Reading between the Lines

In November 2009, YMD published an article by Jenny Tailors entitled, ‘What is the Tablighi Jamaat?’ and asked its readers to write responses in an essay competition. We are happy to announce that the following article by DR. NADHEER M. HABEEBULLA has been picked as the best entry received.



This is in response to Jenny Tailors article ‘What is the Tablighi Jamaat?’ which appeared in YMD’s November 2009 issue. A simple analysis of the format of the article is sufficient to understand what has been written between the lines. Keeping in mind, all the while, the title of the article and its intended readership.

The article is built on the format of – negative introduction, factual body and propagandist conclusion. Inevitably, rendering the article’s title inappropriate, if not misleading. Now, let’s examine how one part leads to the next and imagine the effect it creates on the subconscious mind of any casual reader.

The negative introduction – Ahmed Ali and ‘airline bomb plot’ (1st paragraph), Omar Bakhri and ‘extremist group Al Muhajiroun’ (2nd paragraph), a wrong review by ‘Times Crime and Security Editor’ (3rd paragraph) – have, primarily, hardly anything to do with the Tablighi Jamaat. Secondly however, it effectively lends its negativity onto the factual body that follows.

Granted that the main body of the article describes the Tablighi Jamaat correctly to a large extent. However, the unwarranted negative introduction reeking of terrorism creates an unhealthy connection between TJ and terrorism, indirectly and subconsciously. Although none exists tangibly. Would we start an article on ‘Secular Schools’ dedicating the first few paragraphs to murderers, rapists, thieves and con men that graduate from them every year?

And towards the end (surprise!) comes the propagandist conclusion. Christianity is pitted against Islam and Hinduism in Britain’s secular public space! Here, the author goes to the extent of referencing an ongoing project in Birmingham opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for ‘spiritually hungry young men’.

Having read the full article, the subconscious mind tends autosuggest: ‘The solution and alternative to terrorism-connected-Tablighi Jamaat is Christianity!’ – the message between the lines?

As a final word, as far as ‘engaging with real Muslims as friends, and real Islam as an accountable social entity,’ this is indeed a positive stance welcomed by true Muslims. After all, for the real Muslims, the God of Abraham (peace be on him) tells them to speak thus:

‘Say: “O People of the book! (Christians and Jews) Come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; That we erect not, from ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God.”…’

If on reading this you choose to disagree and turn back, then the verses continue for your sake:

‘…If then they turn back, say ye: “Bear witness that we are Muslims (bowing to God’s will).”

Ye People of the Book! Why dispute you about Abraham, when the Law and the Gospel were not revealed till after him? Have ye no understanding?

Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but he was true in Faith, and bowed his will to God’s, and he joined not gods with God.’ (The Qur’an – as Final Testament 3: 64-65, 67)

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