We may not particularly like that comment. Especially when we are faced with recurring themes of Islamophobia. But we have rampant issues relating to drug and alcohol abuse. 

One only has to walk through areas where we have built these majestic mosques and turn the corner and find young men, many in their teens opening dealing drugs on street corners.

Yet, we have allowed this to happen because of our insistence that religion will in some way solve these societal ills. We are making the same mistakes as our parents and those before them.

'Religion will solve our societal ills' - will it?

There was a belief that we could wash away these issues by sending the offender to south Asia. It was hoped he would forget these habits. Back then we felt our culture would in some way save us from this ‘horrid’ place we were now calling our home.

Now, we have decided that religion will help those afflicted by abuse.
It is the same mistakes many immigrant Christian communities made as they ventured to new lands. 

I’m sorry to say it is not working. That is not to say it can’t work. But we have in many ways failed our young people because we insist that it will work for every single one of us.

We insist that by following our din we will soon help tackle the problems that plague our neighbourhoods. The brutal truth we don’t want to face is that we have no desire to tackle these ills and problems because it is not ‘our problem.’

At the run of the century, social problems like these were something that we as the Muslim community looked to tackle. Then 9/11 happened and then 7/7 four years later the focus changed.

Our attention switched to tackling the anti-Muslim rhetoric we were all faced with and we as a community lost sight of the issues we are faced with.

Islamophobia, I’m afraid has become one of the ‘cool’ issues to highlight because in the present political and social environment we insist on pointing out inconsistencies by non-Muslim organisations and politicians.

It also helps us to identify the clear hypocrisy of the government and its foreign policy strategic aims.  All very well, but where has this left the problems in our own neighbourhoods?

Speak out for Islamophobia or Palestine and the masses will be happy

Of course we have issues relating to Islamophobia but we have groups and individuals living in 'social media bubbles'. The same goes for our political representatives. If they aren't taking about Islam or Palestine we quickly switch off.

And the politicians being politicians have realised they get more leverage from speaking to the converted than they do about raising real issues facing their communities.

The reality on the street is so different.

At the same time it has become second nature for most people to point out when a Muslim does something ‘wonderful’ - we want the world to know because it helps us feel better about ourselves.

We also feel so insecure about our new religion that every time it is criticised, we want people to know how much we love it and we will defend it at every single turn.

Even when the point may well be valid. There is a belief that by defending our religion, even when it is plainly obvious something isn’t right, we will get some reward in the hereafter.

Now, in 2018 the focus for most Muslim community groups is either highlighting Islamophobia or bickering over our minor religious differences.

We bicker over the Prophet’s birthday. We dispute Eid. We argue over what constitutes halal. We debate how a woman dresses and whether she is permitted to go on social media or not.

In the midst of all this we have lost focus on why our community is rapidly self-imploding with societal ills.

I shudder at times at how million-pound mosques built with donations want us marvel at their splendor whilst around the corner we have young men getting involved in petty crime.

We raised millions to build mosques and then we had thousands to donate towards the upkeep of these prayer halls but around those very buildings the community falls apart.

We want to turn a blind eye to the problems of our neighbours because that is the British thing to do. We don’t want to involve ourselves in someone else’s problem but as soon as Islam is involved we can’t wait to judge the next person.

The focus for mosques, Imams and religious institutions now must be to look at why we have such levels of crimes in amongst such gleaming huge buildings, why our men are aspiring to live lives of petty criminals where cash and fast cars come easy.

We may well have equipped ourselves to highlight injustices against Muslims across the world, anti-Muslim rhetoric and build magnificent buildings our ancestors will be proud of. But what is it worth if our own neighbourhoods are falling apart?