Why I still blog

Last week, Umar Lee posted his parting message to the Muslim blogging community, after his blog had been offline for some weeks. His reasoning was twofold: one is that all the best blogs (Sunni Sister, Izzy Mo, Tariq Nelson, Amir of Mujahideen Ryder etc) have been closed down or become inactive and the medium and community are no longer as vibrant as it was, and the other is that all the people who stand for action in the Muslim community are actually out doing things and practising Islam in mosques, while the internet has long been the domain of irreligious and anti-religious modernist types.

I posted my views on the issues he raised in a comment on that entry, but I do wish to make the point that the traditionalist blogs, including at least one of those he names which have shut down, always challenged the extreme modernists, notably the Muslim WakeUp site, covered the schisms in the “Progressive Muslims” movement which eventually burned itself out, and drew attention to the RAND report and its clear attempt to drive divisions in the community by supporting one section against another. The blogs he talks about may well exist, but I’ve managed to avoid them all the time I’ve been part of the Muslim blog scene.

As for why several of the older blogs closed down, I do believe that the Jordan issue contributed substantially. Once Umm Zaid was gone, those close to her felt less need to continue. Certain people knew of problems there which they chose to keep silent about; the way it came out in early 2009, with foully-worded comments on Umar’s blog and on Salafi Burnout (which the WordPress admins rightly closed down as it was full of unbridled libel against many individuals; my comment here), caused a lot of hurt and acrimony. Another issue may have been that the ending of the Bush era made the sense of solidarity it brought about seem less necessary, and thus some Muslims became less tolerant of each other. One formerly well-respected blogger became antagonistic to me and more recently to several others over what still seem like very petty issues.

Am I going to shut my blog down? Certainly not. Blogging is still relevant in a British context, given that we have Europe on our doorstep, large sections of which are becoming increasingly hostile to their own Muslim populations and where an anti-Muslim rabble-rouser stands a chance of becoming the prime minister of one of our closest neighbours, and there is pressure within this country to take a similar road. We have newspapers who run front-page attacks on Muslim women, usually for their dress; we have TV channels which send spies into mosques and then broadcast what they find; we have even had physical attacks on Muslims, including an attack which left an imam in London completely blind, and on Muslim properties and mosques; and we still have Muslims willing to be played off against others and to attack whole other groups of Muslims in the press by calling them terrorist sympathisers and the suchlike. American Muslim readers should remember that the first successful terrorist attack happened here nearly four years after 9/11, and we are still dealing with the consequences of it.

All this needs to be fought and the internet — individual and group blogs, forums, mailing lists and so on — is a good way of co-ordinating resistance as well as refuting the nonsense which appears regularly about us in the media. There are other issues this blog covers, such as the ongoing issue of mentally impaired people being harassed in the street and sometimes tortured to death by groups of their so-called friends, and the fact that some people think a serious disease which can paralyse and mute a 14-year-old girl and take someone out of circulation for twenty years or more is some kind of joke, not to mention the personal interests that this blog helps support. This is why I have no intention of stopping blogging any time soon.

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