This is a guest post from Hasan Afzal, Director of StandforPeace.
This weekend, thousands of young Muslims will congregate in Wembley Arena to see a special kind of superstar.
They’ll be there to listen to the words of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, a Muslim scholar best known for his fatwa on terrorism who effectively argues that suicide bombing and terrorism should be thrown out from Islamic thinking and collectively fought.
In his fatwa, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri lays it on the line (bold text added):
“The importance Islam lays on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow indiscriminate killing even when Muslim armies are engaged in war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, infirm, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The public cannot be massacred. Likewise, places of worship, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed. On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate killing of people, children, and women everywhere, without any distinction of religion or identity. It is a pity that such barbaric people still refer to their activities as Jihad. There can be no bigger discrepancy than this to be seen on earth. It can in no way be permissible to keep foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation for the interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances of their countries. The one who does has no relation to Islam and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).”
This is what Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri has to say about Muslims integrating into British society:
“All these Western countries – Britain, Europe, North America, wherever you are living – since you are enjoying all rights, all freedoms according to the constitution as other non-Muslim communities are enjoying, there is no difference. And I would have no hesitation in saying you are enjoying the rights and freedoms much better than in many other Muslim and Arab countries.”
“… Some ask, what do you mean? Stop everything I am doing? Don’t eat? Don’t live? Don’t have fun? Don’t play games? Don’t enjoy? Don’t eat? Don’t sleep? Don’t get married? Don’t have children? Don’t buy a house, a car? Just worship?
The answer is yes. The answer is yes. If one was sincere, one would not ask such a question. One would say, yes, he is my Lord, what does he want me to do? I will do what he wants me to do, his bidding.“
It’s an open invitation for Muslims to ostracise themselves from British Society effectively calling for religious segregation, idyllic and literal worship of the Quran and rubbishing interfaith dialogue.
Yet, in the United Kingdom, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s voice is, sadly, a minority on campus. Apart from these events, the message given by numerous Islamic Societies on campus is quite different:
- FOSIS have quite a habit of inviting anti-semitic hate preachers. Take, for example, Riyad ul Haq whose call to Muslims is “do not befriend the kuffar [unbelievers]”. On Jews, he complains “they’ve monopolised everything: The Holocaust, God, money, interest …” and calls New York, ‘Jew York’.
- At a FOSIS conference earlier this year, speakers included Muhammad al-Kawthari, who has told his audience that a woman shouldn’t travel beyond 48 miles without her husband or a close relative, al-Kawthari prescribes death by stoning if you should have sex before marriage. He considers it ‘a great sin’ should a woman not consent to having sex with her husband as it may lead the husband ‘into the unlawful’.
- Not to be outdone, Hamza Tzortis also spoke. Tzortis told his audience that “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.
As the new academic year begins, we hope that FOSIS will change its way. Until then, we can only cling onto Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s words of wisdom – this type of dialogue is rare currency.