This is a guest post by Mr Greene.
East London Mosque and the attached London Muslim Centre (LMC) have attracted a large quantity of negative publicity recently due to their links with Anwar al-Awlaki and the Undie Bomber. So you’d expect them to be keeping their heads down and trying to steer clear of controversy, right?
On Saturday 23rd January, LMC will play host to an event called ‘Cry of the Ummah!’. It has not been organised by LMC, rather they have allowed ‘Baitul Hikmah’, an organisation which arranges Islamic courses and talks, to organise an event in support of ‘Ummah Welfare Trust’ (UWT). As David T has previously documented here, UWT gives money to Interpal, a charity which has been banned in the US, Canada and Australia for funding Hamas. And here is a photo showing that UWT clearly has a close relationship with ‘Alsalah Islamic Foundation’, which the US Treasury has designated a financer of Hamas.
There is more to this event than simply raising funds for UWT:
CRY OF THE UMMAH
• Shaykh Suliman Gani
• Shaykh Haitham Haddad
• Shaykh Uthman Lateef
Qirat by Qari Muhammad Saeed (Al Azhar, Egypt)
Nasheeds by Labbayk
Hosted by Rizwan Hussain (Islam Channel/Channel S)
Fundraising by Yusuf Chambers (iERA)
Presentation by Ummah Welfare Trust
Suliman Gani, apart from being a particularly conservative influence on Islam Channel’s regular dial-an-imam show IslamiQA, has also popped up on a Cageprisoners platform alongside Hamas and Hezbollah fan Asim Qureshi, as well as Moazzam Begg, Abdur Raheem Green and the Tipton Three.
Here is a promotional video for the Cageprisoners event at which Gani spoke. Can you recognise the chap who appears at 7:45?
That’s right –it’s everyone’s favourite English-language jihadist ideologue, Anwar al-Awlaki.
As for the other speakers, Haitham al-Haddad is another massive conservative. He is also not a fan of “the so-called western values”, but he is particularly keen on Hamas. Here he is discussing terrorism and jihad. He is very clear that his understanding of “jihad” is not peaceful.
Modernists will see it as a proof that the concept of jihad should be re-interpreted according to Western imperial views dominated by an anti-Islamic agenda whereby the ‘correct’ and ‘moderate’ understanding of jihad does not include any type of physical engagement, including self-defence which of course is preposterously incorrect. Others will capitalise on this warped view in order to justify their ideological opinions regarding jihad in that it is limited to one’s struggle against his/her own whims and desires.
He even warns Muslims off trying to convince jihadists that they are not killing for a “just cause”:
It is known that those who would carry out such actions would never listen to such commentators, and instead, such comments will only serve to alienate them further, ultimately fuelling the so-called jihadists to become even more active and resourceful. It will provoke many of them to refute these weak arguments [emphasis added] inevitably aiding them to win over the same people whom these speakers want to ‘save’.
What a mess! Whilst most of what he writes is utterly incoherent, the only things he clearly conveys are an instruction to Muslims not to challenge jihadists’ manipulation of their religion to justify murder and a clear conviction that, for him, jihad is not a peaceful concept. Too bad Haitham doesn’t follow his own advice:
I would like to advise our brothers, whether they be preachers or scholars to exercise careful consideration in regards to anything they say, and in particular, complicated matters such as jihad in the current context.
Which leaves Uthman Lateef. Apart from being a preacher with the Hittin Institute, whose output (pdf) closely resembles that of Hizb ut-Tahrir and which calls for the annihilation of Israel, he was also a speaker at the ‘End of Time’ event which originally got East London Mosque into trouble for broadcasting a video message from (you guessed it) Anwar al-Awlaki.
So, in summary, we have a fundraiser at East London Mosque in honour of UWT, which appears to have more than the odd link to Hamas, where there are very good reasons to be concerned about every single speaker attending and their views on violent extremism. All this at a mosque regularly visited by mainstream politicians.
That events like this continue to be hosted by East London Mosque means that it’s time for local politicians to stop playing ball with these faux-moderates and demand immediate and radical reform.