DAVID MUSA PIDCOCK 1942 - 2021
To God we belong and to Him we return.
A former Roman Catholic, David Musa Pidcock has passed away this morning (5 December 2021). A Sheffield man, he was born in 1942, and became a Muslim in 1975 when working as an engineer in Saudi Arabia. He was the founder and the leader of the Islamic Party of Britain, which was launched in September 1989 in the midst of the British Muslim mobilisations against Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses. The IBP was most active in the 1992 General Election when it unsuccessfully contested three seats. Its purpose was to provide an Islamic alternative at election time, and to engage the British public for proselytising purposes. It was dissolved in 2006.
David Musa Pidcock was also an honorary member of the Economic Research Council and a director of the Institute for Rational Economics. He co-founded the National Association for Victims of Fraud and Banking Malpractice. He contributed to a number of publications, for example his rebuttal "Satanic Verses: Ancient and Modern" and wrote regularly for the IPB's quarterly Common Sense. David is survived by his wife and two children.
May Allah have mercy on his soul.
DAVID ROSSER OWEN
To God we belong and to Him we return.
David (Daoud) Rosser-Owen (March 1943-5 December 2021), a significant figure in the postwar history of Islam in Britain, particularly with respect to the convert community, has passed away this afternoon "after a battle with cancer" his family has informed the Muslim community.
Born in Swansea, Daoud (David) grew up as a devout practising Presbyterian, but harboured doubts about Trinitarianism and developed an interest in Unitarianism. As a teenager he moved to Shrewsbury, and, after finishing school, joined the army and was sent to the Far East Land Forces in Singapore. While on tour in Brunei and Borneo, Daoud converted to Islam in November 1964 at the hands of the Qadi of Labuan, finding in it convincing answers to his previous doubts. He saw becoming Muslim as a fulfilment of his Christian upbringing. He had a distinguished military career in the British army rising to the rank of a regular army officer. He saw active service in Brunei as the end of the Azahari Rebellion and in Sabah, Singapore and in Peninsular Malaysia, during most of the Confrontation War. A talented linguist he spoke Malay-Indonesian, French and German, and took a BA Hons in Malay and Arabic from SOAS in 1970. Later on, he worked intensively on Welsh and Gaelic, and translated some short chapters of the Qur'an into these languages.
He was also an historian by training and did doctoral research under Dennis J. Duncanson at the University of Kent on American colonial rule in the Philippines, but he never subsequently pursued an academic career. Instead, he worked as a writer, journalist or editor for Arabica, Emel, Q-News and Armada International, and ran the Middle East Desk for a year at RUSI (1982). During the Bosnia-Croatia War (1992-5) he served as war correspondent and stringer for the New Straits Times. He also saw action in that war, where his military expertise was deployed in defence of the Bosnians. He also became a highly-qualified leather craftsman and ran a business for many years making bespoke saddles. In terms of the Islamic sciences, he studied diniyyah, fiqh, tajwid, and tasawwuf with Shaykh Ahmad Labib (Azhari) and Ustad Muhammad Dahlan Arshad (Azhari).
In terms of community activism, Daoud was a vital link between the pre-war and post-war converts, and knew many of the elderly Woking converts who had been active in the Muslim Society of Great Britain in the 1920s up to the 1960s like Lieutenant-Colonel F.B. Abdullah Baines-Hewitt, William Bashyr Pickard and Dawud Cowan, some of whom had known and met Quilliam, Headley and Pickthall. Daoud wanted to work directly from Quilliam's legacy. It is not widely known that in 1975, he claimed Quilliam's mantle of Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles on the principle of residuary sovereignty. To that end he established the Association of British Muslims in 1976, which he saw as a revival of selfsame association founded by Quilliam in the late 1880s and to his mind continued by Khalid Sheldrake under the Western Islamic Association in the 1920s. He and his daughter Isla worked in the 1990s and 2000s to raise awareness of this British Muslim heritage, advocating for the extension of London's Blue Plaque scheme to include many of capital's overlooked or forgotten Muslim notables. He served as the ABM's amir (leader) during its most active period in the 1970s and 1980s, alongside Abdul Rasjid Skinner. While studying his history undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Canterbury he played an active role in the FOSIS leadership, rising to become its president in 1971; Ziauddin Sardar served as his General Secretary. Both he and Sardar briefly joined the Muslim Institute under Kalim Siddiqui's leadership as research fellows in the mid-1970s. Daoud and his wife Bashiera were the first British spiritual disciples (murids) of Naqshabandi-Haqqani Sufi sheikh Sheikh Nazim (1922-2014), shortly after he first came to teach Islam in London in September 1974, and they were associated with this spiritual tradition for many years, during which time Daoud served as the Sheikh's deputy (khalifa) with regard to his British disciples.
May Allah fill his grave with light, give him an easy reckoning and raise him to al-Firdaus in the company of the righteous, Amin.
Dr. ROBERT DICKSON CRANE
An obituary for Faruq Abd al-Haq Robert Crane, may God have mercy on him, a true gentleman-scholar.
A LOSS FOR AMERICA AND ISLAM: IN MEMORY OF DR. ROBERT D. CRANE (1929-2021)
Yesterday the world lost a brilliant mind, a wise person with legendary insights on life and people, a determined and ambitious soul and someone who was inspired by the concept of compassionate justice. He was the former advisor to President Richard Nixon and advised him on foreign policy, Islam and the Muslim world. He was a Muslim and throughout his 92 years of a productive and adventitious life navigated many roles as a statesman, lawyer, scholar, diplomat, author, activist and futurist.
Robert Dickson Crane was born on the 26 of March 1929 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and passed away on the 12th of December 2021.
Aged 16, he entered Harvard University to study Russian. In 1948 he became the first American to gain admission at a university in Occupied Germany at the University of Munich where he studied the sociology of comparative religion.
Dr. Crane graduated with a B.A. from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois in 1956 majoring in political science, economic planning and Sino-Soviet Studies. He went on to obtain a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1959 with a focus on comparative legal systems and international investments. At Harvard, he founded and became the Editor in Chief of the Harvard International Law Journal and acted as the first president of the Harvard International Law Society. Dr. Crane was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1960.
In 1962, Dr. Crane became one of the four co-founders of the first Washington based foreign policy think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He was the principal foreign policy advisor from 1962 to 1967 for President Richard Nixon who in 1969 appointed him Deputy Director for Planning in the National Security Council. In 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
Since choosing Islam as his faith, from the early 1980s, Dr. Crane has contributed in significant ways in the global Muslim space. He was the Director of Dawa at the Islamic Center in Washington, Director of Publications at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the Founding President of the Muslim American Bar Association.
Reflecting on his journey to Islam, he fondly mentions how he witnessed the generosity and warmth of Muslims whilst on a trip to Bahrain in the late 1970s (tasked by the U.S. government to advise Bahrain’s Finance Minister). It was there that his wife convinced him to look around one of the old palaces in a nearby city and they lost their way. A Bahraini gentleman found them and invited them to his house and they entered into a discussion about good and bad and the role of God. The hospitality and the conversation left a deep impression on Dr. Crane.
A few years later whilst attending a conference in New Hampshire, Dr. Crane accompanied the Muslim delegation during a lunch break on Friday hoping to ask questions but to his disappointment he ended up in a room where the Muslim delegation gathered for Friday prayers. Being polite, he simply remained in the room and witnessed a Sudanese Muslim leader and scholar (who happened to be Dr. Hasan Turabi) in the position of prostration (sajda). The image of prostration spoke directly to his heart. On that very same afternoon in 1980 he also performed his first prostration. He once commented: “In fact, God has directed me to Islam at the age of 5 and then at 21. But I didn’t know until I met the Bahraini man. I only realised at the age of 50.”
One of Dr. Crane’s last research and academic post, at the age 84, was his appointment in 2013 as full professor at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies and Director of Centre for the Study of Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies.
Being the activist-scholar he was, Dr. Crane co-founded two very interesting ventures - a think tank called the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) and a political platform by the name of Unite America Party.
Dr. Crane is the author of several books including The Grand Strategy of Justice, The Role of Religion in America, Shaping the Future: Challenge and Response, Meta-law: An Islamic Policy Paradigm and The Natural Law of Compassionate Justice: An Islamic Perspective amongst others.
In addition to his published books, Dr. Crane has written over 400 articles on a wide range of topics including politics, religion, Maqasid al-Shariah and international relations — all with a focus on compassionate justice from an Islamic perspective. He co-authored a pioneering four volume textbook entitled ’Islam and Muslims: Essence and Practice’ with Professor Muhammad Ali Chaudry and was working on a two volume history of Islam in pre-Columbian America.
I have benefitted greatly from Dr. Crane’s wisdom, astute observations and deep insights. For over a decade, I have been softly encouraging Dr. Robert Crane to write his autobiography. Every time I had the opportunity to meet him, he would share stories of a legendary value and which I felt must be documented for future generations. He replied telling me that was possible but that he would need to move to a stable Muslim country, move his library of 2,000 volumes of books (which he was prepared to donate to a national Muslim library) and hire a research/editorial assistant to work with him in going through his several hundred articles. It is one of my regrets that I was unfortunately unable to make this happen.
For a glimpse into the brilliant mind of Dr. Robert Crane, I share here selections from his wise words:
“Justice is about change. There is a lot of injustice in the world. If all you want is stability then you maintain all the injustice in order to stabilise it.”
“Historians a millennium from now, if there are any, may see the early 21st Century as the most important moment in human history.”
“In forecasting and shaping the future, the most important variable in forecasting the long-range future of humanity is Ronald Reagan’s vision of a Third Way beyond oligarchical capitalism and totalitarian socialism. Ronald Reagan’s greatest personal concern was that failure to fundamentally reform the entire system of money, credit, and banking would inevitably result in its replacement by political totalitarianism.”
”The Islamic state is an oxymoron because the institutionalisation of human will as the highest source of truth is the exact opposite of Islam and of all world religions.”
”The most unchanging fact about any kind of forecasting or planning is that most people are unaware that they have unspoken premises, which is why the parties to a disputed issue speak past each other and never come to grips with their real differences. Sometime there is nothing more sensitive than the public revelation of one’s own ultimate reasons for advocating anything.”
“The mindset of ‘freedom and democracy’ requires substantive content in order to make possible someday a second Arab spring, as well as a Persian one, and even one in America and China.”
“Civilisation’s three paradigmatic options for constructive action on the era of artificial intelligence must derive from the triple process of ontology (taqwa), epistemology (maqasid al-shariah) and axiology (akhlaq as virtuous action).”
“The key to historiography from an Islamic perspective is to compare the de facto Islamic vision of the leaders with the extent of their practice based on virtue as emphasised by Prophet Esa and Prophet Muhammad, alayhim as-salam, specifically how they promoted progress from intolerance to diversity to peaceful engagement in compassionate justice through economic democracy as the key to a democratic republic.”
“May we bring together the best of all civilisations and religions to universalise their spiritual awareness and plurality of wisdom by interfaith co-operation in pursuing the vision of peace, prosperity, and freedom through the interfaith harmony and compassionate justice for everyone.”
Bob (as he was lovingly referred to as well as Faruq Abd al-Haq, his Arabic name) has now returned to the Divine. May God have mercy on his soul. We bear witness that he strove, even in his old age, to win the modern world for Islam. As he used to always remind us when signing off on his emails “Own or be owned.”
13 December 2021