The uproar from the Biscuit speech was instantaneous. How on earth could the Hizb-ut-Tizer survive if our very separatist notion was under question? Sure, we all liked shortbread, who didn’t? But making covenants with confectionary, this was a change from what we knew.
It was clear the Hizb was splitting into two camps, the Verbose and the Angry. The Verbose used large words and philosophical concepts to discuss the finer points of intellectual discussion to bring about radical social change.
The Angry Ones used pamphlets and banners to browbeat people who did not agree with them. Some Angry Ones were also Verbose, which led to banners such as “The Hegemony of the Western Powers is Leading to Injustices in the Muslim World as part of an Ongoing Imperialist Plan To Control Muslim Oil Which Can Only Be Resisted By Having The Masses Mobilised In Muslims Lands Whilst in Non-Muslims Lands the Non-Muslims are persuaded to Convert to Islam Using Efficient Distribution Of Pamphlets After Friday Prayers and Precise Discussions With Intellectual Elite and Boycotting of Select Department Stores”
I did not fall into either camp. I was upset. How would my activist life go on now? This doubt coincided with another dramatic change. In the Hizb, we had concentrated on a politicised version of Islam. I was missing a gap in my spiritual growth. It was developing Taqwa (Mindfulness of God) and Imaan (Faith) that helped me leave the Hizb.
Taqwa and Imaan were the local imam’s daughters. They were bright, young, interested in the Hizb, and most important for me, not yet married. I knew if I could develop these two sisters, it would be a personal and organisational triumph. However, they kept asking awkward questions like ‘what’s wrong with voting?’ and ‘Surely corruption and dictatorships occur elsewhere throughout the world and not just in Muslim Countries?’ My explanation for the latter point that the Muslim oil-wealth-and-arms-deals brand of corruption and dictatorship made us singularly different from other types of dictators was not easily accepted.
I started to doubt myself, and then, Taqwa and Imaan introduced me to Harry Potter. Here was a world where a group of people, with a special status, had to hide themselves from ordinary people, where good versus evil was clear, where corruption had infiltrated politics and where simple children used values like loyalty and friendship to win battles. I knew this would be the key to mobilising the masses.
I went to the Hizb hierarchy and explained my proposal. We would do an Islamicist version, Hariri Puttar, who is the Chosen One, who would unite all the Muslims and be Caliph. They were not interested. If it couldn’t be printed on an A5 monochrome pamphlet, it was “not a viable project”. I began to detest those Project Managers that had now been promoted to the board.
My doubts increased as I realised in the four years I had been with the Hizb, nothing much had changed in my life except I had become a master at spin and debate, and even in that I wasn’t always successful. I needed a change.