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Below are the 20 newest pages + the 20 pages I most recommend.

See below for the 20 newest pages followed by the 20 pages I most recommend.

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Newest pages on this site

The latest 20, newest first, are listed below.

The toxification of politics threatens us all
Boris Johnson recently wrote a Telegraph column which denigrated Muslim women who wear a niqab or burqa. His skill with English makes it clear that he knew exactly what political effect his words would have. Populist politics in many countries around the world threatens liberal values and freedoms which we have come to take for granted. I wrote a Conservative Home column about the risks to the UK.
It is vital for British Muslims and Jews to cooperate
The Labour Party is struggling to deal with antisemitism, while the Conservative Party faces issues with Islamophobia. Historically, European antisemitism was driven by Christianity. Today Christians are generally much more friendly to both Jews and Muslims than are intolerant secularists. Muslims and Jews are stronger facing these challenges together.
Has English law recognised a “nikah only” marriage?
The recent matrimonial case of Akhter v Khan has received significant press coverage. It is potentially a landmark case. The Daily Mail story contended that the law had now recognised Shariah in matrimonial cases. I have read the full text of the judgement, and conclude that the press coverage is inaccurate. In my view the decision is harmful in public policy terms. I also expect it to be overturned if the case is appealed.
Why the Conservative Party is the right party for British Muslims
I spoke to about 30 Britons of Pakistani origin. Most of them were Labour Party supporters, with some being Labour Party members and local councillors. I explained why I am a Conservative, how the Conservative Party sees the country, and why British Muslims should support it. My 6-minute talk was recorded, and you can listen to it or read a transcript.
Integration advice for Britons of Pakistani origin
I spoke to about 30 Britons of Pakistani origin. Integration matters for society as a whole, but it also matters for each individual. We can choose how integrated we become, and take action accordingly. My 6-minute talk was recorded, and you can listen to it or read a transcript.
The UK tax treatment of Islamic finance "borrowing" costs
Islamic banks do not make loans, but provide finance in other ways. UK tax law gives the finance costs paid by Islamic banks' customers the same tax treatment as it gives interest expense. That is normally helpful, but not always. For example, it means that the rent paid in a diminishing musharaka transaction to finance "buy to let" property will receive only basic rate income tax relief.
Criticising Islam as disguised anti-Muslim hatred
People are free to criticise religions, but they should not denigrate their fellow human beings. Unfortunately, sometimes people motivated by anti-Muslim hatred cloak their language under a veneer of criticising Islam. It is hard to lay down general rules to distinguish between honest criticism of a religion and disguised hatred of its adherents. However, in specific instances the two are often quite easy to tell apart. I also discuss the distinctions between speech which is criminal, or socially unacceptable, or politically unacceptable.
Do Shariah compliant shares perform better?
Writers and speakers about Islamic finance often contend that not only is it more moral, it also produces better financial results. During the global financial crisis, they regularly pointed to the superior performance of Shariah share indices. However, the evidence shows that in general Shariah compliant share indices perform worse than their conventional counterparts. That is what logic would predict.
Why do politicians lie to voters?
Voters often complain that politicians lie. The accusation is valid, but blame rests not with the politicians but with the voters, whose behaviour shows that they want politicians to lie to them. I covered this in my 42nd "Thought for the Week" broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.
Why the Islam and Liberty Network matters
Ideas, good and bad, have power to change the world. The Islam and Liberty Network promotes the idea that Islam is compatible with religious freedom, economic freedom, and political freedom. Unfortunately, Muslim majority countries are currently often deficient in all three freedoms which is why the Network's work is vital. I now Chair the Network's Council, and give it £5,000 per year. This work can change the world, and needs your support.
Is Britain unwelcoming? Not in my view.
The magazine of the United Reformed Church posed this question of four people, including me. When asked such a question, the response should be "Compared to what?" Any answer is inevitably coloured by one's own life experiences. I have found Britain very welcoming, and my life here has been wonderful. I explain that in 400 words.
What does it mean to love your neighbour as you love yourself?
Jesus taught us to "Love your neighbour as yourself." In my 90-seconds "Thought for the Week" on BBC Radio Manchester I asked whether that is realistically possible. On this page I also look at identical teachings in Judaism and Islam.
Do Muslim religious texts cause religious persecution?
Extremist Muslims regularly cite certain texts in the Quran and in Hadith to justify their intolerance and persecution of non-Muslims. However these religious texts have always been present in the Quran and Hadith. Accordingly they existed when Muslims were far more tolerant of other religions than was Christian Europe. If the texts are not the reason for the intolerance, then what is? I addressed this question in my October 2017 presentation at Brigham Young University's annual religious freedom symposium.
Talk to Richmond Conservatives on appealing to Muslim voters
Muslims have historically voted mainly for the Labour Party. Some of the reasons are socioeconomic. However, even allowing for socioeconomic factors, Muslims are still far more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. I explain why, and outline what Conservative campaigners can do to rectify this.
UK taxation needs to accommodate Shariah compliant real estate refinancing
The UK is slowly amending its tax laws to facilitate Islamic finance. However the tax treatment of Shariah compliant real estate refinancing is a particular problem. Conventional refinancing of appreciated real estate involves no tax costs. Meanwhile, Shariah compliant refinancing causes the accrued capital gain to become taxable.
The duty of Parliamentarians regarding Brexit
In the 2016 EU Referendum, the majority voted to leave the EU. Accordingly, the Government is presently negotiating an EU departure agreement. The final agreement must be assessed by Parliament and I explain the legal position. Parliament is free to accept the agreement, or to require the Government to negotiate further, or to instruct the Government to remain within the EU.
Advice for professionals about achieving career success
I spoke to 30 Pakistani origin professionals and young people aspiring to become professionals. I shared 10 tips for career success based on my own experience. The 12-minute talk was recorded. You can listen to it or read a transcript.
The UK's first Islamic bank sukuk issue
Conventional banks securitise mortgages to free up their regulatory capital. Investors in conventional mortgage backed securities receive a pre-specified return provided that the mortgages do not default beyond a safety margin built into the terms of the securities. Al Rayan Bank similarly issued sukuk in order to free up its regulatory capital. The sukuk investors will receive a return equal to LIBOR + 0.8% provided the mortgages do not default beyond the safety margin. From an economic perspective, there is no difference between conventional mortgage backed securities and this sukuk.
UK black and minority ethnic MPs after the 2017 general election
After the 2015 general election, the Labour Party had 23 BME MPs while the Conservative Party had 17. The 2017 general election increased the Labour total significantly to 32 while the Conservative total increased slightly, to 19. The House of Commons is gradually changing to look like the country as a whole. However, the pattern I identified before remains. While the Conservative Party selects candidates on merit, irrespective of ethnicity, the Labour Party generally only selects BME candidates for safe seats when those seats have large number of BME voters.
When will all mankind look the same?
When humans emerged from Africa around 200,000 years ago, they were undifferentiated. Spreading into different environments led to different genes conferring survival advantages. That is why Icelanders look different from Australian aborigines. However technology eliminates virtually all of these genetic pressures. With growing travel and intermarriage, eventually all racial appearance differences will disappear. I estimate this will take less than 1,000 years.

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 guide to Quran translations into English
If you want to understand the Quran and are not an expert in Classical Arabic, you need a translation. Where do you start? I recommend some translations, as well as commenting on some other translations.
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.
Glossary of Islamic finance terms
There are many Islamic finance glossaries available on the internet. I have create another due to some specific objectives about spelling and to give more detailed explanations than the typical glossary. The glossary will grow slowly as I add words to it. If there is a word you would like me to include, please let me know.
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. You can read how to do it, or watch my 28 minute PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Lecture: Muslim Jewish relations in the UK
My 51 minute lecture with slides given at Finchley Progressive Synagogue. It covers both the common interests of British Jews and Muslims and the causes of tension and division. I explain in detail how the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester was designed to sidestep the problems, and why it has succeeded over the last 11 years.
Lecture: One Muslim’s Perspective on Religious Freedom
In April 2016 I gave the second Annual Religious Freedom Lecture of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society UK and Ireland Chapter. The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 18 sets the global standard for freedom of thought, conscience and religion and it has my full support. I used the lecture to explain how the Declaration is consistent with Islam. My approach was to first explain the basic sources of Islam before going on to show how some key principles of Islam, clearly stated in the Quran, support religious freedom. 40 min audio recording with self-advancing PowerPoint slides.
Marriage tips for Muslim women (and men)
Having a successful marriage requires taking it seriously, and making the right decisions, both before and after the wedding. While my wife and I have been happily married for many years, I have also observed many other people in unhappy marriages. Hence I have written 10 specific pieces of advice aimed at Muslim women. 8 of those are also relevant to Muslim men.
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.
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?

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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."

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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.

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