In March the political operations of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) were exposed by Andrew Gilligan and the Dispatches broadcast. Since then the East London Mosque, the IFE’s base, seems to have cleaned up part of its act. Extremist preachers who have long been welcomed at big events at its London Muslim Centre or the mosque itself are appearing at other venues.
The Troxy in East London is one of them. The private company that runs the venue has accepted a booking for a conference on June 20 featuring several hardcore figures in the British Islamist scene. It is a socially irresponsible decision. These are speakers whose records include:
– Open support for terrorism in the Middle East
– Shocking antisemitic statements
– The promotion of extreme homophobia
– Support for crude misogyny
– Hatred of Shia Muslims and apostates from Islam
Let’s take a look at two of the speakers – Bilal Philips and Hussein Yee. Both live overseas. Neither is a British citizen. The new government may choose to let them into the UK. Or it could bar them to underline a strong stance against extremism. After all, David Cameron has promised action in the past and now he is in power:
It’s clear for reasons of our security that we must expel or refuse entry to those who preach hate, pit one faith against another and divide our society.
Philips is a Canadian convert. His views on social and religious issues are extreme. As we learned from the “Undercover Mosque” broadcast in 2007, where he was shown supporting the marriage of prepubescent girls:
The prophet Muhammad practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this [Western] society today, but we know that Prophet Muhammad practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage.
In his “Contemporary Issues” publication, he says (pdf, see page 7) that there is no such thing as rape in marriage.
He rejects what he calls “the totally erroneous claim that Christianity’s introduction of monogamy not only protected the rights of women but also had a civilizing effect on the world in the realm of human relations.” Polygamy, he says on his website, is good for families and society:
A strong family structure is an absolute requirement for a strong and a healthy society. And, the only way that the family can remain strong and responsive to the needs of its male and female members is through the Islamic form of marriage of which polygyny is a part.
He maintains that apostates from Islam in Muslim states who dare to speak about their decision could be put to death.
Western Civilization executes its citizens for giving away state secrets, something material. Islamic law prescribes the death penalty for something far more serious. Rebellion against God is a far greater crime than rebellion against state secrets.
“Evil” homosexuals and adulterers also risk the chop:
In Islamic law the punishment for homosexuality is no different from the punishment for adultery and fornication. It could be death. It’s looked at as a deviation, just as if somebody is involved in bestiality, sexual relations with animals. Death! This is a deviation. Adultery is death. So it’s not any special punishment, it is a punishment for deviant behaviour which threatens the family structure of a society.
What about Jews? Philips thinks they are a handy guide for Muslims. It’s simple – don’t be like them:
We should only read the Quran believing this is Allah speaking to us, because that is what it is. Every time he tells us something about the Jews, we should not (merely) take it as a piece of information, that the Jews are this and that. No! Whenever he tells us something about the Jews, we should see in it a warning to ourselves – that we don’t become like them.
Those with whom Allah is angry are the Jews and those who have gone astray are the Christians. Allah is angry with the Jews because they KNOW the truth and they don’t act on it.
Philips does not support al Qaeda, he says, but he has provided a justification for suicide bombings:
Now, the concept of a suicide bomber is different. A person who kills himself in normal life, he is killing himself because he can’t stand to live any more. He feels God is unfair to him or whatever, you know, life has lost its meaning. He just wants to die, get out of this. Right, that’s his intention.
When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber it’s a different intention altogether. His situation is that he is not able to get at the troops of the enemy. They’re either too heavily armed, they don’t have the type of equipment that can deal with it so the only other option they have is to try to get some people amongst them and then explode the charges that they have to try to destroy the equipment and to save the lives of their comrades. So this is not really considered to be suicide in the true sense. This is a military action and human lives are sacrificed in that military action. This is really the bottom line for it and that’s how we should look at it.
He suggests that Israeli civilians are fair game:
In terms of civilian deaths in Israel, those involved in the struggle there argue that the whole population undergoes military training and most carry arms. Consequently, the population at large are not considered civilians, but military reserves.
Philips has one publicly known material connection to terrorism. In the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, he tried to convert American military personnel deployed in Saudi Arabia, his home at the time, to Islam. Later he went to America to seek out veterans and soldiers who were about to leave the forces. This time the objective was recruitment for jihad in Bosnia and funding operations as well as conversions:
It became clear that Philips was not a friend to U.S. policy. “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” he said in the interview. “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.” With his encouragement, some of his U.S. military converts trained Islamic fighters in Bosnia in the 1990s and were later investigated by the FBI in terrorism probes in this country, he added.
Indeed. One of the men Philips worked with was Rodney Hampton-El, an American Muslim veteran of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets. Hampton-El was also a weapons supplier for the terrorist ring that planned a series of large scale attacks in New York City in the early 1990s. In 1996 he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
The relationship between Philips and Hampton-El was close, as you will see in the court testimony (pdf). They met several times in the US and the Philippines. They also traveled to Austria together on a fundrasing mission for jihad in Bosnia.
The US authorities named Philips an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the New York bombing plot case.
In 2007, Australia took a look at Philips’s record and banned him. The immigration minister said:
This gentleman has a long history in relation to support for extremist Islamic positions and the security authorities, based on that and other evidence that they have available to them, made the assessment.
Philips says he is not welcome in the US either.
Will the UK follow the Australian and US leads?
Yee is a Malaysian convert. He supports jihad. In 2006, when British troops were still fighting in Iraq, he said this at an Islamic conference:
May Allah help all the mujahideen, especially in Palestine, especially in Iraq, and wherever they are, who fight to protect human rights.
In the same speech, he denied that the September 11 attacks were carried out by Muslims and suggested Jews were responsible:
So, don’t worry about the twin towers. We have nothing to do with it. The Muslims must not get into an area that you do not know. Do you understand that? I know, sometimes you feel, you know who was very happy when the twin towers have been attacked? A group of Jews was so happy in America, they were having a party when the twin towers had been burned. They had a celebration, they had a party going on. Why did they do that? We don’t know.
Yee does have it in for Jews. From another speech:
We do not want the way that people whom you (Allah) cursed – “maghdub”. When you see the word “maghdub”, “ghadab” is anger, who does Allah refer to, brothers? The Jews.
Because the Jews, they have gone so far against Allah’s commands. They like to do a lot of things that are very extreme. The most extremist nation in this world is the Jews. So if they used “extremists”, it doesn’t apply to Muslims. It applies to the Jews. They are the extremists in the world.
That’s why they kill the Palestinians every day. They have no respect for the United Nations. Why don’t they respect the United Nations? Do you know why, brothers? Who is the United Nations? Even Allah, he makes promises with Allah, the Jew who makes promises with Allah, he breaks the promise with Allah. He doesn’t even respect Allah. How can he respect the United Nations?
If they want to kill, they kill, because they believe that they are the chosen people. They are children of God. The blood that flows in the body of the Jew is the blood of God. It is holy. And the blood that is not Jewish, they are all like animals, you can kill them and they don’t feel that it is a sin.
Mr Yee too should be considered for banning from the UK.
It seems that none of this matters to the managers at the Troxy. If the police do not intervene, they will allow the event to go ahead. The police are not likely to act. Nor should they in this case, in my view.
So if the event goes ahead, with or without Messrs Philips and Yee, it is up to opponents of hate preaching to speak up. Several of the other speakers are also extremists, and they are already in the UK.
People can make a difference. Last year Bilal Philips cancelled a German tour because of widespread opposition in that country. Abdullah Hakim Quick, another “death to gays” preacher, cancelled an appearance in Sweden earlier this year when people protested.
If you’d like to complain to the venue, its contact details are here.