The number of Britons converting to Islam has doubled in 10 years yet more than a third of people in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life.
- Shari'ah law
Born in France into a secular family, Rav David Touitou, Shass candidate in the city of Ashdod, defines himself as an Orthodox Zionist. He is a rising and influential figure in French-speaking Judaism, Chabad and Breslev movements.
Touitou believes every European is responsible for the historical atrocities committed by Rome. They call our erasure the war of Gog and Magog, the famous and necessary war they have all been waiting for. What we are going through in France, and in Europe, is scary but good news for them. Stating the Messiah will come only when Europe and Christianity have fallen completely.
The Gog prophecy is meant to be fulfilled at the approach of what is called the "end of days", but not necessarily the end of the world. One view within Christianity is more starkly apocalyptic, making Gog and Magog, here indicating nations rather than individuals, allies of Satan against God at the end of the millennium, as described in the Book of Revelation.
They appear in the Quran in chapter Al-Kahf as Yajuj and Majuj, primitive and immoral tribes that were separated and barriered off by Dhu al-Qarnayn ("He of the Two Horns") who is mentioned in the Quran as a great righteous ruler and conqueror. Some contemporary Muslim historians and geographers regarded the Vikings as the emergence of Gog and Magog.
In 1996, the grand mufti of Cyprus, shockingly, accused Charles III - the new British king - of secretly being a Muslim. "Did you know that Prince Charles has converted to Islam. Yes, yes. He is a Muslim. I can't say more. But it happened in Turkey. Oh, yes, he converted all right,” the late Nazim Al-Haqqani said. King Charles even once revealed that he had been learning Arabic in order to understand the Quran better - a fact praised by Cambridge Central Mosque’s imam.
Charles has previously described Islam as possessing “one of the greatest treasuries of accumulated wisdom and spiritual knowledge available to humanity” - a tradition he said was obscured by a drive towards “western materialism”. In a 2013 speech to the World Islamic Economic Forum in London, Charles III displayed detailed knowledge of Islamic finance, and the benefits he believed it could bring to global financial markets.
The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.
Hijra in Arabic means 'migration' or 'emigration'. In Islam, the Hijra refers to the 200 mile journey Muhammad made from his hometown of Mecca to the city of Medina in order to escape religious persecution. However, Muslims remember the Hijra not as an act of weakness but instead as a strategic act of triumph that enabled the foundation of the Islamic community. For Muslims, the Hijra is the pivotal moment that changed the face of the world forever. Dr Ibrahim B. Syed argues:
The Hijra was such a crucial defining moment for the early Islamic community that they decided that the Islamic calendar should start with this event. Some of the transitions between the Meccan era and the Medinan era caused by the Hijra included:
- Transition from Muslims representing a small, persecuted religious minority to a strong regional power with allies.
- Transition from an informal group of believers to a political community/state with a strong centralised leadership and constitution. This represented the start of Islam as a political and religious force.
- Transition from a local focus on converting the Quraysh tribe in Mecca to a universal focus on reaching all people with the word of God.
For these reasons, the Hijra is often cited as the beginning of the Islam. Before the Hijra, it is usually argued, Muhammad and his followers were a weak and disorganised group of friends. After the Hijra, this small community became a powerful regional entity which was capable of winning wars against their enemies and conquering new territories.
In classical Islamic law (sharia), the term refers to armed struggle against unbelievers, while modernist Islamic scholars generally equate military jihad with defensive warfare. In Sufi circles, spiritual and moral jihad has been traditionally emphasized under the name of greater jihad. The term has gained additional attention in recent decades through its use by various insurgent Islamic extremist, militant Islamist, and terrorist individuals and organizations whose ideology is based on the Islamic notion of jihad.
Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means "striving" or "struggling", especially with a praiseworthy aim. In an Islamic context, it can refer to almost any effort to make personal and social life conform with God's guidance, such as struggle against one's evil inclinations [inner ("greater")], proselytizing, or efforts toward the moral betterment of the Muslim community (Ummah), though it is most frequently associated with [external ("lesser")] war.
The sense of jihad as armed resistance was first used in the context of persecution faced by Muslims, as when Muhammad was at Mecca, when the community had two choices: emigration (hijra) or jihad. Jihad has traditionally been divided into "greater jihad" (inner struggle against sinful behavior) and "lesser jihad" (military sense). Early Islamic thought considered non-violent interpretations of jihad, especially for those Muslims who could not partake in warfare in distant lands.
Most classical writings use the term jihad in the military sense. Rules of Jihad prohibit attacking or molesting non-combatants, which include women, children under the age of puberty, elderly men, people with disabilities and those who are sick. Diplomats, merchants and peasants are similarly immune from being attacked. Monks are presumed to be non-combatants and thus have immunity too; similarly places of worship should not be attacked. Even if the enemy disregarded the immunity of noncombatants, Muslims could not respond in kind.
The jihadist flag is a flag commonly used by various Islamist and fundamentalist movements as a symbol of jihad. It usually consists of the Black Standard with a white text of the Shahada (Islamic declaration of faith) emblazoned across it in calligraphy style writing. Its usage was widely adopted by Islamist groups and jihadists during the 1990s and early 2000s. Aside from Islamism, the flag has also been used by various terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL/IS/Daesh), al-Shabaab, Chechnyan Mujahideen and Hizbul Islam.
The variant used by the Islamic State, and before that by the Islamic State of Iraq (since c. 2006) depicts the second phrase of the shahada in the form of a depiction of the supposedly historical seal of Muhammad. Used in their beheading videos; the flag is banned in a number of states around the world, such as Germany.
In Islam, sunnah are the traditions and practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that constitute a model for Muslims to follow. The sunnah is what all the Muslims of Muhammad's time evidently saw and followed and passed on to the next generations. According to classical Islamic theories, the sunnah are documented by hadith (the verbally transmitted record of the teachings, deeds and sayings, silent permissions or disapprovals of Muhammad), and along with the Quran (the book of Islam), are the divine revelation (Wahy) delivered through Muhammad that make up the primary sources of Islamic law and belief/theology.
According to Muslim belief, Muhammad was the best exemplar for Muslims, and several verses in the Quran declare his conduct exemplary, and enjoin his followers to obey him. Sunnah provides a basis not only for major laws and rituals in Islam like how to pray, but for "even the most mundane activities", such as the order in which to cut fingernails or the proper length of a beard. The classical meaning that now prevails was introduced later in the late second century of Islam, when under the influence of the scholar Al-Shafi‘i, Muhammad's example as recorded in hadith was given priority over all other precedents set by other authorities.
Shari'ah law is the law of the Islamic religion and is derived from the Koran. Shari'ah councils call themselves councils because they deal with aspects of Islamic law. It is increasingly running parallel to the UK's own judicial system. Appearing in the UK during the 80s there are around 30 Sharia 'councils' in the UK but these are not Sharia courts of law. Little is known about the councils – even down to how many there are in the UK. Some, like Birmingham’s, are large and long established; others are informal, backroom affairs.
The shari'ah councils are often accused of operating a “parallel legal system” in the UK, but their rulings have no legal standing here or abroad, and they have no enforcement powers. As unofficial bodies, they also have no jurisdiction over custody or financial issues. What they rely on is the weight that religious rulings carry in the Muslim community. Individual imams also carry out the same functions, complicating their definition. Prompted by fears that they were discriminatory, Theresa May launched a government inquiry in May 2016. Just a month later, the Home Affairs Committee announced its own. In December, the Casey Review by Dame Louise Casey into integration included claims that sharia councils:
Capital punishment in Islam is traditionally regulated by the Islamic law (Shari'ah), which derived from the Quran, ḥadīth literature, and sunnah (accounts of the sayings and living habits attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad during his lifetime). Crimes according to the sharīʿa law which could result in capital punishment include apostasy from Islam, murder, rape, adultery, and homosexuality.
Lethal stoning and beheading in public under sharia is controversial for being a cruel form of capital punishment. These forms of execution remain part of the law enforced in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Mauritania. Amputation, is the removal of part or all of a body part enclosed by skin.
Within the context of Islam, it refers to the removal of the hands or feet. Today in Saudi Arabia, for example, amputation for criminal punishment is not performed by a medical professional but rather by the designated professional executioner who also earns his living beheading people. Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi, Saudi Arabia's leading executioner, describes amputation:
Amputation is used as punishment for theft in Nigeria, which reintroduced shariah law in 1999. This, along with other shari'ah punishments, are "overwhelmingly" supported by the Nigerian Muslim population, and by 2003 three men already had their arms amputated for stealing; a goat, a cow, and two bicycles.
In Somalia, one man found guilty of stealing was put on public display as his hand was severed at the wrist and then dangled by the index finger. In 2008, the Islamic Republic of Iran saw five double amputations in a single week--five convicted robbers were each sentenced to have their right hands and left feet amputated.
In Islam, the belief that spiritual entities—particularly, jinn—can possess a person, (or a thing or location), is widespread; as is the belief that the jinn and devils can be expelled from the possessed person (or thing/location) through exorcism. Belief in the supernatural—witchcraft, sorcery, magic, ghosts, and demons—in the Muslim world is not marginalized as eccentric or a product of ignorance, but is pervasive among all social classes.
Belief in the supernatural creatures known as Jinn is both an integral part of Islamic belief, and a common explanations in society "for evil, illness, health, wealth, and position in society as well as all mundane and inexplicable phenomena in between". Jinn are thought to be able to enter and possess people, with evil jinn causing various maladies in the humans they possess. According to some Islamic sources, cases of 'pseudopossession', where the origin of someone's seizure or speaking in tongues is "physical or psychological", greatly outnumber cases of true spiritual possession, and it is unfortunate that faith healers have taken money to treat such cases.
The Shahada also transliterated as Shahadah, is an Islamic oath and creed, and one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.".
The Shahada declares belief in the oneness (tawhid) of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's messenger. Some Shias also include a statement of belief in the wilayat of Ali. A single honest recitation of the Shahada is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools.
Previous estimates have placed the number of Muslim converts in the UK at between 14,000 and 25,000, but Faith Matters's study suggests that the real figure could be as high as 100,000, with as many as 5,000 new conversions each year.
In October 2018, Sinead O'Connor converted to Islam, calling it "the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian's journey". The ceremony was conducted in Ireland by Sunni Islamic theologian Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri. She also changed her name to Shuhada' Davitt. On 26 July 2023, O'Connor was found unresponsive at her flat in Herne Hill, South London, and confirmed dead at the age of 56. The cause of death was not stated.
Islam is the second-largest religion in Europe after Christianity. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, large numbers of Muslims immigrated to Western Europe. By 2010, an estimated 44 million Muslims were living in Europe (6%), including an estimated 19 million in the EU (3.8%). They are projected to compose 8% or 58 million by 2030. According to an article published on the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, communities of Muslim immigrants remain strongly religious in some Western-European countries, in a trend which continues across generations. In the United Kingdom, 64% identify as "highly religious", followed by 42% in Austria, 33% in France, and 26% in Switzerland.
As of mid-2016, there were 5.7 million Muslims in France (8.8% of the country’s population) and 5 million Muslims in Germany (6.1%). The EU country in which Muslims make up the largest share of the population is Cyprus: The island nation’s 300,000 Muslims make up about one-quarter (25.4%) of its population.
Between mid-2010 and mid-2016, migration was the biggest factor driving the growth of Muslim populations in Europe. An estimated 2.5 million Muslims came to Europe for reasons other than seeking asylum, such as for employment or to go to school. Natural growth was the secondary driver: Among European Muslims, there were 2.9 million more births than deaths during this period. Religious switching is estimated to be a small factor in Muslim population change, with roughly 160,000 more people switching away from Islam than converting into the faith during this period.
According to a study investigating 67 honor killings in Europe 1989-2009 by psychologist Phyllis Chesler, published in the non-peer reviewed Middle East Quarterly journal, 96% of honor murder perpetrators in Europe were Muslim and 68% of victims were tortured before they died. According to her study, Muslim girls and women are murdered for honor in both the Western world and elsewhere for refusing to wear the hijab or for not wearing it strictly. Allegations of unacceptable "Westernization" of a Muslim woman accounted for 71% of the justifications of honor killings in Europe.
In 2014, the total population of Muslims in Great Britain was estimated to have increased to 3,115,000, of which about half (1,554,000) were born overseas. Across England and Wales the Muslim population numbered 3,047,000 (97.8% of all UK Muslims) or 5.4% of the total population. In 2011, it was reported that the United Kingdom could have as many as 100,000 converts to Islam, of which 66% were women.
Source: Office for National Statistics 2/8/2018
According to the Pew Forum, the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%), more than double the total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2010 at about 19 million (3.8%). If the current rate of migration of Muslims to Europe and the Muslim fertility rate remains constant, by 2030, people of Muslim faith or origin are predicted to form about 10% of the French population and 8% of the European population. In 2016, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was 30.4, 13 years younger than the median for other Europeans (43.8). Looking at it another way, 50% of all European Muslims are under the age of 30, compared with 32% of non-Muslims in Europe. In addition, the average Muslim woman in Europe is expected to have 2.6 children, a full child more than the average non-Muslim woman (1.6 children).
United Kingdom has two of the highest Muslim populations to be found anywhere in Europe, these cities are Bradford at 32.40% and Birmingham at 26.90% Local authorities in England and Wales with the highest percent of Muslims in 2011 were London Borough of Tower Hamlets 34.5% 87,696 and Borough of Newham 32.0% 98,456.
For the first time in France's history, the number of practicing Muslims has exceeded that of practicing Catholics among 18-59 year olds.
There are estimated to be almost 2,000 mosques and Islamic prayer rooms in the UK, serving 4.1 million Muslims, or 6.3% of the UK population. About 1500 of those Mosques were located in London as of 2016. These mosques in the UK range from humble and small 'house mosques' in residential areas to larger, purpose built mosques such as Regents Park Mosque in London.
In 2030 Muslim births are predicted to modestly exceed Christian births, thus making Islam the world’s fastest-growing major religious group. According to recent projections (sourced by the Telegraph Newspaper) the Muslim population in the UK in the year 2050 is likely to number around 13 million. Women make up a disproportionately large or rising share of converts to Islam in numerous Western countries. According to researchers based at Swansea University, of the approximately 100,000 people who entered the Muslim faith in the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2011, 75% were women.
The Respect Party was established in London by Salma Yaqoob in 2004. Arising in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it grew out of the Stop the War Coalition and from the start revolved largely around opposition to the United Kingdom's role in the Iraq War. Uniting a range of leftist and anti-war groups, it was unofficially allied to the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), a far-left, Marxist group. In 2005, Respect's candidate, bandwagon entrepreneur George Galloway was elected MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and the party came second in three other constituencies.
It has been suggested that Respect's connection to religious groups and mosques has been crucial to the party's success in many areas. It attracted some controversy for allegedly being tied to the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) [spokesman is Azad Ali, Vice-Chair of Unite Against Fascism (UAF)], a group based at the East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets.
Both The Telegraph and Dispatches [CH4 Britain's Islamic Republic 2010] have alleged that Respect activist Miah is an IFE member, although he has denied this. Respect's second largest single financial donor, Mohammad Naseem held a senior position in the Islamic Party of Britain.
Avowedly socialist and opposed to capitalism, it was Eurosceptic and promoted an anti-imperialist worldview. Due to its links with MAB, several commentators claimed that Islamism was a component of its ideology and regarded it as part of a wider alliance between socialists and Islamists within Western Europe. Respect's voting base was primarily among the British Muslim communities in East London, Birmingham and Bradford, where it built upon opposition to the Iraq War and disenchantment among leftist voters with the governing Labour Party.
Humza Haroon Yousaf
Humza Haroon Yousaf is a politician serving as First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party since March 2023. Humza previously served under his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon as justice secretary from 2018 to 2021, introducing a controversial hate crime bill. He then as health secretary from 2021 to 2023; during the later phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and was responsible for the mass roll out of the vaccination programme that began under his predecessor. In 2020, Yousaf expressed support for increasing the racial diversity among top government positions in Scotland. He stated "for 99% of the meetings I go to, I'm the only non-White person in the room [...]. Every chair of every public body is White. That is not good enough.":
Following the announcement of Sturgeon's intention to resign as Leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland, Yousaf won the 2023 SNP leadership election, defeating Kate Forbes with 52% to her 48% in the final stage. Yousaf was officially appointed first minister on 29 March 2023, becoming the youngest, first Scottish Asian and Muslim to serve in office. Yousaf is the son of first-generation immigrants: his father Mian Muzaffar Yousaf was born in Mian Channu, Punjab, Pakistan.
One of his flagship policies was the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, which he promised would streamline existing legislation as well as add additional protections to persecuted minorities while maintaining rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The bill has been criticised by the Catholic Church, the National Secular Society as well as writers, and in September 2020 it was amended to remove prosecution for cases of unintentionally stirring up hate, which could theoretically include libraries stocking contentious books. In October 2020, Yousaf said that the exception to the Public Order Act 1986 which allows people to use otherwise illegal language in their own homes should be abolished.
Shahid Rafique Malik became Britain's first Muslim Minister of International Development in 2007, and subsequently served as a Justice Minister and Home Office Minister. In his last Ministerial role at the Department for Communities and Local Government he led the British government's efforts in fighting extremism; overseeing race, faith, and community cohesion; developing The Tames Gateway (the largest development area in Europe); and managing the Fire and Rescue Service Department for Communities and Local Government.
Malik found controversy in February 2007 when he wrote, again in The Times, that the Muslim Council of Britain should "stop whingeing and show leadership." Referring to their decision not to play a part in Holocaust Memorial Day, Malik wrote: "Its flawed moral leadership places the MCB alongside the likes of the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, as nonattendees.". Although over a hundred MPs employed family members in their offices, Malik was found to be the only MP to have employed his father, who was paid between £13,566 to £25,195 per year from the taxpayer-funded MP's Staffing Allowance fund.
Islamic extremism or Islamist extremism, is used in reference to extremist beliefs and behaviors which are associated with the Islamic religion. The government of the United Kingdom, defines Islamic extremism as any form of Islam that opposes "democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs".
On 20 June 2020, shortly before 19:00 BST, a man with a knife attacked people who were socializing in Forbury Gardens, Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom. Three men died from their wounds, and three other people were seriously injured. A 25-year-old Libyan male refugee named Khairi Saadallah was arrested nearby shortly afterwards. Saadallah was a former member of the Libyan militant group Ansar al-Sharia. He was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder; he pleaded guilty. In January 2021, Saadallah was sentenced to a whole-life term.
Saadallah was convicted six times for 15 crimes between 2015 and 2019, of which eight were violent crimes, two involved possession of a knife and two involved racially or religiously aggravated harassment. A security source told Reuters that the suspect had come to the attention of Britain's domestic security agency MI5 in 2019 over intelligence that he aspired to travel for extremist purposes, and he had been investigated over jihadist concerns. Saadallah yelled "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, and a Muslim bystander heard him say "God accept my jihad" in Arabic. After his arrest, Saadallah told police that "[he] was going to paradise for the jihad what [he] did to the victims".
London Bridge attack
On 3 June 2017, a terrorist vehicle-ramming and stabbing took place in London, England. A van was deliberately driven into pedestrians on London Bridge, and then crashed on Borough High Street, just south of the River Thames. The van's three occupants then ran to the nearby Borough Market area and began stabbing people in and around restaurants and pubs.
The attacks were shot dead by Metropolitan Police and City of London Police authorised firearms officers, and were found to be wearing fake explosive vests. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including members of the public and four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. British authorities described the perpetrators as "radical Islamic terrorists". Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Manchester Arena bombing
On 22 May 2017, an Islamist extremist suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb as people were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande. Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and 1,017 were injured, many of them children. Several hundred more suffered psychological trauma. The bomber was Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old local man of Libyan ancestry.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility shortly after the attack. In March 2020, the bomber's brother, Hashem Abedi, was found guilty of 22 counts of murder and attempting to murder 1,017 others, and was sentenced to life in prison. The incident was the deadliest terrorist attack and the first suicide bombing in the United Kingdom since the 7 July 2005 London bombings.
The suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device, packed with nuts and bolts to act as shrapnel, in the foyer area of the Manchester Arena. According to evidence presented at the coroner's inquest, the bomb was strong enough to kill people up to 20 metres (66 ft) away. On 23 May, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, via the Nashir Telegram channel, said the attack was carried out by "a soldier of the Khilafah".
Jameah Islameah School
Jameah Islameah School was an independent Islamic school in East Sussex. The school was located on a 54 acre site and had residential facilities to house male students aged 11 to 16. The school was independently owned and the proprietor functioned as the principal. According to testimony from Al Qaeda suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, in 1997 and 1998, Abu Hamza and groups of around 30 of his followers held terrorist training camps at the school, including training with AK47 rifles and handguns, as well as a mock rocket launcher.
In 2003 or 2004, the grounds of the school were used for an Islamic-themed camping trip, at which Omar Bakri Mohammed lectured. The trip, which was advertised by word-of-mouth, was attended by 50 Muslim men, most of whom were members of al-Muhajiroun. On 1 September 2006 the Jameah Islameah school was searched by up to a hundred police officers as part of their operations, although no arrests were made. The local Sussex Police held a cordon around the site for 24 days in an operation that cost them over one million pounds.
Radicalisation is the process by which an individual or a group comes to adopt increasingly radical views in opposition to a political, social, or religious status quo. Radicalisation can result in both violent and nonviolent action – academic literature focuses on radicalisation into violent extremism (RVE) or radicalisation leading to acts of terrorism.
Abu Hamza, is an Egyptian cleric who was the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, England, where he preached Islamic fundamentalist views. In 2004, Hamza was arrested by British police after the United States requested he be extradited to face charges. He was later charged by British authorities with sixteen offences for inciting violence and racial hatred.
On 5 October 2012, after an eight-year legal battle, he was extradited from the UK to the United States to face terrorism charges and on 14 April 2014 his trial began in New York. On 19 May 2014, Hamza was found guilty of eleven terrorism charges by a jury in Manhattan. On 9 January 2015, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In 1979, Hamza entered Britain on a student visa. His initial reaction to life in Britain was to describe it as "a paradise, where you could do anything you wanted". After studying at civil engineering at Brighton Polytechnic Hamza gained employment as a bouncer in the strip bars of Soho under his original name from 1980 until 1983, when club baron Jean Agius was arrested and charged for conspiring to be a pimp. Agius alleges that Hamza may have also co-owned a club during this time.
Hamza was the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque from 1997, and a leader of the Supporters of Sharia, a group that believed in a strict interpretation of Islamic law. On 4 February 2003 (after being suspended since April 2002), Hamza was dismissed from his position at the Finsbury Park Mosque by the Charity Commission, the government department that regulates charities in England and Wales. After his exclusion from the mosque, he preached outside the gates until May 2004.
Sheikh Yasser al-Habib is a Kuwaiti Twelver Shia scholar, and the head of the London-based Khoddam Al-Mahdi Organization, as well as Al-Muhassin mosque in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire. Al-Habib was convicted of “questioning the conduct and integrity of some of the ‘companions’ of the prophet Muhammad” in a lecture he had delivered, and sentenced to 10 years in prison in Kuwait but freed through a clerical error of royal pardon. He fled the country first to Iraq, then to Iran before settling and claiming asylum in the United Kingdom.
Yasser Al-Habib promotes and enacts the practice of Tatbir which includes striking oneself with a form of a talwar "sword" on the head, causing blood to flow in remembrance of the innocent blood of Imam Husayn. Some Twelvers also hit their back and/or chest with blades attached to chains. Tatbir are contested among Shia clerics. While some traditionalist clerics allow believers to indulge in tatbir, modernist clerics deem it impermissible because it is considered self-harm, thus haram in Islam.
Abu Usamah at-Thahabi is an Imam at Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham, England. An American national born in New Jersey, he converted to Islam and studied at the Salafi-oriented University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic school popular with converts and international students. During Abu Usamah's tenure at Green Lane Masjid, he was among a group of preachers whom were the focus of the Undercover Mosque program which was first aired on 15 January 2007 by Channel 4. In the program, Abu Usamah was quoted, among other things, to have said that "Christians and Jews are enemies to Muslims", to have taught that "jihad is coming against the unbelievers", and to have referred to non-Muslims by use of the term "kuffar" which translates to "unbelievers" or people who reject Islam.
The story caused backlash that resulted in 364 viewer complaints to Ofcom. In addition to this, on 10 August 2017 the West Midlands Police also raised a formal complaint to Ofcom regarding what it considered to be a "completely distorted" view of the intended message by Abu Usamah and the other preachers. However, upon investigation of the matter Ofcom ruled in favour of Channel 4. The West Midlands Police also later apologised for their initial accusation, and offered £100,000 in compensation to Channel 4.
According to a report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, Usamah "advocates holy war in an Islamic state; preaches hatred against non-Muslims; that apostasy and homosexuality are punishable by death; and that women are inferior to men", following an undercover recording of him preaching to his congregation which featured in a Channel 4 Dispatches episode on radical Islam at British universities. During the documentary, Usamah also praised Osama bin Laden, and defended his right to freedom of expression, saying: "If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that's my freedom of speech, isn't it?".
Abu Izzadeen (born Trevor Richard Brooks) is a British spokesman for Al Ghurabaa, a British Muslim organisation banned under the Terrorism Act 2006 for the glorification of terrorism. Abu Izzadeen is a British citizen born on 18 April 1975 in Hackney, east London, to a Christian family originally from Jamaica. Brooks converted to Islam the day before he turned 18, on 17 April 1993, changing his name to Omar, but preferring to be called Abu Izzadeen. He is fluent in Arabic.
Abu Izzadeen met Omar Bakri Muhammed and Abu Hamza al-Masri at Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s. He visited Pakistan in 2001, before the 11 September attacks, as part of Al-Muhajiroun; he said he went there to give a series of lectures. He also said he had attended terror training camps in Afghanistan. He described the 7/7 suicide bombers in London as "completely praiseworthy". On the eve of the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks in London, he was filmed preaching to a group of Muslims in Birmingham mocking and laughing at those who believe in the war on terror and who feel a need to resist Islamic terrorism. He has openly stated that he wishes to die as a suicide bomber.
On 20 September 2006, Abu Izzadeen and Anjem Choudary disrupted Home Secretary John Reid's first public meeting with Muslims since his appointment. He called Reid an "enemy" of Islam. John Humphrys interviewed Izzadeen on the edition of 22 September 2006 of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. In a heated discussion Abu Izzadeen stated that his aim was to bring about Sharia law in the UK and that this should be achieved without following the democratic process but rather "in accordance to the Islamic methodology".
Wakefield Quran scandal
Four boys from Kettlethorpe High School were suspended after one of them, an autistic 14-year-old, brought a copy of the Islamic holy book onto the school site as a forfeit for losing a video game. It is alleged the book was “accidentally” dropped and “slight damage” was inflicted as a result. Police became involved in the episode, recording it as a “non-crime hate incident”.
The mother of the 14-year-old who brought the holy scripture onto the Kettlethorpe site told a local mosque that her son was “absolutely terrified” after he received “death threats”. She addressed the Jamia Masjid Swafia mosque, as did headteacher Tudor Griffiths, assuring those in attendance that her son had no “malicious intent” when he brought the Quran into school. Attendees at the mosque were told that “going forward” her son will be doing “more research on Islam”.
This quasi-judicial mosque hearing, denounced by observing members of the public as a Sharia Court, was supported by a West Yorkshire Police chief inspector despite no blasphemy laws or law or rule existing within the United Kingdom to revere or ‘respect’ any book.
Akef Akbar, a once conservative councillor, now an independent councillor and self-appointed arbiter, dismissed death threats to a child as nothing more than "passions flaring", echoing the responce by the mosque's imam. There has been no police action against (or expulsion of) pupils who issued death threats.
Local Labour Councillor Usman Ali (@UsmanAli4Ward5) issued a statement on Twitter in relation to events before deleting the tweet; he said:
All faithful Muslims were summoned (Dīn) to make strong feelings (“upset and hurt”) known to school headteacher and chief police officer investigating:
A tweet by Cllr Akef Akbar, suggests that rather than defusing and de-escalating the situation, he is actually on something of a robust investigative mission to ensure the school complies with sharia. Clearly, 'watered down' is precisely what is required.
Minister for Schools Nick Gibb condemned reported death threats against pupils from Wakefield who allegedly damaged a copy of the Koran as “totally unacceptable” adding that there is “no blasphemy law” in the UK and schools should be supporting “British values” including “individual liberty”.
It is outlandish that some felt it was necessary for an autistic child and his mother to be humiliated in such a public spectacle, displays a lack of humility, valued in British society, which is surely one of the most beautiful human attributes and worthy of respect perhaps even from God.
Batley Mohammed Cartoon Row
A teacher who received death threats after showing his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed is still in hiding a year later. The image, which was shown to children at Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire during a religious education class, sparked days of heated protests by parents and activists at the school gates.
The 30-year-old teacher, who was forced to flee his home, was suspended at the time but later cleared when an independent investigation found that he had not intended to cause offence. Paul Halloran, a family friend, revealed that the teacher, who has not been named, has found it ‘immensely hard’ to rebuild his life after the row. Speaking in a video posted online, Mr Halloran said:
People in Batley still feel ‘very raw’ about the way the teacher was hounded from his home, he added:
Purpose of Life, an aid group identified the teacher on Facebook; the Charity Commission gave an official warning. This event occurred months after another teacher, Samuel Paty, was murdered in France by an extremist. Paty had shown pupils a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on free speech, having first given Muslim children permission to close their eyes.