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Ebrahim Bham – A Perfect Preacher for Palestine Expo

When Ismail Patel and his Friends of al-Aqsa group organise a conference on Palestine, one can be confident that the speakers will be suitable for the cause. Namely, hating Israel and loving Hamas. This is Mr Patel’s lifelong mission.

Sure enough, the prominent South African preacher Ebrahim Bham is on the bill for Mr Patel’s Palestine Expo, which will be held next weekend at the QE II Centre in Westminster.

Mr Bham’s preaching record shows that he is a perfect match for Mr Patel.

The Israeli People? Nazis!
In a sermon on Israel, Bham knows exactly where to turn. Tell people the Israelis are like the Nazis. First he quotes Goebbels:

“People tell me that Jews are human beings. Yes, I know they are human beings. Just as fleas are also animals. Just as fleas are also animals, they are also part of human beings like that.”

Those words, he then says, explain Israelis today:

Using that example, the psyche of the whole people seems to be to mete out the very same treatment to others the way was meted out toward them. And that seems to be the psyche. That they don’t regard Palestinians as human beings.

Note the slur on the entire Israeli people rather than a politician, a party, or the IDF.

Rightly, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) includes “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” as one example of antisemitism in its working definition.

Our government has formally adopted the IHRA working definition.

Furthermore, Bham says, it is the “nature” of the Israelis that makes a two state solution impossible:

The reason they will not agree to it, it bounds them to a certain boundary and they are by nature expansionists who do not want to be bounded by a certain boundary. Because when they have a boundary, they can’t expand, they have to accept it.

Rejecting Jews and Christians
Bham doesn’t have it in for Israelis alone. Oh no. All Jews and Christians are agents of Satan, he says in another sermon:

For us to expect otherwise, or to try and appease the Americans or the Western world is naïve in the extreme. The Qur’an tells us “the Yahood [Jews] and the Nasara [Christians] will never be pleased with you.” You can never appease them until you follow their religion, their way of life, and we are not prepared to do that. We will never be able to do that. It is naïve to expect otherwise.

Then secondly, the aims, the objectives, the goals of Islam are completely opposed to what they believe, are completely opposed to their dreams, objectives and goals. So they are fulfilling their evil urges. They are fulfilling their evil urges, acting as agents of Shaytaan [Satan] in employing instruments, methods and plots against Islam and the Muslims.

Bham repeatedly uses the disparaging term kuffar for disbelievers in this sermon and concludes with a call to “instil fear in the hearts of your enemies and the enemies of Islam and the Muslims”.

Proud Support For Harsh Sharia Punishments
As for Muslims, they need to be kept in line by way of brutality. In another sermon, Bham tells Muslims they must stand up for the harshest sharia punishments and see opponents of sharia as nothing but haters to be rejected:

We need to be careful because there are attempts made to win over your heart and mind. So thus, through the means of very slick propaganda and very slick slogans, sometimes when it comes with regard to the hudud, the laws of almighty Allah, the penal law, cut the hand of the thief, stone the adulterer and the adulterers who are married, we should make no apology with regard to it.

We should never allow someone to say that “no, this is wrong because it deprives, it’s deprivation of human rights”. Never! Maybe it not practised for whatever reason, but we believe it is a command of Allah, it is full of wisdom. Don’t let them ever tell you, make you say, that this is barbaric. If you have said that, then they have won over your heart and mind also. Don’t ever let that happen. Don’t give them your mind. Because they cannot take it until you give it to them.

You know it is not unexpected for them do what they are doing, because Allah has told us they are going to do it. Hatred emanates from their mouths. What is in their hearts is even more worse than what emanates from their mouths.

Got that? Opposing punishments that are indeed barbaric is simply “slick propaganda” of “haters”.

Standing Up For Jihad and A Caliphate
Let’s talk about jihad and the caliphate. Mr Bham is quite keen on both topics.

Bham does say he opposes Islamic State. However, his message is part of the problem: he insists that Muslims must stand up for the concept of jihad. In a 2015 sermon against Islamic State, he says:

Now, jihad is a tower in the castle of Islam. We can never, ever deny the aspect of jihad. Jihad is something that is part and parcel of Islamic teachings. For the sake of being politically correct, we can say “no, we don’t believe in jihad”. But then you will be doing an injustice to your religion. And our religion has clearly made mention with regard to the fact that jihad is part and parcel.

Islam makes no hypocritical apology that there is sometimes a need to go for war.

Allah has given you permission to fight because you have been oppressed.

Bham does go on to stress that there are many rules for jihad, including a prohibition of killing non-combatants. Nonetheless, backing any divine sanction for jihad is perilous in these times.

Moreover, his “traditional” interpretation does underpin widespread religious support for Palestinian terrorist groups and al-Qaeda jihadis who have attacked Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Islamic State is not the only issue here.

In addition, Bham speaks up for the idea of a caliphate later in the sermon:

There was a time when the caliphate was a central leadership. Who doesn’t aspire to be under a central leadership where people are not carved out by the way the Sykes-Picot had carved out people in unnatural borders, but carved out on the basis of the commonality of your faith? Who wouldn’t want that? That you come together on the basis of the Kalima La Ilaha Illa Allah [the words there is no God but God] and you choose a person who is the most worthy to lead you. Who wouldn’t want that particular situation, the centrality of leadership of believers? It is something that each and every one will aspire to.

Islamic State’s mistake is essentially “procedural”, you see:

But let us look at situations. There is an aspect with regard to a procedure with regard to it. And sometimes the procedure is not met, it will not be able to be there. Sometimes a concept is good, but if the conditions are not there to be able to implement that concept, it doesn’t mean you are against the concept.

Allah says that the thief who steals, according to Islam, his hands must be cut. If we don’t implement it here, it doesn’t mean we deny the commands of almighty Allah. We do not believe that this is the place for us to implement it.

An obvious answer to this argument from an impatient and angry young man is “well, why not here and now, if all of this is so glorious?”. Preachers like Bham can say they oppose Islamic State as much as they like. The truth is that they help to open the ideological roads which have brought the recruits streaming in.

Jamiatul Ulama South Africa Statements
Bham is the Secretary General of Jamiatul Ulema South Africa (the Council of Muslim Theologians).

The council has openly supported Hamas. When Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal visited South Africa in 2015, the council was pleased:

The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa commends the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for welcoming the delegation of the Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine aka Hamas.

The visit of the Hamas delegation to South Africa is timely in the strengthening of ties and efforts in the fight for the liberation of Palestine.

It is about time that the world asserted the rights of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation with a total rejection of the notion that Israel is a benevolent entity, fighting terror in an existential survival.

The ANC, government and all the people of goodwill should reject the bully tactics of trying to isolate Hamas, a movement that enjoys grassroots support from the people of Palestine as one of their popular resistance fronts.

Another statement in 2014 included a ludicrous and hateful genocide accusation and supported Hamas:

The on-going attacks on Gaza have for the umpteenth time demonstrated Zionists’ genocidal intentions of annihilating the Palestinians in general and people of Gaza, in particular.

Yet, Hamas, a movement that is very much part of the Palestinian society and in the forefront of the resistance to the occupation and brutal attacks from the Zionists, is expected to agree to any kind of humiliating terms of a settlement as if Palestinian rights are abridgeable.

Going forward, both al Sisi and Netanyahu will have to recognise Hamas as a popular representative voice of Palestinians. Any settlement without Hamas is incomplete and the continued massacre of innocent civilians under the pretext of degrading Hamas’ capabilities for armed resistance will only count as war crimes for Tel Aviv.

In 2016, the council strongly criticised the local terror attack warnings of Western embassies in South Africa, including the UK embassy. Its statement, attributed to Bham, is remarkably obnoxious:

We call upon the foreign missions concerned to balance what they consider to be their responsibility towards their nationals’ safety with what is at stake for the host nation.

Foreign missions do South Africa a disservice by their pronouncements that without veracity, instil a sense of insecurity among people living in the country as well as those intending to visit.

The ailing South African economy does not need any more baseless scare-mongering, as it stands to lose from a drop in revenue through shocks in the tourism sector.

Furthermore, the issuing of the advisory that has coincided with the start of Ramadan, takes away the focus on the month-long spiritual devotion of Muslims in South Africa.

The advisory promotes an Islamophobic sentiment that is likely to lead to social discord and suspicion, instead of highlighting the virtues Islam promotes through the observance of fasting, acts of charity and spiritual reflection as the hallmarks of Ramadan.

The council provided no evidence for its claims that the warnings were based on a “discredited source”, “baseless”, and “without veracity”.

Finally, the council has endorsed a statement against Islamic State that included conspiracy talk (emphasis added):

Despite the ‘Islamic’ appellation, the ideology of the Islamic State is starkly unrelated to Islam and critically misguided. The IS has not only weakened the resistance against state sponsored terrorism in Syria, it serves as a whirlpool engineered to attract aspiring ‘jihadists’ from every nook and cranny of the globe to one single location and to pre-occupy them with sectarian conflict so that the imperialists can continue unhindered in their business of entrenching global hegemony.

”Difficult Conversations”
I would really like to have a “difficult conversation” with Sajid Javid. He had suggested he would deny the QE II venue to Palestine Expo. Then he relented and the event is scheduled to go ahead in the heart of Westminster, with Mr Bham in attendance.

I guess enough is never enough.