In the United Kingdom, the “5Pillars” group and British Muslim news website on has attacked various UK-based non-theological groups by Muslims that have a human rights focus on peaceful co-existence and pluralism. The UK group “5Pillars” has attacked British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD), Quilliam Foundation, We Will Inspire, New Horizons in British Islam, Muslim Women’s Network (MWNUK).
Such UK groups, attacked by 5Pillars, have promoted religious freedom, which is part of our universal human rights, while rejecting radical extremism and violence and providing a counter-extremist voice of British Muslims. It is disappointing that 5Pillars has chosen to attack these non-theological groups that advocate civic engagement, peaceful co-existence, counter-extremism, social inclusion, and harmony, free speech, human rights, individual liberty, and the value of open, democratic and diverse societies. 5Pillars has attacked these non-theological human rights and social harmony groups led by British Muslims for seeking to try “change Islam.”
5Pillars released a YouTube video on November 16, 2017, and then posted this on their website on November 18, 2017, generally condemning such groups without any specifics or details, with a title “10 aspects of Islam ‘Muslim reformers’ want to change.” Among the non-specific attacks by 5Pillars in their video, 5Pillars states that the non-theological groups seek to “change” in Islam are a “physical jihad” and a geographical “caliphate.” The actual focus of these British Muslim human rights and social harmony groups are counter-extremism, rejecting violence, and promoting social inclusion and respect in societies.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) respects the efforts by human rights and social harmony groups in seeking to make progress in our shared universal human rights, pluralism, and respect for one another. Such human rights begins with a shared commitment to human dignity for all, including those with different views, while finding pluralistic ways of co-existence and peaceful harmony. We may not always agree with every human rights campaign or activist, which is also part of the individual liberty that we defend – the right to disagree. But the misguided and disappointing effort by 5Pillars to broadly attack those British Muslims seeking to promote pluralism and peaceful co-existence, as somehow unfaithful to Islam, is misguided, mean-spirited, and counter-productive. We urge 5Pillars to reconsider, and R.E.A.L. stands by these groups attacked by 5Pillars’ campaign. With the growing struggles against hate and violence in the world, such attacks on these British Muslim human rights and social harmony groups is particularly disruptive to our shared global society. Those Muslim groups promoting human rights, counter-extremism, and social harmony must be defended by responsible human rights activism.
R.E.A.L.’s mission is the support of universal human rights for ALL, including our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world. We call for the same universal human rights in the U.K., U.S., and around the world that we call for every other human being. As with all of our fellow human beings, Muslims’ human rights matter.
R.E.A.L. has long stood with Muslim groups in the U.S., U.K., and other parts of the world that seek to promote our universal human rights, counter-extremism, pluralism, and peaceful co-existence. We urge all to Choose Love, Not Hate. Love Wins.