British jihadist: UK should be afraid of terror skills I’ve learnt

July 2, 2014

A British jihadist fighting in Syria has signalled that the UK should be afraid of the terror skills he has learnt after posting a photo of apparent homemade bombs. A Twitter account believed to belong to Nasser Muthana, 20, shows an image of a stack improvised explosive devices in a garage. Alongside it is the stark warning: “So the UK is afraid I come back with the skills I’ve gained.”

Muthana, from Cardiff, appeared in a recruitment video Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis), last month. In another apparent Twitter posting, he shows a home-made weapon believed to be taken from an enemy Shia Muslim and adds: “Look what we found on this shi’i, glad tidings we’ll make sure his head is detachable.”

He describes himself as a “soldier of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham” on his Twitter profile and explains his beliefs as based on “a book that guides and a sword that supports it”.

Muthana’s younger brother Aseel, 17, is fighting alongside him and the teenager told the BBC he was willing to martyr himself for Allah. Aseel told BBC Wales programme Week In Week Out that there were “loads” of other men from Britain who have also joined up.

The comments made online by the men also appear to be celebrating the caliphate announced by Isis on Sunday and on Wednesday an 18-year-old from Cardiff was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences and police said they were investigating a possible connection to the British jihadists in the video.

Universities cancel Muslim cleric’s speaking tour over concerns about his anti-gay views

November 7, 2013

 

A Muslim cleric who preaches that gay people are worse than animals is at the centre of a fierce “free speech” row after being invited to speak at universities across the country. Mufti Ismail Menk was due to visit six universities – Oxford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow – next week. But the speaking tour was cancelled after student unions and university officials expressed concern about his views. The Zimbabwean cleric, who studied in Saudi Arabia, has described same-sex acts as “filthy,” “wrong” and synonymous with “acts of immorality”. He has been recorded as saying: “With all due respect to the animals, [gay people] are worse than those animals.”

Mr Menk was believed to have been invited by the universities’ Muslim students’ associations, many of whom were still advertising the event on their Facebook pages this afternoon. Glasgow University Muslim Association described the event as a “wonderful opportunity” on social media.

Cardiff University Islamic Society changed its Facebook photo to a picture of Mr Menk. University of Leicester’s Islamic Society described him as “entertaining, yet very pious” on its social media page. Leeds University Union Islamic Society withdrew its invitation two days ago after realising his views.

The National Union of Students said Mr Menk’s “reported comments are very concerning”. Ruth Hunt of Stonewall said: “Universities should always remain mindful that they have a duty to protect all of their students and to ensure balance in university discourse.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/universities-cancel-muslim-clerics-speaking-tour-over-concerns-about-his-antigay-views-8927902.html

Extremist Islamist leaders preaching to UK students, says study

Extremist Islamist leaders preached to crowds of students at almost 200 official events at universities including Cambridge in the past year, a study has revealed. Segregation at student events has become a widespread trend at many UK universities, a student equality group claims. Radical preachers spoke at universities including Cardiff and University College London (UCL) over the last year. Research found that segregated seating for men and women was promoted or implied at more than a quarter of the events, at 21 separate institutions, despite university rules forbidding it. Some of the speakers have a history of misogyny, promoting violence against homosexuals and advocating jihad against non-Muslims, as a new generation of extremist speakers inspired by radical clerics such as Abu Qatada tour campuses to spread their version of Islam. Anthony Glees, an intelligence and security expert consulted by the All-Party Parliamentary Homeland Security Group, said: “Clearly, there’s a failing in our higher education system. Student Rights, which was set up to tackle extremism on campuses and carried out the research, said universities were failing to provide students with work and study environments that are free from discrimination and harassment. The organisation said that universities were failing in the responsibilities to tackle discrimination, and called for better communication of policies and a closer monitoring of events to ensure that discrimination does not occur.

Cardiff’s Muslim Community Commemorates their Leader

13 May 2012

 

Yemeni sailors were some of the oldest Muslims who migrated to the UK more than a century ago. They mostly dwelled around Cardiff and opened the first mosque in the city as late as 1860. The Muslim community in the city is well established and formed strong community ties with the host Welsh.

 

Their religious ceremonies are welcomed by the non-Muslim groups and their century old annual procession had been dubbed by the wider community as a “Muslim Christmas”. The Muslim community has now decided to revive their annual procession for the memory of late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, founder of South Wales Islamic Centre.

Muslim Councillor Accuses UK Border Agency of Racism

23 April 2012

Britain’s Asian Muslim community has always been on the spot due to its distinct religio-cultural characteristics and fairly large proportion among the UK minority groups. Hence they have been very often targeted by the racist and/or Islamophopic motivations stemming from members of the host society as well as various government institutions.

A recent example of this transpired when a Muslim councillor from Cardiff spoke out and accused UK Border Agency (UKBA) of indirectly discriminating against Asian Muslims. The councillor Mohammed Islam claimed that UKBA staff has been checking on the businesses of every Asian and other ethnic minorities in the area to see if they are entitled to work.

Growing Number of Muslim Chaplains in the UK

Research by the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University has found that chaplaincy, usually associated with the Christian faith, is a rapidly expanding sphere of work for Muslim professionals.  Muslim chaplains play an increasing role in linking Muslim communities with public organizations; they can now be found in prisons, hospitals, airports, courts, higher education, and the military. The research project led my Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray aimed at exploring the background, training, role, and impact of Muslim chaplains in Britain. The project found that Muslim chaplains are highly motivated in their work and, especially those working in a health care context, had a “strong Islamic” justification for their work. Furthermore, the research found that ‘female chaplains played a vital role in client-family relationships and negotiations, and that Muslims chaplains have mostly integrated well within multi-faith chaplaincy teams’ (BBC News).

Deradicalisation Programme Successful in Saving Young Muslims from Extremism, Study Finds

11 April 2011

A study by the Universities Police Science Institute of Cardiff University has found that counterterrorism strategies have shown positive effects. In particular, it is reported that 1,000 young Muslims, who were at risk of being wooed by al-Qaida, have been monitored under a deradicalisation programme, the “Channel Programme”, which caused the number to decline by 50 per cent. The study also highlights that “Muslim communities have a higher level of trust and confidence in the police than the general population”, and paints a positive picture of the counterterrorism Prevent strategy.

Police in Terror Plot Meeting with Muslim Community

24 December 2010

Police have met Muslims at a Cardiff mosque to discuss the arrests of five men in the city suspected of terrorism offences. Properties across Cardiff have been searched by officers after dawn raids on Monday, when 12 arrests were made in total across the UK.

Police met community leaders at the Jalalia Mosque and Islamic Education Centre in Riverside, Cardiff, on Friday. Saleem Kidwai, of the Muslim Council of Wales, welcomed the visit, and said: “The chief inspector came in the mosque and talked to the community just to reassure them that we are all in this together and we have to deal with this together,” he said.

New Book: Chris Allen’s, “Islamophobia”

‘This timely and accessible book rests upon many years of careful research by a scholar whose early career has been devoted to understanding and critically evaluating the complex notion of Islamophobia. It will become a standard work of reference, as well as stimulating future discussion. There are insights in Allen’s work that deserve to be appreciated by students from a variety of disciplines, as well as a more general readership’.

-Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Director, Islam-UK Centre,
Cardiff University, UK

“Muslims in Britain: An Introduction” by Sophie Gilliat-Ray (Cardiff University) Cambridge University Press, June 2010

Archaeological evidence shows there was contact between Muslims and the British Isles from the 8th century. Beginning with these historical roots, Sophie Gilliat-Ray traces the major points of encounter between Muslims and the British in subsequent centuries, and explores Muslim migration to Britain in recent times. Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, politics, and geography, this comprehensive survey provides an informed understanding of the daily lives of British Muslims. It portrays the dynamic of institutions such as families, mosques and religious leadership, and analyses their social and political significance in today’s Britain. Through the study of the historical origins of major Islamic reform movements, it draws attention to the religious diversity within different Muslim communities, and sheds fresh light on contemporary issues such as the nature of religious authority and representation. It also considers British Muslim civic engagement and cultural life, particularly the work of journalists, artists, sports personalities, and business entrepreneurs.

Contents
Acknowledgements; Preface; Part I. Historical and Religious Roots: 1. The roots of Islam in Britain; 2. The development of Muslim communities; 3. Middle Eastern religious reform movements; 4. South Asian religious reform movements; Part II. Contemporary Dynamics: 5. Profiling British Muslim communities; 6. Religious nurture and education; 7. Religious leadership; 8. Mosques; 9. Gender, religious identity and youth; 10. Engagement and enterprise; Epilogue; Appendix: Source notes for researchers; List of references; Glossary; Index.