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The East London Mosque and the Tayyibun Institute

Let’s go through the claims of the East London Mosque once again. November 2010 (pdf):

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.

December 2010 (pdf):

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.

Why, then, has the Tayyibun Institute, an inveterate promoter of extremists based just around the corner from the mosque, apparently been allowed to book the mosque’s London Muslim Centre for this conference on 20 March?

One of the scheduled speakers (by video) is Saudi preacher Saad Al-Shithri. For him, gender mixing isn’t just wrong, it is evil. And evolution must not be taught at universities. This proved too much even for the Saudi establishment. So why should he be acceptable in the London Muslim Centre?

In a rare move, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz relieved Shaikh Sa’ad Al Shithri of his duties as a member of a top council of religious scholars, citing a royal decree.

The agency gave no reason, but the decision came after Shaikh Sa’ad had said scholars should vet the curriculum at the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to prevent alien ideologies such as ‘evolution’. He said that mixing students of the opposite sex was “a great sin and a great evil” under Islam.

“The recommendation is to set up Sharia committees at this university to oversee these studies and look into what violates the Sharia (Islamic law),” Shaikh Sa’ad said last week.

There’s worse. Another scheduled speaker, again by video, is Abdul-Rahman Al-Barrak, another Saudi preacher. For him, gender mixing is so bad that its unrepentant proponents must be killed:

Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak said in a fatwa the mixing of genders at the workplace or in education “as advocated by modernisers” is prohibited because it allows “sight of what is forbidden, and forbidden talk between men and women”.

“All of this leads to whatever ensues,” he said in the text of the fatwa published on his website (albarrak.islamlight.net).

“Whoever allows this mixing … allows forbidden things, and whoever allows them is an infidel and this means defection from Islam … Either he retracts or he must be killed … because he disavows and does not observe the Sharia,” Barrak said.

“Anyone who accepts that his daughter, sister or wife works with men or attend mixed-gender schooling cares little about his honour and this is a type of pimping,” Barrak said.

These outrageous remarks sparked strong criticism from Saudi liberals. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top Islamic institute, also weighed in.

Al-Barrak thinks others need killing too. Such as writers who argue against denigrating religious people who are not Sunni Muslims as “unbelievers”.

Saudi Arabia’s most revered cleric said in a rare fatwa this week that two writers should be tried for apostasy for their “heretical articles” and put to death if they do not repent.

Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak was responding to recent articles in al-Riyadh newspaper that questioned the Sunni Muslim view in Saudi Arabia that adherents of other faiths should be considered unbelievers.

“Anyone who claims this has refuted Islam and should be tried in order to take it back. If not, he should be killed as an apostate from the religion of Islam,” said the fatwa, or religious opinion, dated March 14 and published on Barrak’s Web site.

Abdullah bin Bejad al-Otaibi, one of the two writers, said he feared for his life and called on the government to intervene. The second writer was Yousef Aba al-Khail. “My articles have been met with fatwas before but it never got to this level of directly inciting murder or directly accusing someone of no longer being a Muslim,” he told Reuters.

Muhammad Al-Arifi is another scheduled Saudi speaker at the Tayyibun conference, again by video. He too has quite a taste for violence:

There is no doubt that a person whom Allah enables to sacrifice his soul, and to fight for the sake of Allah, has been graced with a great honor. The Prophet Muhammad said that the dust of battle for the sake of Allah and the smoke of Hell shall never meet in a man’s nose.

Devotion to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of His religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer.

Allah said that if a man fights the infidels, the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight [the Muslims]. By Allah, the infidel countries today – the US and its allies – dare to fight the Muslims, to rape their women and turn them into widows, and to inflict their corruption on Islam and the Muslims on a daily basis only because they see that the Muslims do not even consider fighting the infidels and conquering their countries.

The Koranic verses that deal with fighting the infidels and conquering their countries say that they should convert to Islam, pay the jizya poll tax, or be killed. If the Muslims had implemented this, we would not have reached the humiliation in which we find ourselves today.

The Tayyibun Institute promotes a nasty fringe version of Islam which imperils the multiple targets of its hatred. It should never be allowed to organise a conference inside a mosque that really does oppose extremism.

Over the last five years the East London Mosque has received public sector funding totalling £2.6 million.