Fighting Back

In today’s Times, Taj Hargey of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford has launched a stinging attack on his opponents:

This week I not only won a libel case in the High Court but a victory against religious fanaticism within Britain’s Muslim community. Muslim Weekly, a conservative newspaper, had falsely accused me of belonging to a heterodox sect and therefore being a heretic. I was apparently less of a Muslim than the readers of that paper.

As the head of a progressive Muslim organisation in Britain that is dedicated to an enlightened, egalitarian and erudite Islam, I was victimised, like other forward-looking Muslims, by a campaign of classic McCarthyism. Just as Senator Joseph McCarthy ruined the lives of countless Americans during the 1950s when he and his committee smeared innocent people as communists, the Muslim hierarchy in Britain have used witchhunts to maintain their unquestioned theological power. Any Muslim freethinker is automatically branded as heretical or un-Islamic and excommunicated from the community – and debate is shut down.

I hope that my public vindication in the courts will embolden more progressives, dissenters and particularly thinking women to put their heads above the parapet and challenge the fundamentalist mullahs. Only then can we loosen the deadly grip of the self-appointed religious fraternity on what it is to be a Muslim in Britain.

Unfortunately, Islam in Britain has been taken over by the followers of a warped manifestation of the faith. The Muslim Council of Britain, the main Muslim newspapers and many of the big mosques are dominated by men who subscribe to a virulent and backward-looking brand of Islam that has been exported from the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

More here.