Azad Ali – Oh No He Didn’t, Oh Yes He Did!

The Islamic Forum Europe – a front for the clerical fascist party, Jamaat-e-Islami  – has been engaged in an embarrasing battle with the Mail on Sunday in defence on one of their activists, Azad Ali.

Azad Ali, you will remember, was suspended by Gus O’Donnell, Head of the Civil Service and patron of Azad Ali’s Civil Service Islamic Society. The cause of Azad’s difficulties was a series of very extreme posts on the IFE website, in which he voiced support for terrorist groups, and praised leading jihadist thinkers who – he claimed – promoted a “balanced” view of Jihad.

The IFE has been pursuing the newspapers who have reported on this story, threatening them with legal action, and publishing the editor’s reply to one letter, despite it being marked “Private and Confidential”.

There will, of course, be no legal action. Azad Ali’s articles demonstrate a very clear endorsement of jihadist political theory, and are remarkably extreme. He can’t risk further exposure. Nor can the IFE withstand the close scrutiny of its own clerical fascist politics that would accompany any court case. A court case would be a disaster for all of them.

Although the MoS made a number of points about the unpleasant and extreme nature of Azad Ali’s published views, the defence has centred upon a single issue. In one of the pieces in question, Azad Ali quotes the views of the jihadist Abdullah Azzam and his son.

Huthaifa Azzam said, “If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation. If I found the same soldier over the border in Jordan I wouldn’t touch him. In Iraq he is a fighter and an occupier, here he is not. This is my religion and I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.”

He is also quoted as saying, “That is the last thing my father would have wanted but he knew the dangers of it. He always warned people to stay away from the extremists, he even put it in his will. What is happening today with Al-Qaeda is not his way.”

Abdullah Azzam (r) is attributed with the saying, “Muslims cannot be defeated by others. We Muslims are not defeated by our enemies, but instead, we are defeated by our own selves.”

Azad Ali then states:

I sense there is much truth in this from my discussions with many Muslims at the grassroots over the last few years. I have noticed that Jihad, and what Muslims have to say about it, is becoming an issue in itself, and this is true of many other – once unshakable and clear – foundations or pillars of our religion. Much of these are now becoming confused, and redefined in extremes of the left or the right. I won’t bother with what non-Muslims say or think, as it is of little or no value for us in our own understanding of our religion.

There are some Muslims who go out of their way to deny the full meaning and understanding of the term Jihad. They would look for ways to diminish its meaning to that of just self-purification – Jihad al-Nafs. Then you have the opposite, those who go out of their way to describe it as just Qital or warfare and exclude self-purification, and all the other meanings it encompasses.

There are a few Muslims who promote the understanding of the term Jihad in its comprehensive glory, one that reflects history as well as the practice of Muslims going back to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.

There is one sentence in the long Mail expose which reads as follows:

He said there was ‘much truth’ in an interview with an Islamic militant who said: ‘If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation.

It is very clear that Azad Ali is supporting the concept of jihad – “in all its comprehensive glory – expounded by Azam Sr and Jr. The argument is that jihad should take place on the ‘battlefield’. British soldiers in Iraq, thinks Azzam Jr are on such a battlefield and so should be killed. The article is a clear endorsement of this view.

Not so, says Azad Ali’s friend and colleague, Muhammad Amin:

Azad Ali did not say there was ‘much truth’ in the interview with Huthaifa Azzam. Immediately following that quote was a reported statement by Abdullah Azzam; it was to this statement that Azad Ali said there was ‘much truth’ (”Muslims cannot be defeated by others…we are defeated by our own selves”).

This is rubbish. The entire article is about the importance of Muslims avoiding self-defeat by embracing “right kind of jihad’: a proposition that Azad Ali illustrates with the quotation about killing British soldiers.

Well, we’ve heard from Amin. What do you think the chances are of Azad Ali condemning the killing of British troops in Iraq or on other “battlefields”?

As a footnote, both the IFE website and the ludicrous Islamophobia-Watch claim that the Mail on Sunday have removed the article in question from their website.

Wrong. It is still there.

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