This is a guest post by Abu Wannabe Arab
You know you’ve done something right when Green Lane Mosque (GLM) in Birmingham is upset with you. This is a hardcore Wahhabi institution that is much reviled in the local community and known for bringing in hardline Wahhabi clerics in order to preach intolerance and hate. Its Imam is none other than the notorious Abu Usamah, who was investigated by West Midlands Police after being filmed speaking about how women are deficient in intellect, how gays should be killed, Jews are the enemies of Islam and all the usual hate mongering.
So it comes as no great surprise that they have now issued a press release denouncing the bans on hate mongers Bilal Phillips and Zakir Naik. They begin their PR by saying:
On behalf of the Muslim Community of Birmingham, Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre is deeply alarmed by the decision taken by the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, to ban Dr Zakir Naik from a visiting tour of the UK.
Who has given these Wahhabis, who run one Saudi-funded mosque, the right to speak on behalf of the Muslim Community of Birmingham – some 150,000 people? The vast majority of Birmingham’s Muslims are Brelwis and have nothing but contempt for the Green Lane Mosque crowd of Bedouin wannabes and their Saudi trained imams. The mosque’s press release continues:
Dr Zakir Naik is a renowned mainstream Muslim scholar on comparative religions, who has a track record of dialogue with interfaith communities’ world wide, and is a leading figure in promoting peace and harmony between the world’s major faiths … an international figure respected for his knowledge and integrity.
A ‘track record of dialogue’? Really? This is a man whose main claims to fame rests on his attacks on other faiths, who describes Jews as the enemies of Islam and who denounces ‘decadent’ western culture.
And a ‘renowned mainstream Muslim scholar … respected for his knowledge and integrity’? Naik is nothing of the sort. In fact, just two days ago, Britain’s largest umbrella grouping of traditional Muslims, the British Muslim Forum, came out publicly in support of the ban against him. Meanwhile in his homeland of India, Naik is actually banned in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for making statements that were deemed offensive to Shia and Sunni Muslims. When he tried to speak in Allahbad in India in 2008, local Muslims staged widespread protests against him and even burnt effigies of him (video is available here). He is so good at promoting peace that a Maldivian man who publicly stated at a Naik lecture that he was having doubts about Islam was attacked by a mob of Naik’s followers after Zakir declared that apostates should be killed in Islam if they speak out.
The PR goes on to defend the Jamaican-born Wahhabi Bilal Philips:
Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips is also a respected mainstream Islamic scholar and an academic who obtained his doctorate in Islamic Theology from the University of Wales. He has been lecturing world wide and has visited the UK on countless occasions for the last two decades to promote a peaceful and a knowledge based approach to Islam. Dr Phillips has also authored and translated over 50 books on various Islamic subjects and has a large following and support base worldwide.
Respected by who? The Taliban? Hardcore Wahhabis? Has a large following where? In North Waziristan? Bilal Phillps is a well known bigot who has been banned from the US and Australia and was even named by the US government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 1990s bombing plot targeting the United Nations headquarters and other New York landmarks. Philips, like Naik, is a nut. On Youtube, for instance, he can be found defending the execution of “deviant” homosexuals and adulterers:
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.
Similarly, Philips says that Jews are an example for Muslims – an example of how not to act:
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.
And Green Lane Mosque says that Philips is only promoting a ‘peaceful and a knowledge based approach to Islam’. Its press release then goes on to say:
Excluding leading Muslim personalities from entering the UK, does not serve the interests of the British people, but rather goes against the universal values of freedom of speech and will attempt to undermine community cohesion. Such draconian actions will only serve to further the agenda of extreme elements within society and is not conducive for the public good.
Oh, so Green Lane Mosque now subscribes to universal values of free speech and are concerned with British interests and ‘community cohesion’? Institutions like the GLM have actively undermined community cohesion in Birmingham for at least a decade by regularly hosting Wahhabi hate preachers and verbally attacking peaceful Muslims in the area. As for free speech, I doubt if anyone could criticise Wahhabism inside their mosque and leave alive.