real life "before" and "after" example.
Triangulating the Abrahamic faiths
How do you measure the relative closeness of Judaism, Christianity and Islam?
Why it is vital to learn history
An individual's memories give him his identity. Similarly a nation is held together by its collective memories of the past. That makes history a vital subject to study at school, and afterwards. If a people forget their history, or never learn it, they stop being one nation and become just a random collection of individuals who happen to live in the same country.
Write to the media and politicians
In Britain, we have the right to free speech, and should make our voice heard. I have explained why we should write letters and website comments, and set out how to maximise your effectiveness.

There is a lot more on the site; use the menu above or the one page view.

What you do matters

We cannot change others except by persuasion. However, each of us can change ourselves, lead by example and take personal action. That changes the world.

Read "What you can do."

The logo

My logo is the Mandelbrot set.

Curriculum for Cohesion

Curriculum for Cohesion is an inter-disciplinary research project that is developing a method for understanding the nature of religion in a multi-faith world, with a focus on Islam, to inform the practice of teachers, lecturers, prison officers and the judiciary.

I am a patron. It is probably the most important charitable activity of my life.



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Each of us changes the world every day. We can choose to make it a better place.

(c) Mohammed Amin.

Everything on this site, other than comments made using the comments facility, is written by me in a personal capacity and should not be attributed to any organisation with which I may be associated. None of it constitutes professional advice, and no legal responsibility is accepted to anyone who acts, or refrains from acting, as a result of reading or watching anything posted on this site.

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