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A Place For Zahir Mahmood

Here is some news from Tower Hamlets Council:

Media Invite

‘No Place for Hate’ DVD launch

Tower Hamlets Council is launching its ‘No Place for Hate’ DVD on Thursday 25 March at the London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel Road, E1.

The DVD explores the strength of dialogue between different religions and communities within Tower Hamlets. This was a Springboard Trust initiative in partnership with the council.

The launch will take place between 4 pm and 6 pm in the forth floor seminar room. Interviews and photographs will be available upon request.

Please confirm your attendance with Eloise Clarke by 19 March 2010.

Eloise Clarke
Communications Officer
Tower Hamlets Council

Is this supposed to be a joke? Hate preachers have been welcomed by the East London Mosque and its London Muslim Centre for years.

See for yourself what some of them have to say about gays (death is best, really). Or Muslims who seek reform in Islam and work with governments (hellfire for them). Or Jews (evil monkeys and pigs who control the world). Or the police (they’re the devil). Or jihad (contributing is an obligation for Muslims).

Just yesterday Zahir Mahmood was one of the speakers at a London Muslim Centre event. He is the man who hailed Hamas and said Palestinians have lived in an “open concentration camp for 60 years” at a Viva Palestina rally in Birmingham one year ago, with George Galloway smirking behind him.

By Allah, history will remember George as a hero. And the other thing is that we cannot allow the perverted narrative to remain the norm. Hamas are not terrorists. They’re freedom fighters, they’re defending their country.

Alhamdulillah [praise to God], Ismail Haniyeh [Hamas leader in Gaza], the prime minister of Palestine, has given all those who went on the convoy Palestinian passports. We are Palestinian nationals!

The Danish cartoons of Mohammed riled Mahmood. His reaction to them provides one insight into the kind of message that has been promoted at the mosque for so long.

The cartoons were originally published by just one Danish newspaper. Some other newspapers and magazines in Europe followed suit to show solidarity and, as they saw it, defend freedom of speech while violence erupted around the world. Many more European publishers did not reproduce any of the cartoons. This group included UK newspapers.

In a speech available here, Mahmood ignores the range of responses and does his best to fan the flames. The cartoons were but the latest manifestation of a western assault on Islam with more than a millenium of history to its name, arcing from Dante to Voltaire and on to our times. His aim is to convince Muslims that they face a cosmic conflict with “Europe” and Europeans, reducing a vast region and its peoples to a single hostile block. It is a separatist message, designed to alienate western Muslims from their own homelands.

The reality is, a glance at European history, you will see that they are only doing what their forefathers have done for over 1,000 years. They have been vilifying, demonising the Muslims, Islam, and especially the prophet.

There’s been a deep enmity and a deep history. The only difference today is that they use the spin of freedom of speech.

He cannot resist pillorying poor old Salman Rushdie, nearly two decades after his “offence” against Islam. He throws in Madonna for good measure. Both should have been silenced, and Muslims must remember not to be like those bad Christians, who “don’t hold anything sacred”.

All this [Mahmood’s age old European assault on Islam] came into the vicious fore when Salman Rushdie wrote his “Satanic Verses”.

How often do you see the disciples of Salman Rushdie coming out and they say “Oh, we don’t really care. It’s an issue freedom of speech. It’s only a cartoon”. I ask you, is there any such thing as absolute freedom? Is there any such thing? They say a man is free. But if you violate the rights of other people, if you commit a crime, they will put you into prison, so where’s your freedom? Because freedom comes with responsibility. And if you forego that responsibility, then you don’t have the right to have freedom.

When Salman Rushdie bases a book on a fictitious dream and he depicts the prophet as Mahound and he depicts the prophet as a brothel keeper, and he slanders his wives and the companions [of the prophet], this is no longer freedom of speech, this is cynicism. When Madonna takes a crucifix and she starts doing lewd acts with it, this isn’t freedom of expression, this is cynicism.

Christendom don’t [sic] hold anything sacred. When Isa [Jesus] was depicted in “The Last Temptation” having a sexual relationship with a woman, where was Christendom? Where were they? They were non-existent. Why? Because they don’t hold anything sacred. They want to see the Muslims become desensitized, like the Christians. Under the banner of freedom of speech have the Muslims become desensitized, like the Christians. This is what they are trying with the Muslims.

They are provocating [sic], they want to see. This is exactly what they used to do in Spain. When the Christians retook Spain, they would send out testers, they would pull off the hijab of a woman and see what the reactions of the Muslims were. If they did nothing, then they would go a step further. And this is what they are doing [with the Mohammed cartoons].

He really has it in for Muslims who were prepared to put up with the publication of the cartoons. They are not proper believers:

In the recent saga, how many Muslims do you see, progressive, moderate Muslims, they come on national TV and they say “we weren’t offended, it’s a matter of freedom of speech”.

Wouldn’t you feel ashamed if they depicted your mother or your father in the most gross manner that you could imagine? How would you feel? If you say you wouldn’t feel anything then you are a man who is redundant of any shame. You have no ghaira [honour, self-respect] left in you, you have no shame left in you, because the reality is that the prophet is closer to the believers than himself.

And you don’t feel bad when they depict the prophet in a foul manner? What kind of iman [faith] do you have? None of you can be a true believer until he loves the prophet more than he loves himself.

As for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, she is not a Muslim at all, of course.

Let me tell you who Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown belongs to an Ismaili group, which is a splinter of the Shia group, who the Shias don’t even regard as Muslims.

He does lay into the “behead those who insult Islam” idiots at London anti-cartoon demonstrations, but notes “some of them may be sincere”. Then he says they should look to this model:

If you really look at the mujahideen, they don’t act like this.

The bottom line for Mahmood is that Muslims must be stricter in their Islam. In fact, they should be prepared to die for Mohammed’s “honour”:

This is an ummah whose back has been broken. And the only thing which will fix this back is that we make, join our relationship back with Allah and his prophet. May Allah make us from amongst those who would die for the honour of the prophet. May Allah make us amongst those.

The reality is that if the prophet was here he would be upset by these caricatures, no doubt. But don’t you think the prophet would also be upset when he sees the believers who have been relinquishing his guidance? Do you think if the prophet was here he would be more upset with the Europeans or the Muslims? Who do you think? It would be the Muslims who have relinquished the guidance of Islam, who have relinquished his teachings. So may Allah make us amongst those who live and die for the sunnah [the ways] of the prophet.

This separatist message fully rejects “the strength of dialogue between different religions and communities”. It is welcome and common among speakers at the East London Mosque and its London Muslim Centre.

Oh well, Tower Hamlets Council excels in divine comedy.