Letter - Islam & Monarchy
From Iqbal AKM Sacranie
Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
As we didn't make it into your jubilee debate (June 1), could we outline a Muslim view? The British monarchy is very much an integral part of our democracy and has provided stability and continuity. It has evolved over time and it should continue to evolve, taking into consideration all opinions.
Britain has changed profoundly over the reign of the Queen and one could say that perhaps the institution has not evolved as fast - though this seems to be more true of Her Majesty's government than the Queen herself. The discrimination that British Muslims face, especially religious - including incitement to religious hatred - fall within the purview of government. Few Muslims would feel oppressed by the monarchy. Indeed Prince Charles has shown great sensitivity and spoken publicly about the decline in the sense of the sacred in our society.
The element of religious and sexual discrimination in the Act of Settlement 1701 is far less of a real concern. To Muslims at least, the pre-eminence of the Church of England has not been problematic. Questions of succession, marriage and conversion need to be viewed in a holistic sense. It is the right of the individual, together with their family, to "arrange" their marriages. The house of Windsor has been arranging its marriages for centuries, not always perfectly, and there seems little need of justification to force-change it.
Although monarchy as such is not a favoured Islamic institution, Islam puts great value on social stability. Even jihad is not allowed if it is likely to lead to public disorder.