The Masjid al-Gharaaba in Luton, sometimes called the Luton Islamic Centre, has featured in the press on a number of occasions. It is often given as the example of an institution which, although Salafi in outlook, is opposed to terrorism. Lambert and Githens-Mazer singled the institution out for praise in their recent “Islamophobia” report:
Demonised Mosques Tackle Political Violence
[W]e highlighted the success of … the Masjid al-Gharaaba in Luton … in tackling political violence of two kinds: on the one hand, tackling arson attacks and intimidation by far right thugs against mosques and Muslims; on the other; tackling al-Qaeda inspired violent extremism.
Luton Islamic Centre is in the news again today. The Telegraph reports that the Stockholm bomber had been permitted to preach at the Luton Islamic Centre, but that Qadeer Baksh, chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre, had challenged his “extremist” views:
Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, 28, tried to recruit other Muslims to share his fanatical views when he was given a chance to preach at the Luton Islamic Centre.
“It was quite serious because some of the worshippers were starting to really listen to him.
“I talked to him and went through his arguments and countered all of them theologically and he accepted it. I thought that was the end of it but he carried on.
“So one day, before the end of Ramadan, when the mosque was full I directly challenged all his misinterpretations of Islam.
“He just stood up and stormed out. We never saw him again – but I heard he’d gone to the Islamic Society at the university and continued to preach his extremist views.”
The mosque has been linked in the past to extremist groups including Al-Muhajiroun, the banned organisation which was headed by the firebrand cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed.
Mr Baksh said that the mosque remained vigilant against infiltration from organised extremist groups.
He said: “We removed them from our mosque. We are sick of them. We see them as problematic. They have a completely distorted view of Islam.”
Mr Latif’s Masjid Al Ghurabaa follows the Salafi school of thought, the socially conservative Saudi sect in which male adherents tend to grow long beads and dress in simple tunics and women usually adopt the full-length niqab veil. “To outsiders we come across as very traditional,” he says. “We don’t listen to music – my wife and I, for instance, wouldn’t go to a wedding if there was music playing. But that doesn’t make us extremists. Islam teaches people to strongly believe in social cohesion and strictly prohibits shedding any innocent blood. The hot-headed young men that belong to Al Muhajiroun promote violence and preach a false version of Islam that reflects badly on ordinary Muslims. That’s why we took action.”
The article concluded:
Mr Latif, meanwhile, hopes that their decision to turn on the extremists within their own community will now prompt Luton’s white community to do the same.
“I believe people on all sides are sick of the extremists,” he said. “I now hope the white working class will weed out the fascists and hate mongers just like we now have. Otherwise things will only get worse.”
These are laudable sentiments, to which all should pay heed. The Luton Islamic Centre should be congratulated for having opposed Al Muhajiroun, and for having prevented the terrorist, al-Abdaly, from preaching at their Mosque. I hope that they also reported him to the Police.
However, “hatemongering” is, unfortunately, a description which could aptly be applied to the theological output of the Luton Islamic Centre.
Here is a link to their online publications. The Luton Islamic Centre produces material which is easily as bad as the filth peddled by hate preachers like Terry Jones. It is as guilty of whipping up hatred against other groups as the English Defence League.
Let’s start with a relatively mild one, entitled “Greeting The Kuffaar On Their Festival“. Putting to one side the offensive and racist term used to describe non-Muslims, I accept that religious people might have a theological objection to saying “‘may you enjoy your festival” to a member of another religion. However, this is how the Luton Islamic Centre explains the problem:
It is like congratulating someone for prostrating to the cross, or even worse than that. It is as great a sin as congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone, or having illicit sexual relations, and so on. Many of those who have no respect for their religion fall into this error; they do not realize the offensiveness of their actions.
Whoever congratulates a person for his disobedience or bid’ah or kufr exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allaah
Then, there is a defence of the flogging of a 19 year old gang rape victim in Saudi Arabia. It argues that her sentence was just, and indeed sanctioned by God.
There is also an attack on Shia Muslims, in which – echoing anti-Muslim bigots like Pastor Terry Jones – it is argued that:
Lying is Obligatory For The Shi’a
Worse still – you can listen here to a lecture by the hate preacher Abu Usaamah Adh-Dhahabee, who wants to tell us about the Similarities Between The Jews And The Shee’ah. The speaker is also known as Abu Usamah at Thahabi: an American convert to Islam who serves as Imam at the extremist Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham
You will remember that Thahabi was filmed on Undercover Mosque, where he expressed the following views:
Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.
They have given them [homosexuals] unprecedented rights, so that your child can be exposed and introduced to lesbians. Now they say “if you discriminate against that, you’re going to jail”. We’ll discriminate, but we’ll discriminate in a way where we don’t get in trouble. The Muslim is a dentist, one of those people come, you want to take a big, big needle and stick it in his gums.
On the subject of gays, here is what the Luton Islamic Centre has to say on the subject. In a publication entitled “Gay History” and “Gay Pride“, we learn the following:
Undoubtedly, sodomy is one of the most repulsive acts, even observed among beasts. Therefore, the sight of a homosexual will be so disgusting to Allaah that it will intensify His anger to heights where He will not even consider glancing at a sodomist. Through this act, man degrades his humanity and announces extermination as his policy. Moreover, it implies wretchedness and misery of the womenfolk and he himself is prone to so many diseases: the basic organs of his body, brain, heart, liver and kidneys become deficiently immune (AIDS), his face lacks the sparkle of health and he looks off-colour and melancholy, with the result that such an incapacitated criminal becomes worthless to women. This wretched outcast deprives himself of the bounty of procreation and the priceless jewel of morality.
We learn that Gay men should be executed:
The act of two men having sex (arabic: liwaat) is NOT considered fornication, neither is of two women having sex (arabic: sihaaq) considered fornication. By definition, fornication is sex between a man and a woman who are virgins and this is not punishable by death, but by lashings. When two men are together this is called SODOMY and sex that occurs between a man and a woman who are currently married or who have been married is Zinaa and this is punishable by death.
There are important differences here.
The article concludes:
Its an old cliché but a truthful one: ‘God created Adam and Eve NOT ADAM AND STEVE’, and from all three semitic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islaam, we see that homosexuality only brought destruction onto itself. In other words, they were destroyed by Allaah, thus there is no “gay history”, except that of destruction, and there is no “gay pride”, since they were humiliated through the wrath of Allaah.
Let this be a warning for those who transgress the limits laid by Allaah.
This is not a sterile discourse on Quranic textual interpretation. This is hateful rabble rousing against gays, using the most disgusting and inflammatory language possible.
One of the more obnoxious pieces on the Luton Islamic Centre’s website is an article entitled “The Prophesy Of The Utter Destruction Of The Yahood [i.e the Jews] Will Only Occur At The Hands Of The True Worshippers Of Allaah“, which the Mosque describes as a “heart warming, hope instilling prophetic reminder”. The article constitutes an attempt to explain the Israel/Palestine conflict in terms of the Quranic accounts of Mohammed’s supposed expulsion of all Jews from the Arabian Peninsula. It mixes into that theology, some old fashion racist conspiracy theories about Jews.
For example, we are told that Jews who try to make peace are deceivers – because that is the intrinsic qualify of Jews:
“The Zionists strategy will not stop extending its malicious hand, gesturing peace, while simultaneously plotting extermination of those it is courting. This has always been the attitude of the Jews, past and present.”
In an echo of the Hamas Covenant, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, we also discover that Jews are behind both Communism and Capitalism:
“The Zionist expansion grew with the aid of Communist manpower (European Jews) and Capitalist monetary reserves.”
The article concludes:
The verses confirm that the future battle facing al-Islaam shall be with the Jews and that victory shall be for the Muslims.
When Allaah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) speaks about the destruction of Bani Israel after the second occurrence of corruption He uses the letter “faa” to imply that soon afterwards after their return to grandeur, their destruction shall come about. The faa indicates that it is a short, defined period of time wherein they shall gather in the Holy land and assemble uniformly so as to meet their demise together at the hands of the soldiers of Allaah from the ‘Ibaad ur-Rahmaan.
There is a rather ironic passage in that article, which argues:
The Jews shall NEVER have peace of mind or feel secure, or arrive at the level of safety that they seek. This is a dream that shall remain unfulfilled because they do not seek to extend the same to others. All attempts at seeking to facilitate this unattainable peace shall end in failure. They shall continuously be under siege as has been ordained by Allaah as He has said:
“And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them (i.e. the Jews), till the Day of Resurrection, those who would afflict them with a humiliating torment.” [7:167]
Or try an essay entitled “The Ideological Attack“:
“The jews strive their utmost to corrupt the beliefs, morals and manners of the Muslims. The jews scheme and crave after possessing the Muslim lands, as well as the lands of others. They have fulfilled some of their plans and continue striving hard to implement the rest of them. Even though they do engage the Muslims in warfare involving strength and arms and have occupied some of their lands, they also fight them by spreading destructive thoughts, beliefs and ideologies; such as Freemasonry, Qadiaanisim, Bahaaism, Teejaanism and others – seeking the support of the christians and others, in order to fulfill their objectives”
The Luton Islamic Centre is free to believe that peace of mind, security and safety all flow from the divine will. I prefer to believe that a cohesive society, in which minorities are not vilified, targeted and attacked, is a product of human endeavour.
It is very clear that they have put a huge amount of effort into whipping up hatred against other cultural and religious groups. When mosque spokesman, Farasat Latif, claimed that they had “weeded out the hate mongers”, that was not true.
It is important that we defend Muslims when they are attacked by hate preachers like Pastor Jones. Equally, we should hold the Luton Islamic Centre to the same standard.