More on the Luton Islamic Centre

There’s a whole range of people campaigning against phenomena and groups associated with Islam/Muslims.  Some of these are either wholly Muslim or have Muslim supporters – Quilliam is one example, and One Law for All  another. But other campaigners are anti-Islam, even anti-Muslim.  Some want to stop all immigration from Muslim countries.  This position might be identified as far-right or extreme, but it’s not so extreme as the position taken by former Swedish Democrat, Par Norling, who would like Islam banned, and those who persist deported.

But however nasty and bigoted the worst of these far-right groups might be, their published views pale beside those of some people associated with the Luton Islamic Centre.  I recently read a piece in which the writer complained that Haitham al-Haddad was being picked on. In a sense that writer had a point, for it’s fairly easy to find others with views which are equally vile, if not worse.

We read yesterday about Baksh’s horrifying vision for his ‘ideal state’ in which gay people would be executed, though possibly just occasionally, as a deterrent.  Unpleasant and inflammatory though the rhetoric of some counter-jihadists may be, I can think of no one who thinks that, ideally, Muslims should be killed, or anything close.  Baksh has some form, not surprisingly. He is a David Duke fan who thinks not enough attention is paid to Jewish extremists. And here is an extract from an unambiguously antisemitic screed, also (according to this HP post) taken from their website:

We recognise that this return to grandeur [of the Jews] shall be short lived, by he leave of Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala). When Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) speaks about the destruction of Bani Israel after the second occurrence of corruption He uses the letter “faa” to imply that soon afterwards after their return to grandeur, their destruction shall come about. The faa indicates that it is a short, defined period of time wherein they shall gather in the Holy land and  assemble uniformly so as to meet their demise together at the hands of the soldiers of Allaah from the ‘Ibaad ur-Rahmaan. These pious slaves of Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) shall be those who have realised in themselves and societies servitude to Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) alone. On that day the Believers shall rejoice with joy in the victory of Allaah.

The future is for Islaam. A future that is bright and full of promise.

In the marathon thread following John’s post I pointed out that it’s important not to forget that apostates are another very vulnerable group. Here’s an absolutely chilling document issued by the Luton Islamic Centre, insisting that the words ‘no compulsion in religion’ apply only to those who have never been Muslims. Apostates, like Saif Rahman and Alom Shaha, should be killed – though obviously only in an ideal state, not right now, so that’s ok.

Thus, this Ayah is about those who are not Muslim: Muslims are not allowed to force those who are not Muslim – to begin with- to embrace Islam. What does this have to do at all with the punishment of those who are Muslim but commit the crime of abandoning Islam, thus, becoming non-Muslim after they had been Muslim? The opinion mentioned in the question is amazing: it indicates the type of ‘knowledge’ that prevails among many Muslims these days. It seems that the reason behind using this sick logic to invalidate Islamic Law, is to suit modern-day disbelievers, who will stop at nothing less than the complete corruption of Islam, {never will the Jews or the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their religion. Say: “Verily, the Guidance of Allâh (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qur’an [and surely, the Sunnah, the practical Bayan (explanation) of the Quran]), then you would have against Allâh neither any Walî (protector or guardian) nor any helper}; [2:120].

These are two completely different topics: forcing non-Muslims to embrace Islam vs. the punishment, carried out by the Islamic State, of those who were Muslim but committed the crime of abandoning Islam.

Obviously many Muslims sincerely believe that ‘no compulsion in religion’ applies to apostates as well, and I think it’s best to hope their views prevail rather than insist that Islam does indeed demand that apostates be put to death, always and for all time.  (And although I’m happy to give Tommy Robinson a chance, and welcome his apparent change of heart, I do find it a bit odd to find myself invoking him as a voice of moderation to help me counter more extreme positions in the course of BTL arguments!)

However, as well as acknowledging and welcoming the more capacious interpretation of the Qur’an accepted, I believe, by Mehdi Hasan, Maajid Nawaz, Qasim Rashid and many more, it’s important to draw attention to the way extreme voices continue to have influence in (and outside) the Muslim communities, particularly when the use of ‘in the UK’ is used as a misleading qualifier to hide their real opinions and beliefs.

As participants in a democratic system, parties like the Swedish Democrats or the BNP obviously don’t expect their views to be implemented unless they can win over a majority of voters.  This doesn’t excuse their views, and it shouldn’t (and doesn’t) prevent people speaking out against them, or campaigning to try to ensure they gain no more influence.  The fact that some preachers are careful to reassure us that they only want to kill apostates or gay people in a perfect Islamic state should, similarly, make no difference at all to our reactions to such abhorrent views. I’m a supporter of groups such as Tell MAMA and Hope not Hate – criticising people such as Baksh should not be left to those who are themselves the targets of Hope not Hate’s campaigns. All reasonable people should condemn them.