This is a guest post by Alexander Hitchens
On Monday, Asghar Bukhari’s MPACuk ran an article entitled Gaza’s Murderers have Iman, Muslims Don’t. In this piece the author urges Muslims ‘stop being “Muslim” in name…and prove you’re a Muslim by partaking in Jihad’. The reader is told that by only protesting and giving money to Palestinian charities, Muslims are simply not doing enough to help their brothers and sisters in the disputed region and in turn are not fulfilling their Islamic duty. No, they must stop deluding themselves that through prayer and observance of the five pillars of Islam they are properly observing their religion.
Instead it seems that MPAC, with their world renowned theological expertise, assert that the first pillar of Islam, Shahada, is not being properly observed by Muslims unless they fight the Israelis. It must be pointed out that the article does not specify what type of Jihad the author is calling for, rather it has been deliberately left open to be interpreted as either violent or non violent. Although any misunderstanding could easily be avoided by the simple addition of an adjective, the ambiguity is clearly deliberate.
Things become slightly less ambiguous when one takes a look at MPAC’s track record of anti-semitism and justifications for violence. They are singled out in the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism for “publishing material on its website promoting the idea of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy, including the reproduction of articles originally published on neo-Nazi and Holocaust Denial websites.” The report also recounts how MPAC launched a campaign to unseat Lorna Fitzsimons, the Labour MP for Rochdale, during the 2005 general election, claiming that because she was Jewish (which she is not), she had no interest in helping the Palestinians. More recently, a Centre for Social Cohesion press release revealed that Asghar Bukhari has been informing Facebook users why terrorism is justifiable in an Islamic context. His comments included:
“Muslims who fight against the occupation of their lands are ‘Mujahadeen’ and are blessed by Allah. And any Muslim who fights against Israel and dies is a martyr and will be granted paradise.”
“The concept of Jihad is a beautiful thing, and logical to those with a sincere heart. It tells the human being to stand up and fight against those who bring evil and oppression on this earth, and by standing up – roll back that oppression until the people are free from it.”
There are a couple of things that are very wrong with Monday’s MPAC article.
First, unless MPAC has secretly hired some real Islamic theologians (I can assure you Asghar Bukhari certainly is not one of these), they cannot be depended upon to provide their readers with accurate interpretations of how to properly observe the five pillars.
Second, and perhaps more important, although most of the readers of this blog would I hope agree that Jihad is not the best answer to the ills of the Muslim world, younger and more impressionable British Muslims may well see MPAC as a very useful portal for finding out about their religion and can be influenced by the hate filled and inflammatory rhetoric coming from this organisation.
This is not helped by that fact that the mainstream media still depicts its founding member, Bukhari, as a voice of moderate British Islam. Surely the time has come for BBC, Sky and other media outlets to take a leaf out of the NUS no platform policy and ban anyone associated with MPAC from appearing on their programs.