We made a strategic decision to not post anything the first two days after the release of Pharrell – Happy British Muslim Project. It was beneficial to monitor in retrospect the reactions, energies and ebbs and flows circulating through cyber space. If we had responded immediately it would have been an inevitably emotional reaction as opposed to constructive and coherent. In our detachment we have learnt so much.
Our intention is clear.
To rethink the rulebook. We want to reconsider how we go about religious expression. We have a continuously growing community that is more eclectic, creative and competent than ever before. Yet, the platform for them to nurture such skills and competencies are stunted in the current religious climate. We want to look at things differently and partake in initiatives outside the usual mosque, event hall and madrasa. We have many projects coming ahead and they’re about movement – we’re moving away from institutionalized understandings of Islam (be they implemented by Muslims or otherwise) back to our roots of being an accessible community. A relevant community. We want to try and inspire a previously disenfranchised Muslim generation, who feels lost in and amongst the numerous people teaching them the do’s and don’ts before teaching them about the heart.
We are anonymous. It is our raison d’être. It is why we have such a dedicated group of people around us. The anonymity is a symbol of integrity, and integrity doesn’t need a face. It’s not about how long your phonebook is, how big your wallet is or famous your name is. We want to empower the previously disempowered individual. To give him/her the platform to feel as though he/she can positively plug into their community. To be honest with you, as people, we’re disappointing, and you’d probably be let down. But as a message or an ideal, we have reached 500,000 people in two days. Why is it a success? Because there is no face behind it, no organisational hang-ups or bureaucracy. It has come from a pure and clear intention and resulted in the global community feeling as if they have a sort of collective ownership over it. The positive sentiments resonate globally and the world defends it as if they all feature in it. This is you putting all of us before yourself. Isn’t that beautiful?
We learnt something new and inspirational about our community these last two days. Even amongst the supportive Muslims from similar inclinations, ideologies and perspectives there has rarely been unequivocal unity in our community. But if this video has done anything, it is to galvanise a tremendous, unified and coherent community voice in its defence. Cross-cultural, inter-organisational, multi-ethnic; we have all become one. And what has been the unifying force? Happiness. We’ve come together in defence of our right to feel immense pride in a religious tradition that facilitates our happiness in this life and the hereafter. So when observing the comments, blogs and updates by people from all walks of life we can’t help but feel emotional in the best of ways. For making us feel that, we thank all of you.
We will do our best to continue with our main goal of making our community happy, bringing people together and spreading hope. But this is a ‘we’ movement, not a ‘me’ movement. The movement’s success is reliant on how many people are willing to give a little bit of themselves for the greater good.
We need you to join us in spreading the happiness. Share it, tweet it, write about it. Create your own happy video for your country or city and let us know about it. Hashtag #happymuslims so everyone who supports it feels the collective happiness and let’s ride this wave together. We’re not scared anymore; we’ve seen the light in all of you. It’s about time our generation made a change.
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