17 February 2011
Prior to the transmission of Channel 4’s Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence, a number of newspapers ran articles about the extremism and abuse in some mosques and madrassas. Muslim groups gave their reaction after the programme aired. The British Muslim Forum condemned abuse and bigotry but said that such incidents and attitudes were not widespread in the 2,000 Islamic institutions across Britain. It urged Channel 4 not to “fall in the trap of ‘Islam bashing’ or creating fear, hatred and racism against Muslims and their holy faith as has become fashionable these days by over-generalising and exaggerating such isolated incidents.”
The group also said it was “of extreme concern that the programme producers were aware of the incidents since July 2010 but failed to pass the information on to the relevant authorities, thereby compromising the health and safety of the children involved”.
Influential Sunni Ulema of Britain’s 2 million strong Muslim community have appealed to the Pakistan Army to continue the Operation Rah-e-Raast till the obliteration of the Taliban and their al-Qaeda supporters.
The unequivocal support for the military action against the Taliban came at a reference organised in the Central Mosque Brent to pay tribute to esteemed religious scholar Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi, who embraced martyrdom after being killed by a Taliban suicide bomber at Jamia Naeemia in Lahore, sacrificing his life to uphold the tolerant and peaceful teachings of Islam. The outspoken anti-Taliban cleric never shied from criticising the Taliban for bringing Islam into disrepute and for killing innocent Pakistani citizens and attacking the Pakistani defence institutions through their campaign of violence and intimidation. Dr Naeemi played a key role in facilitating the consensus of Sunni ulema against the Taliban’s version of Islam and declared suicide bombings as un-Islamic and anti-Pakistan.
The chair of British Muslim Forum, which represents over 500 Sunni mosques in the UK, Peer Habib-ur-Rehman, told The News that change was coming in the attitude of Pakistanis and they were now seeing Taliban as the biggest threat confronting Pakistan at the moment. He said the killing of Dr Naeemi should come as a wake up call to all Pakistanis.
The founder of the British Muslim Forum has said hate-filled Islamic extremists should leave the country. Senior Muslim scholar Sheiykh Allama Shahid Raza Naeemi OBE was speaking at an event to bring Kirklees (West Yorkshire) communities together.
He said: “To those extremists who are using and abusing the name of Islam by making silly ill-thought out statements, my message to you is leave this country if you are not happy. If you hate pork, if you hate other non-Muslims, if you hate the police, if you hate moderate Sufi Muslims, if you hate the British Government, then feel welcome to leave this country. We do not need you here to stir up hatred. There is no place for racism and extremism in Islam.”
In the first government-sponsored attempt to put in place a system of regulating Britain’s over 1,300 mosques to prevent radicalization, a new body of four major Muslim groups formed after the July 7 London bombings has drafted proposals on core standards and constitutions for the mosques. The new proposals have been drawn up by the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB), set up by the Al-Khoei Foundation, the British Muslim Forum, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain. MINAB was formed after the July 7, 2005 bombings.