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Thought Experiments with Ismail Menk

Imagine a prominent and deeply conservative foreign Christian preacher was on his way to the UK to address his followers. He is on record saying this:

I was on a flight one day. I asked the bearded man seated next to me if he was a Muslim. He said yes, he was. I said “look, I don’t mean to be bad. I am about to change my seat because I am feeling a bit nauseous.” He says “you know what? We can actually get you locked up.” I said “for what?”. He said “because you are discriminating.” I said “what are you talking about? You can’t do that. I am feeling nauseous sitting next to you.”

The preacher continues:

In some countries it is prohibited to actually look down upon Islam. And in some countries the school syllabus has in it that you need to teach the children that Muslims are absolutely normal and if this is your faith there is no harm and no problem. This is what is being taught, forcefully, to the children of the Christians! Across the globe, in certain countries. May God help us. May we never see such days in our places.

I reckon such a preacher might be greeted with quite harsh criticism. His presence in the UK could even be deemed “not conducive to the public good” by the Home Office, which is excluding foreign right wing figures who might have been allowed to enter in the past:

“What’s new about the banning of Generation Identity activists such as Martin Sellner, Brittany Pettibone, and their increasingly alt-right friend Lauren Southern, is that the government has signalled that it’s going after ’softer’ targets on the hard right,” says Lowles.

“These are people who have huge reach on social media, they are peddlers of online hate, and as our recent State of Hate report highlighted, the online reach of right-wing hate preachers can have disastrous consequences.”

Now turn to reality in the shape of Ismail Menk, a popular Islamic preacher from Zimbabwe with 3.5 million followers on Twitter, 2.8 million on Facebook, and scores of videos on YouTube. The words above are his about homosexuals, slightly adapted for the thought experiment. Listen for yourself.

Menk appears to be fond of this this lovely anecdote – he recounts it again here.

Menk is due to speak at an event in Oldham, Greater Manchester this Saturday.

There’s more in his record. In this tirade, he rages about “filthy” homosexuals being “worse than animals”.

In this case, Menk has backtracked:

“On the issue of LGBT, let me clarify that I’m not homophobic. The statement I made back in 2011 which had me saying, “With all due respect to the animals, they are worse than those animals” was based on a misguided notion. I no longer believe that to be true. I make a full retraction of that statement.”

Shorter Menk: oops, I got caught.

Menk studied Islam at the Islamic University of Medina, historically a deep well of Salafi poison. It shows. Watch him here happily grinning about lopping off hands and feet under sharia law.

The person who has stolen, the hand is meant to be amputated. And if they steal again, subhanallah, the other hand. Allahu akbar. And if they want to steal again, the feet will come into play. And if they have no feet and no hands, then one wonders what will happen. I don’t know if we can cut their mouth. Allahu akbar.

As readers know, Mr Menk is not fond of music. Pop music is particularly evil. Its singers are devil worshippers who sacrifice doves backstage, you see.

They will murder people and spill blood, in order to appease the devil, so that they can become people who can control. Most of the singers, 99% of the pop stars that you have out there, belong to this category. They all sacrifice doves backstage. They all engage in satanic behaviour, they all belong to a cult…

Some do meet their just desserts, mind. Michael Jackson, for example. It is “just as well he’s died”, Menk says.

Pop stars have company. For example, did you know that Ahmadi Muslims are nothing less than a sign of the End Times?

Let’s turn back to our imaginary Christian preacher. In a relatively minor yet neatly telling episode, one sees that his contempt for Muslims is so intense that he urges his followers not to give a lift to a Muslim trying to get to a mosque. No, “leave him in the rain” rather than “collaborate” with “evil”. Well, if you want a lift to a pub in the real world, that should be your lot, Menk says.

Charming.

For its part, Singapore has had enough of Mr Menk.

Citing the banning of four foreign preachers – two Muslims and two Christians – from entering Singapore last year, Mr Shanmugam said preachers who espoused “violence, or spread ill-will towards other religions whether in Singapore or elsewhere” will not be allowed to speak here.

Mr Shanmugam also addressed criticism that the Government “overreacted” in banning the Muslim preachers, Mr Ismail Menk and Mr Haslin Baharim, last October.

He said Mr Ismail Menk’s teachings, in particular, were divisive, and the decision to ban them were “carefully considered”.

Said Mr Shanmugam: “We must preserve the harmony we have and to do this, we must not let extremist or segregationist teachings infiltrate our communities. Even a small number of persons propagating radical, or segregationist beliefs can be dangerous.”

I doubt our government will take the same view. So, let’s welcome Mr Menk to our Kingdom with a song, shall we. Trigger warning – free (gasp!) mixing!

Update 1: Mr Menk has been in the news again in Singapore just today:

Investigations found that Singaporean Mohamed Faishal Mohd Razali wanted to undertake armed violence overseas in various conflict zones including Syria. He was detained in April, said MHA in a statement on Friday (May 11).

The ministry said Faishal, who was not known to be a religious person, turned to the Internet sometime in mid-2016 in an attempt to improve his religious knowledge.

He began to take in the religious teachings of foreign preachers, including Ismail Menk and Yusuf Estes, who are known to preach segregationist and divisive teachings.

The authorities had barred both preachers from entering Singapore in October and November 2017 respectively, after finding out that they were set to preach on a religious-themed cruise that departed from and returned here.

Oh well, I suppose it would have been far worse if he had looked up pop stars on the web, eh.

Update 2: Here’s that old refrain from the East London Mosque:

“Any speaker who is believed to have said something homophobic will not be allowed to use our premises, whether that is us organising an event or someone else.”

And here’s the reality: