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Jalal ibn Saeed and the East London Mosque

Jalal ibn Saeed is an American preacher who has lived in the UK since the 1990s. He is a frequent speaker at university Islamic societies and mosques all over the country.

According to this announcement, this Saturday he will be one of the speakers at an event at the East London Mosque’s London Muslim Centre. The event has also been advertised on the mosque’s Facebook wall.

As we know, the mosque claims that extremists are no longer welcome:

Under Dr Abdul Bari’s guidance as chairman, the mosque management has reviewed and tightened its booking procedures for private hire of facilities by third-party groups. The requirement in our hiring conditions for publicity materials to be approved was added in 2009 in the wake of the controversy over Noor Pro Media’s publicity materials. The mosque will not tolerate its facilities being used for extremist groups or speakers and is now vetting all speakers and publicity materials.

Here is another claim:

The controversial speakers who were able, in the past, to speak via third-party bookings of our facilities (circumventing our procedures) have now all been banned. All accusations of ‘extremism’ links are also historical: it is two years since the Awlaki issue arose, for example, and since then we have tightened our procedures and policies accordingly, to ensure no such issues arise again. Let me state once more: we deplore extremism of all kinds and fully support democracy.

If the mosque has “vetted” Jalal ibn Saeed, either it is failing in its avowed mission or it has a rather interesting definition of what constitutes extremism.

In this talk at the University of East London about the devil in Islam and the end times, Saeed hails the Taliban and despairs that Muslims in the West do not live up to their high standards. He also claims the Afghan people want the Taliban.

Their [the Taliban] motto was “from Kabul to Al Quds [Jerusalem]”. “We’re going to go from Kabul to Quds.” What they had was a big army, they had black flags raised. And some people say “well, if they were true they would have succeeded”. That’s not necessarily true. That doesn’t mean they’re false just because they didn’t succeed. As far as I am concerned the mujahideen are successful whether they lose or win. They’re successful. But if they succeed we also become successful. And if they fail, they succeed but we fail. And right now do we deserve such a success? [shakes head] How could they win with us like this?

The Taliban were coming into Kabul, they took Kabul, all or most of the country, no bloodshed, because everybody wanted that pathway. And they still do, which is Islam, sharia, etcetera.

Later he turns to Israel. It is so bad that it cannot even be named. Lod – near today’s Tel Aviv – is “occupied territory”:

Where is Lod? Yeah, Palestine. We don’t say the other word. The occupied territories.

Or try this talk at the Bradford Academy, which was dedicated to “Mohammed as The Warrior”. Saeed cites a Quranic verse:

To those against who war is waged, it is permissible for them, permission is given to fight because they are wronged and verily Allah is most powerful for their aid.

How should this be read today? As divine permission to fight for Muslims in several countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, British soldiers are divinely sanctioned targets for good Muslims. While Muslims elsewhere who say their brothers in those countries should not fight are defying the will of Allah:

I thought it’s important to start with this ayaa [verse] considering the state of our ummah today and the many lands of Muslims and what they’re going through. And I’m sure all of us have pain in our hearts knowing what’s happening to the Muslims in Iraq, the Muslims in Afghanistan, the Muslims in Swat valley in Pakistan and other places, the Muslims in Kashmir, in Chechnya, in Kosovo, in Bosnia, in Somalia, in Sudan, so many places in the world. Our hearts bleed for them and I say let’s share this ayaa with them, at least the part where Allah says “permission is given to them to fight”. To defend themselves. Because they are wronged. Not just by their enemies, but by us, their brothers and sisters. Nod if you agree, at least. Yes, they are wronged. So permission is given to them by Allah. And Muslims dare speak and say “they shouldn’t”.

Last year the East London Mosque receieved £660,000 in public money.