Practicing Islam in the United Kingdom has become as easy – if not easier – than in many majority-Muslim states, according to a leading British Muslim cleric. But concerns have been raised over rumors that the British government is preparing anti-terror legislation (known as Contest 2) that would classify British Muslims as extremists if they have refused to condemn the killing of British soldiers in conflict or have described homosexuality as a sin.
Supporting jihad in any form, including in the Palestinian territories, or promoting the institution of Shari’a law or the establishment of a Caliphate (an Islamic state transcending national borders) would also legally fall within the parameters of extremism.
Even so, many British Muslims believe that leading a truly pious Islamic life is facilitated by the benefits of living in a liberal democratic society such as the United Kingdom.
“In some respects, living in the UK can actually make leading a ‘God-centered’ life easier than living in some, or even many Muslim countries,” said Abdur Raheem Green, an imam at the London Central Mosque. “This is partly due to certain freedoms, civil liberties and adherence to a code of human rights that are essential components of liberal democracies.”
A British convert to Islam, Green explained that because of these key features of democratic societies, “one is able to practice all of the essential components of the religion and even many non-essential ones, as well as being able to invite others to accept this truth.”
After a long delay of CIA operatives and former Italian intelligence officials, a judge ruled that Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi could be called to testify about the abduction of a radical Muslim cleric, in Italy, in 2003. Testimony began Wednesday with the cleric’s wife, Ghali Nabila, who said that her husband was taken from Italy and transferred to a prison in Egypt, where he was repeatedly tortured. I found him wasted, skinny – so skinny – his hair had turned white, he had a hearing aid, Ms. Nabila said. While the Bush administration has admitted to programs of extraordinary rendition and abducting terrorism suspects outside of the United States, the administration has denied that persons are sent to nations that torture. Last year, and Italian prosecutor brought charges against 26 Americans, including 25 CIA agent operatives, citing a train of incriminating evidence prior to the cleric’s kidnapping.
By Niraj Warikoo Born into a prestigious Iraqi family descended from Islam’s prophet, Imam Hassan Qazwini started life anew when he moved to the United States in 1992. He knew little English, was unfamiliar with American culture and uncertain about his future. But now, Qazwini of Dearborn heads one the largest U.S. mosques — the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn — and has become a nationally known figure who has advised President George W. Bush, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Muslims from metro Detroit to Baghdad.
Most British Muslims back the government’s plans to deport radical Islamist “hate preachers” it says could inspire bombers like those who attacked London in July, a poll published on Sunday showed. The ICM poll found that 65 percent of Muslims backed the new government measures and 27 percent opposed them. Ninety percent said they would immediately tell police if they suspected someone was planning or had carried out a terrorist attack. Just over two thirds of those questioned said Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims bore “a lot” of responsibility for rooting out Islamist extremists, 19 percent said they bore “a little” responsibility and nine percent said they bore none. ICM interviewed 500 Muslims by telephone between Sept. 1 and 7 for the poll, published in the News Of The World newspaper. Home Secretary Charles Clarke has published a list of “unacceptable behaviours” which would prompt immediate action — either deportation or a ban on entry. Last month, Britain said it was detaining 10 people, including the alleged spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe, Jordanian national Abu Qatada, and would deport them. It has also barred hardline Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, who left for Lebanon last month, from returning to Britain. Civil liberties campaigners say they are worried Britain will deport people to countries where they might be tortured. The government responds that it is seeking agreements with other governments — like one it struck recently with Jordan — to guarantee the safety of deportees.
BREST, France, April 9 (AFP) – France on Friday issued an expulsion order against an Algerian Muslim cleric seeking asylum in the country, accusing him of trying to convert young people to a radical form of Islam.
By Adam Blenford A Muslim preacher jailed for nine years after he urged his followers to rise up and kill the “enemies of Islam” lost an appeal against his conviction today, but had his sentence cut by two years. Jamaican-born Abdullah el-Faisal, 39, a former preacher at Brixton mosque in south London, encouraged his followers to kill Jews, Americans and non-believers in a series of inflammatory speeches and recordings. He told schoolboys that they would spend eternity in paradise with 72 virgins if they fought and died in a jihad, or holy war. El-Faisal was sentenced to seven years for soliciting murder and a further two years for inciting racial hatred at the Old Bailey last March. His sentences were to run concurrently. The judge recommended that el-Faisal, of Stratford, east London, be deported at the end of his sentence. The ground-breaking trial was the first prosecution of a Muslim cleric in this country.