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Some questions for iERA

It’s been quite a while since The Islamic Far Right in Britain blog sent these questions to iERA.  I don’t know about you, but I’d be fascinated to hear their answers, which I’m sure would be most instructive.  However neither their original email, or follow ups, have been answered – and any attempts to raise the matter on their own sites have been swiftly deleted.  Let’s all remind ourselves of what these questions iERA seems unwilling to engage with were …

“We have recently been trying to establish whether Abdurraheem Green still holds the views expressed in some of his past videos. The footage linked to in this email shows Abdurraheem making derogatory statements about non-Muslims, Christians, Jews and homosexuals. So far we have received no responses to specific questions relating to these statements. We have been advised by the Mission Dawah Facebook page to contact you directly, and we very much hope that you will be able to address our concerns by responding in detail to the points listed below.

We are quite willing to accept that Abdurraheem’s views may have changed. In fact in 2009 he asserted:

“I have changed my views a lot over the past few years and I have also come to realise that I should be more careful in how I express myself – I regret some things I have said in the past.”

However, we would like a more precise indication as to whether this is effectively just an expression of regret that he had been caught out (“I should be more careful in how I express myself”), or whether – and how far – his views themselves have actually changed. It is a concern, for example, that Abdurraheem seems to be describing his past views in a disingenuous, if not positively misleading, way.

Abdurraheem has said:

“But even back then, when I saw things in more simplistic, black-and-white terms than I do now, I was not calling Christians or Christianity evil. I was talking about things that go on in Western society, like 14-year-olds having sex, and drug abuse and alcohol abuse.”

However in the video below Abdurraheem makes a point of saying that it is not sex, drugs or alcohol that is the ‘evil’ but the festivals of Christians; he berates Muslims for acknowledging the importance of these to their Christian friends:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RmjQTp1WCWE

“What is the benefit for that brothers and sisters for us living here in the West? We are surrounded with evil. We are surround by people who are indulging in the worst type of evil. I don’t mean they’re drinking alcohol, they’re taking drugs, they’re fornicating. The worst type of evil is shirk. The worst type of evil is kufr. The worst type of evil is making partners with Allah, and denying Allah and turning away from their lord and their religion. This is the worst type of evil. So we are surrounded by that…We are surrounded by evil but we do nothing to change it? We do nothing to call the people to Islam? We do nothing to call the people away from shirk and kufr? No, many of us partake in it, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, happy shirk, happy kufr, subhanallah.

The objection to being exposed to festivals of other religions continues here, along with objections to sending children to non-Muslim schools:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Sm1BUf5ElsI

“…the Western university, I don’t call it education. You know what you get in your school? You don’t get education, you get indoctrination…And I caution you, not only concerning yourselves but certainly and even more your children. What are you putting your children into? What environment are you putting your children into? Their environment is Christmas…then what is it? It’s Easter…and then it’s the next thing…So we need to really open our own Muslim schools and our own Muslim universities but that is gonna take effort, it’s gonna take time, it’s gonna take money, it’s gonna take dedication.”

And here:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/islamic-boys-told-of-evil-aussies/story-e6frg6nf-1111112646557

“You know very well what takes place in these schools … it is all about evolution, Christmas, Easter, St Valentine’s Day – a barrage. And you expect your children to survive? You think you live in a sewer and you come up smelling of roses?”

“If we leave (Muslims) in these schools they will be destroyed.”

Q - Does Abdurraheem still object to sending children who have been raised as Muslims to non-Muslim schools? Does he object to them being taught about evolution and being exposed to the traditional festive celebrations of mainstream British society? Does he still think that it is appropriate to compare such schools to sewers?

Living in the land of non-Muslims

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RmjQTp1WCWE

“Here (England) we need to concentrate on our immediate problem and that is kuffar, we’re surrounded by them. We shouldn’t, in fact many ulama, many ulama they said that it’s not permissible to live in this land, it is not allowed to be in the land of the kuffar.

Many ulama they said the only, one of the only reasons, there are other reasons, but one of the only reasons that it is permissible to dwell and to live in the land of the kuffar is to call them to Islam.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XfeyiCd_Nc4

The other opinion is that it is an obligation upon the Muslim to leave the lands of the non-Muslims and to live in the lands of the Muslims. If you look at the various evidences, which we’re not gonna go into them all tonight, but if you look at the various evidences that the scholars bring forth it would seem that the strongest evidence is that it is not permitted for the Muslim to stay and remain and to live permanently in the land of the non-Muslims, meaning hijra is an obligation.”

Q – Is this a position that Green still holds? Why would being surrounded by non-Muslims be a problem for Muslims? Is ‘hijra’ an obligation?

Comments on the West and England

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uzp4umXFcgI

“In fact…the Muslim countries are falling headlong, head over heels trying to imitate the West and to run after the West. And that is mainly because they are totally unaware of the reality…But the reality is it’s not like Hollywood. It’s not like Hollywood. And you know, it’s remarkable, I don’t know about here but in England we have a lot of brothers coming over from Morocco and Algeria, and I know the brothers over there, and the sisters as well, have this image of the West, this glorified image of the West….bit by bit they start seeing the reality of what it is really actually like. And so many of them, Mashallah, start practising Islam and they start practising it very strongly, which they never did in their countries, because they saw for themselves the reality of the situation. They saw for themselves what it is really like. They looked behind, you know, the make up and they saw the reality of what is behind is an ugly old bag.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RmjQTp1WCWE

As one brother described it ‘the lion’s den’, this is the lion’s den. Brothers and sisters this England is where all this kufr of the Western world started from, the industrial revolution, the great British Empire. From here, the lion’s den. Why do we come here as Muslims? Is it even allowed for us to do that? To leave the lands of Islam, the lands where the mosque is everywhere, the lands where people all of them are fasting, the lands where even if there are children on the street they’ll learn something about Islam. But this place, even if we send our children to an Islamic school and we sit there and we teach them day and night, we’re afraid that they will fall into kufr. The lion’s den this is.”

Q – Does Abdurraheem still see England as an ‘old bag’ and the ‘lion’s den’ for Muslims?

Copying the dress of Western youth and acquiring the characteristics of non-Muslims

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VBxbN5FzA-Q

“So, you know, inshallah, it’s probably better for you and your religion not to try and follow those (Western) type of fashions and those type of things. But to say it’s haram, this is a big thing to say it’s haram. But generally we should be cautious of imitating and seeking to imitate and trying to make ourselves look like those people who are the people of unbelief. And this is an extremely unhealthy attitude…But this thing where you want to look like them, you want to imitate them, the way they dress you want to dress, so this is very dangerous. It’s very dangerous because inevitably you will start to act like them.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/islamic-boys-told-of-evil-aussies/story-e6frg6nf-1111112646557

“Merely living in the company of evil people will inevitably begin to rub off on us and we will begin to acquire their characteristics.”

Here he expresses his lack of feeling about the death of non-Muslims:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SyKGVKhn1Us

I don’t really get very sad when, you know, a non-believer dies…We say that when someone who is a non-believer, especially someone who is a caller to disbelief, and I mention, for example, two particular personalities that died recently – Lady Diana and Mother Theresa, both of them ardent callers to disbelief in Allah subhana wa ta’ala, So hamdulillah I remember when my dad came, I actually, I was staying with my parents and my dad came down and told me, you know, early in the morning, you know, that Lady Diana had died, you know…hamdulillah…hamdulillah” (laughter from audience).

Q – What are the characteristics of non-believers that Muslims must avoid? Does Abdurraheem still feel this way about the death of non-Muslims?

Supporting non-Muslims against Muslims and the Taliban

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_U-_F5NDi4Y

“The one thing I thought is worth mentioning, in fact I will say it is important to mention it brothers and sisters especially in this time, is the action of supporting the disbelievers against the Muslims. Supporting the disbelievers against the Muslims is in fact kufr, it is disbelief. This is something that has been clearly stated by Allah (SWT) in the Quran, that to aid the unbelievers against the believers is an act of kufr, of disbelief.

Brothers and sisters you can support the kuffar against the Muslims even by a word...For example, slandering and attacking the Muslims unjustly, such as you find many Muslims have done this about the Taliban. Slandering them and attacking them and reviling them based upon news that has come from the disbelieving media, helping the kuffar against the Muslims.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YvRyYoo3MD0#!

“…they say ‘Oh the Taliban, oh the such and such they’re implementing the shariah.’ In the times when Islam was producing the greatest scientists in the world, when scientists, Muslim scientists were discovering optics, when they were discovering the secrets of medicine, when algebra was being invented, when they discussed theories of gravity and atomism, the same shariah was being implemented.”

Q - What are Abduraheem’s views on the Taliban now? Does he think that it is impermissible for a Muslim to side with non-Muslims against Muslims, even when the latter are the Taliban? How does he view the many Muslims, inside and outside Afghanistan, who deplore the Taliban?

Jews

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_7I3xg0bJlo

“Why don’t you take the Yahoudi [Jew] over there, far away, so his stench doesn’t disturb us OK?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NCdtiCH8sJE

“Ataturk was an extremely, thoroughly unpleasant, nasty kafir. He was a Jew, he was a Jew. And not only was he a Jew, he belonged to a sect of the Jews that even the Jews think are far astray.”

Q – Does Abduraheem still stand by these anti-Semitic remarks?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XLDDENkS7Wo

“If we want to go into this it’s easy for me to prove if anyone has knowledge that what I said is right, OK? For example, open Bukhari you will find the hadith that if you find the Jew or a Christian walking down the street, push them to the side. It is well-known from what Umar ibn al-Khattab and the khulafa ar rashidin used to implement, that the Jew and Christian was not allowed to ride on a horse when the Muslim is riding on a horse. They would have to walk. Allah he said in the Quran about the jizya that you, that fight the people of the book, Allah (SWT) said, it’s in the Quran, fight the people of the book and those who do not believe that what Allah has made lawful as lawful and what Allah has made unlawful as lawful, until they pay the jizya and feel themselves subdued. The purpose of the jizya is to make the Jew and the Christian know that they are inferior and subjugated to IslamOK?In the Muslim state, although the Jew and Christian is free to practice their religion, this is allowed, but they can not display their cross and even in the time of Umar they were not allowed to re-construct or construct new churches. All of this is to create an atmosphere where the, it is encouraging the people to come to iman and Islam, not to remain upon kufr and misguidance. Yes there is, we do not force people, we do not say ‘You must become Muslim or we kill you.’ That’s not correct. But it is from Islam to create an environment where people are pressurised and encouraged to be upon the path of haq and we do not encourage people to be on the way of….Although the sharia allows the Jew and the Christian to practice their religion in an Islamic country it does not encourage it.”

Q – Does Abduraheem still believe that Jews and Christians are inferior to Muslims and ought to be treated as such, at least in Islamic states? Is there in fact a hadith which recommends that Muslims push Jews and Christians to the side of the road, and if so, does Abduraheem still regard this as salutary advice? Does Abduraheem still believe that, in a Muslim state, Jews and Christians should be made to feel inferior to Muslims (by e.g. paying a special, discriminatory tax) and be prevented from constructing churches?

Homosexuals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4zxC9WS2oz0

“First of all I don’t like to use this word ‘gay’. This word ‘gay’, to use it is already to be fooled by the propaganda of these people, OK? This word is used in order to make this evil and vile act acceptable in society. They should be called at least homosexuals, this is the least. Better to use a more derogatory term like sodomites, this is a better term…If you believe that homosexuality is permissible and it is alright to be a homosexual, then this takes you out of the fold of Islam and you become a kafir.”

Q - Does Abduraheem still believe that homosexuality is evil and that people who indulge in it should be referred to using derogatory terms such as ‘sodomites’? Does he still hold that any Muslim who thinks it’s okay to be homosexual should no longer be considered a Muslim? Does he think that such Muslims should be regarded as apostates?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=J8kBSPdCtQc

“It’s a criminal offence in England to revile someone because of their homosexuality. So now it has been made a crime to hate the crime. Can we accept this as Muslims? Can we say that Islam is compatible with this? Does any person in this room think that this type of ideology is compatible with what Allah has revealed? I hope not.”

Q – Abdurraheem is saying here that Muslims must not accept that reviling a homosexual person is a crime. Does Abdurraheem now condemn homophobic comments made towards gay people and their lifestyle?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T2iXVuQofLY

“…if they want to make homosexuality halal, they make it halal. If they want to make beer halal, they make it halal. Wallahi, if they want to make it compulsory for you to experience some, you know, homosexuality, ’cause after all it’s natural, they tell us now yes? They can make it law, they’ll make it law.”

Q – The comment on ‘compulsory’ homosexuality has been used in a number of Abdurraheem’s talks. Was this intended as a joke or is it believed to be a possibility?

http://www.islamsgreen.org/islams_green/2006/02/terrible_and_br.html

Such crimes thus need suitable and effective punishments that act as a sever warning to others. A public crime deserves a public punishment.

Adultery is punishable by death, and a slow and painful death by stoning.

All of this also goes some way to help understand way acts of homosexuality are similarly treated so harshly.”

Q – Does Abdurraheem think that, in an ideal state, homosexuals and adulterers should be punished in this way?  Would he like to see Britain become such a state and, if not, why not?

Democracy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=T2iXVuQofLY

“How many people say to you, even the shariah ‘Oh the shariah that’s for then, the law of the jungle. That’s old, harsh punishments, chopping off hands, stoning people to death. You know we don’t need that any more we have now Western liberal law.’ Subhanallah. And how many Muslims today you find calling for democracy? Do people know what is democracy? I like to have good opinion about my Muslim brothers, I think they only say that because they don’t know what democracy is, they’re ignorant.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8kBSPdCtQc

“Let us ask if democracy means that sovereignty is with the people, that the people have the right to decide what’s halal and haram, and it’s up to them, then no Muslim with any mustard seeds-worth of imam can agree with this.

So on the basic very philosophical level we have to say Islam is not compatible with democracy. If we mean by democracy that people have the right to legislate and people have sovereignty.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YvRyYoo3MD0

“They want us to change our religion, they’ve made it clear they now want us to so-called ‘liberate our women’ as they call it. They want us to adopt democracy, and I talked about democracy the other night, which is kufr – making man the ruler and not Allah.”

Q – Does Abdurraheem still believe Islam to be incompatible with democracy?

Women

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BXJBj7Rj0yg

And don’t we all recognise that governments are allowed to use some type of force in order to arrest such people? And to prevent them from their harm? Yes or no?“

“So we recognise that those in authority have the right to use force if they have to prevent some evil taking place. What is the problem therefore that Islam has given the head of the household some allowance to use a type of force in order to prevent his family from falling into evil?

So if your relationship is like that then you turn your back on your wife, your wife is gonna feel sad and she’s gonna relent to that. Even if this after some time does not work then the husband is allowed, to prevent her from evil, to apply some type of physical force. This is a type of very light beating. In fact, as some scholars mentioned it is to hit with the miswack, but what we know from the prophet is this type of beating is not allowed to leave any type of mark. It is not allowed to break the skin, does not allow to break a bone or even leave a mark on the skin. A beating that is that severe is forbidden and this is a type of assault, and is haram, and a crime in Islam to treat your wife like that. But a type of physical reprimand in order to bring her to goodness is allowed.”

Q – Does Abdurraheem still believe that it is permissible for a husband to physically abuse his wife in order to “bring her to goodness”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eRs7Us-a6CU

Ignorance of these fundamental facts has led promoters of feminism to believe that both sexes should have the same responsibilities. In reality woman differs profoundly from man.”

And of course this exposes the lie of the claim of the Western world to be motivated by science because we do not find them promoting this ideology that has now been proven by science, rather they still continue to promote the misguided notion that men and women are the same, that both men and women should be able to work, that both men and women should be able to do the same things and should be encouraged to.

But it is our responsibility and because of that Allah requires that the woman is obedient to her husband. That when he tells her to do something and he commands her she should do her best if it’s within her capability, if, this is important, if it’s within her capability she should do it.”

Q - Does Abdurraheem think women should be discouraged from taking on roles and jobs that are traditionally those of the man, even if they are quite capable of doing them? Should a woman obey her husband if he commands her not to take such a job?

iERA

In the introduction section of iERA’s Universal Press Pack it states:

“Our work is focused on empowering Muslims to articulate their beliefs and practices to non-Muslim audiencesWe believe this is important as community tensions and related problems arise from a lack of dialogue and discussion. It is through engaging with others that fears and anxieties associated with a lack of knowledge can be reduced, thereby strengthening social and communal ties.

The aim of iERA is to present the religion of Islam in a warm and intelligent way, appropriate to social context. Through this we aim to get Muslims to pro-actively engage with different communities and work for the welfare of all members of society.”

The need for dialogue and discussion with non-Muslim audiences is essential, especially considering some of the comments on non-Muslims highlighted in this email.

The ‘iERA and anti-Semitism’ section says:

“iERA and some of its speakers have been charged with accusations of anti-Semitism. This is a charge that we categorically reject and the fallacy of this accusation can be easily seen through both our words and deeds. We would like to formally express that we do not under any circumstances promote, condone or support discrimination and enmity towards the Jewish people.”

The ‘words’ on Jewish people in this email would most definitely count as ‘discrimination’. Unless and until they are publicly retracted and condemned it is impossible to take the above paragraph seriously.

In the ‘Abdurraheem Green, Homophobia and Misogyny’ section it says:

“Mr. Abdurraheem Green has been accused of homophobia despite the fact that he has a track record of engaging with members of the LGBT community in social and philosophical dialogue for a number of years.

The offending quote is mentioned here in a discussion of the deterring punishments in Islamic Law:

‘The “harm” of the punishment for adultery is offset by the need of the “benefit” and protects the wider society. All of this also goes some way to help understand way (sic) acts of homosexuality are similarly treated so harshly’.

One has to understand the context of Islamic criminal code to appreciate that any act of sexual penetration in public, heterosexual or homosexual is punishable in an Islamic state. This is far-removed  from anything that can be seen as inciting hatred or discrimination against the LGBT community.”

Needless to say, some of the quotes highlighted in this email would be seen as strongly homophobic, and as intended to incite “hatred or discrimination against the LGBT community”. Unless Abdurraheem and iERA publicly retract and apologise for these comments, and ensure that their speakers do not make any such comments in future, once again, these rebuttals cannot be taken seriously.

Q - Apart from the exceptionally harsh punishments for sex in public, would the Islamic criminal code (or iERA’s understanding of it) allow for public displays of homosexuality e.g. Gay Pride parades, holding hands or kissing or would these rights be removed? What would happen to homosexuals who did not have sex in public but openly lived together and did not deny that their relationship was sexual?

“With regards the charge of misogyny, Mr. Green has clearly stated, in no uncertain terms, that the prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon Him) said “The best of you are those  who are best to their wives.” Mr. Green. has stated with regards to striking one’s wife: ”this is not an excuse for a man to beat his wife…it is not allowed just for any reason, cos you’re angry or you’re upset because the dinner is not ready.”

Most people in our society would argue that a man should not be allowed to beat his wife for any reason. The quote above from iERA suggests that you believe that there are acceptable reasons for a man to beat his wife, even if “only lightly”.

 Does iERA believe that it is permissible for a husband to physically reprimand his wife in some situations? If so, what would those situations be?

We are concerned by the lack of consistency and clarity in the signals iERA is sending out, and of course by the vile and hateful comments made by Abdurraheem.  This kind of hate speech, and the apparent hypocrisy of those who seem to want to gloss over it, helps to generate distrust of the Muslim community in the UK and even increase support for groups such as the EDL.  If we do not receive a comprehensive answer to all our questions we will have to draw our own conclusions about the views of Abdurraheem and about the motives and goals of iERA.”