Terrorism and Extremism UK

Notes & Comments: With Moderates Like These

The message to the West was clear and emphatic: ‘If you want a war on Islam, bring it on.’ Had the call been made by Osama bin Laden or his fellow fanatics from a Kabul cave, few would have raised their eyebrows. But it came from a female British journalist… in Manchester. ‘I thank Allah that I was captured by the Taliban and not by the Americans’, continued Yv o n n e R i d l e y, the former E x p re s s reporter, convert to Islam and now presenter on the ‘Islam Channel’, speaking at the recent Muslim Unity convention. In another affair, the outspoken chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque in the UK Midlands also caused a stir when he doubted the existence of al- Qaeda, before likening To n y Blair’s policies against terrorists to Adolf Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. Since this is the rhetoric of prominent Muslim ‘moderates’, supposedly on behalf of the mainstream in Britain, it is of little wonder they are becoming less and less popular, not just in the eyes of non-Muslims but among Muslims themselves. Many Muslims lack the ability to choose the right word at the right time. A lack of understanding of Islam has made them ‘shoot from the hips’ with the result that they say the most unkind things in front of the media. The recent controversial BBC Panorama documentary criticising the Muslim Council of Britain for its duplicity also exposed the disturbing reality about the country’s most powerful Islamic 4 The Review of Religions – November 2005 Co m m e n t s &Notes With Moderates Like These… body and illustrated how influential Muslims, despite pos- ing as peaceful, can so easily lose credibility. The Council, championed as the voice of orthodox Islam in the UK, still vociferously denies sup- porting extremists, yet its leadership admits being inspired by the notorious Maulana Maududi, whom they extol as ‘an important Muslim thinker. ’ Such praise for the founder of J a m a ’ a t – e – I s l a m i upset many Muslims who view the late cleric as a mischievous mullah who taught, among other things, that Islam should be spread with the sword and that Muslims who leave the faith should be put to death. The book M u rder in the Name of A l l a h, by Hadhrat Mirza Ta h i r A h m a d( r u ), is a must-read rebuttal of Maududi’s twisted philosophy. The Council also offended Jews by boycotting the Holocaust Memorial, claiming it wanted the event to highlight ‘the sufferings of all people.’ But if denouncing crimes against humanity every- where is what the Council calls f o r, why do its leaders not condemn the horrific persecution of other Muslims, like the Ahmadis, in Pakistan and Bangladesh? And when a leading figure from the Muslim Association of Britain, one of the Council’s major a ffiliates, implied that suicide attacks in Israel are justified, none of the Council leaders refuted him. With moderates like these, who needs militants? Also in the same month, the writer Salman Rushdie wrote a piece for The Times in which he blasted the Council elite commenting: ‘If Sacranie is the best Mr Blair can offer in the way of a good Muslim, we have a problem.’ Given the Council’s links to fanatical groups, Muslims have every right to mistrust it. And with their defence of radicals like Maududi and Yasin, their label as a moderate voice of Islam becomes even more questionable. Far from being the best Islam here has to offer, there is already more reputable Muslim leadership in 5 NOTES AND COMMENTS The Review of Religions – November 2005 Britain to which the ‘silent majority’ are turning for inspiration. A perfect example is the Ahmadiyya Community, one of the first ever Muslim organisations to arrive on British soil, whose supreme worldwide head, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, lives in London. His followers are universally acclaimed for not just preaching but practising their message: ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ It is a global community that represents the very antithesis of the terrorists’ cause and is viewed as the sole authority in Islam capable of bringing peace and unity among Muslims. With its exponential growth globally, that might well soon become a reality. Waqar Ahmad Ahmedi–UK 6 NOTES AND COMMENTS The Review of Religions – November 2005 In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu a n d is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.