This is a guest post by James Brandon
The last week has seen a diverse range of groups come together to protest against this week’s G20 meeting in London. Among the most unlikely groups to have banded together are the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). These two groups will, together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop The War Coalition, hold a joint demonstration today outside the US embassy.
BMI is an Islamist group run by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood such as Anas al-Tikriti, Mohammed Sawalha and Soumaya Ghannouchi. Many of these individuals have achieved their limited prominence only through their family connections: Tikriti is the son of the former leader of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood. Ghannouchi is the daughter of the leader of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader is Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Anas Tikriti, the BMI’s head, has repeatedly defended Qaradawi, even championing him as a partner in interfaith relations. On one occasion, Tikriti even threatened to sue the Telegraph on Qaradawi’s behalf for allegedly mis-attributing pro-rape statements to the cleric.
CND, meanwhile, was founded in 1957 by left-wing luminaries such as Bertrand Russell and JB Priestley. CND’s website states that “CND campaigns non-violently to rid the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and to create genuine security for future generations. CND opposes all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction: their development, manufacture, testing, deployment and use or threatened use by any country.”
In view of its close alliance with the BMI, CND will therefore no doubt be interested to read that last week Qaradawi called on Muslim nations to acquire nuclear weapons. The Israeli organisation Memri reported Qaradawi as saying that:
“A few days ago, a Muslim asked me if we were allowed to possess WMDs – nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. I said to him: ‘Yes, we must possess such weapons, but not use them.’ We must possess such weapons in order to strike terror in our enemies – ‘Strike terror in the hearts of the enemies,’ and frighten them. If we had nuclear weapons, they would be afraid to attack us, as was the case between the Soviet Union and the Americans, and between India and Pakistan. This is armed peace.
“We must acquire [military] strength.’Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies.’ The ‘steeds of war’ of our times are tanks, armoured vehicles, and submarines. These are the steeds of our times. It is not enough to equip ourselves with horses in order to confront tanks. Horses can only be used for certain things.
“Each generation must prepare its own devices with which to strike terror in the enemies of Allah. We do not want to attack anybody, but to strike fear in our enemies, so that they will not attack us.”
(Those who are sceptical of Memri’s translations can read a report on Qaradawi’s statement by the Gulf News, Qatar’s state-owned newspaper, here. Those who understand Arabic can listen to Qardawi here.)
Several things might happen from here. Anas al-Tikriti and the BMI might repudiate Qaradawi’s call for Muslim nations to acquire nuclear weapons and reject his attempts to use the Quran to justify the manufacture of Weapons of Mass Destruction. If Tikriti fails to do so, CND could terminate its alliance with BMI and other pro-Brotherhood groups.
I suspect, however, that neither of these things will happen. Instead, I suspect that tomorrow CND will stand alongside a group whose spiritual guide believes in using nuclear weapons to strike “terror” into the hearts of others. If this happens CND will not be guilty of political naivety: it will also have betrayed its founding principles.