Relations with Non-Muslims
Islam does not require separation from the non-Muslim world but some of the laws of Islam require separation of a degree. Prayer times must be observed and food must be halal. The laws of modesty, particularly in relation to women have caused some difficulties for Muslims living in the western world. Whilst the Qur’an does indicate what is suitably modest dress for both men and women, much practice is based on the local cultures of the countries in which Islam developed. This has caused some difficulties, in particular for women, who wish to observe a strict code of dress in the outside world with corresponding negative reactions in the media.
The teachings of shirk (association), that is, regarding anything as being equal or partner to Allah, has caused problems when some western media have sought to represent the Prophet in drawings or cartoon form. Many of these representations have been derogatory and offensive to Muslims. Muslims do not condemn freedom of speech but nevertheless this cannot extend to this sort of treatment of the Prophet of Allah.
Many Muslims live in very tight-knit families and communities and feel that Islam has not been well reported in much of the media, especially in the light of the destruction of the twin towers in New York in 2001 and the London bombings in 2005. Such extremist atrocities are condemned by Muslims in the UK as having nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam.
It is important to note that these aspects separation from the non-Muslims world are not associated in any way with any idea of Muslims being better than others, such an idea is anathema and contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an.