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Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Takiyaa in action: Muslim responses to Al Qaeda linked Muslim Council of Britain's 2004 letter to mosques on reporting extremism

Takiyaa in action: Muslim responses to Al Qaeda linked Muslim Council of Britain's 2004 letter to mosques on reporting extremism

July 20, 2005

MIM: The responses to the letter by the Muslim Council of Britain to mosques and Imams is almost as absurd as the letter itself which was a bombastic and disingenous exercise in public relations spin meant to present the false impression that the Muslim community was concerned about terrorism. In reality the author of the letter secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, Iqbal Sacranie is directly aligned to Al Qaeda.

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. These are the ones to attain felicity." al-Qur'an 3:104 "One of about 20 members of the extreme Islamic organisation, al-Muhajiroun, waves a burning Union Jack outside a London mosque, while worshippers inside hear a message for peace." The Times, Saturday 3rd April 2004

As-salaamu 'alaykum everyone, There has been a lot of debate in the press and the country since the Muslim Council of Britain (to which we at the ISB are proudly affiliated) sent out its letter to every mosque in the country earlier this week. If you have not seen the letter then please click on the following URL - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to read it: http://www.mcb.org.uk/Imamletter-31March04.pdf

We at the ISB Open Egroup believe that the MCB yet again showed its leadership and courage in calling upon all Muslims to fulfil their Islamic duties of working for the common good but also to isolate lunatic elements that might want to create havoc in this country. Indeed, we at the ISB Open Egroup have regularly called on Muslims to take a more vocal and determined stand against tiny fanatical groups like Omar Bakri's al-Muhajiroun and Abu Hamza's Supporters of Shari'ah. Each one of you reading this must be aware of the huge damage these groups have done to the standing of Islam and Muslims in this country and how they have contributed to the wave of Islamophobia that has resulted in criminal acts being perpetrated against Muslim individuals, mosques and even cemeteries in this country. If, God forbid, some misguided Muslim is plotting an act which would harm innocent people then it must surely be our Islamic duty to report that to the relevant authorities. This is not spying on fellow Muslims as Bakri has so stupidly asserted in recent interviews - but upholding the law and protecting innocent lives: an act the Qur'an praises.

The fact that Bakri and Co seem unable to realise that preventing atrocities from occurring in this country is a commendable and meritorious act shows just how twisted and deficient their knowledge of Islam is. Below we are printing the response of ordinary Britons - Muslims and non-Muslims - to the MCB letter. They are taken from newspapers, the BBC Online website, the MCB website and emails sent to us at the ISB Open Egroup. salaams, Moderators, ISB Open Egroup Join ISB and be a part of our future Click here for details :: About ISB :: Our Projects :: Young Muslims

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[Responses to the MCB letter] Anjem Choudary: "Anjem Choudary, a spokesman for the al-Muhajiroun group, said: "There is nothing me and you, or the British services or the Government, can do about stopping an attack in this country. There is nothing MI5 or MI6 can do to stop al-Qa'eda from bombing London." " - Daily Telegraph, Saturday 3rd April 2004.

Zhanara Begum: "I'm glad the Muslim Council has stood up to say publicly that Muslims will work with the authorities to get rid of these problems afflicting us, and it's great that the imams feel they can play a big part, and their efforts to help are being recognised." - Daily Telegraph, Saturday 3rd April 2004.

Richard, London: Credit must go to the MCB for this move. It is not easy for the law- abiding Muslim majority in this climate of Islamic terrorism. However this sort of action is just the sort of thing that will reassure the general public that the Muslim community is also doing all it can to combat terrorism. This in turn will help make the Muslim community as a whole feel less persecuted. - BBC Online website

Khalid Hashmi, Luton: I am a Muslim and I consider myself to be a mix of the East and West culture. This can mean at times I feel ousted by both sides and fall right in the middle into no-man's land. Regardless of this predicament I will always say what I consider to be right and fair. I am pleased to hear the Muslim Council of Britain has taken the unprecedented step of making an authoritative voice across Britain. I believe strong, sensible and single leadership for Muslims is what is lacking. In this event it shows to the rest of the country we don't agree with terrorism. BBC Online website

Andrew Williams, St Albans: This letter by the Muslim Council is a wonderful step and will do much to repair community relations. There is a problem in this country. It is a problem for all communities and the Muslim community should be applauded here for finally taking action and not setting itself apart. BBC Online website

Carl Coveney: To whom it may concern, I feel moved to mail you in respect of your condemnation of potential terrorism in the UK, I feel that the idea that we are all one community irrespective of our backgrounds against a common foe is long overdue, I was therefore extremely pleased to hear on the news that you have in fact taken this step. We need to see ourselves as one country not one country divided by religion. In the words of the comedian Dave Allen - may your God go with you. Many congratulations. - MCB website

Jason Jones: I would like to say well done to the Muslim Council for asking all law abiding Muslims in Britain to safeguard our Country from a terrorist threat. All Muslims in this Country are welcome residents and it is comforting to me 'a non-Muslim' to see that we are all equal partners and united against terrorism. I respect all faiths and their beliefs and understand that Islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion and understand that this is a very small minority who spoil it for all. I do not for one moment believe that people who use this faith in the name of terrorism will prevail. - MCB website

Dan Hoban: You are doing something wonderful in your stand against violence. I often listen to news radio after work as I am picking up my children. The other day my eight year old son asked "why do muslims want to kill everyone? Are the evil?" I said " no son but the good Muslims seem afraid to stand up and say this is wrong." I think that Islam has been hijacked, even if only in the newspapers and a few extremists. I hope your efforts will convince more Imams to stand up against these unislamic actions. - MCB website

Anon: Assalamalikum WBT I was very impressed of what Mr. Shaid Malik said about Muslims and the great efforts MCB is doing regarding media which gives Islam bad reputation. Malik's view was excellent compared to the Omar Bakr's wrong view of Islam and Mulsims. We should always highlights that 95% of Musulims in this country and west are abiding the rules and repsecting the country which we are living. We are British and we are peaceful Muslims as our religion teaches us to be peaceful. We should advice the media not to interview the wrong view who are less than 5% of Muslims such as Omar Bakri, Almohajroun, Hizb At-Tahrir or Abou Hamza, etc. These people damage our Islamic

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reputation and the teaching of moderate Islam. Many thanks - Jazaukm Allah kheiran for your respected efforts, time and good way of uniting Muslims under true teaching of Islam. - MCB website Jon Baldwin: Dear Sirs, Assalaamu alaykum. I would like to thank you for the recent correspondance sent to Islamic leaders in the UK. Your guidance was calm, intelligent and insightful and is much appreciated. It is a great step towards partnership of peoples of all religions and backgrounds that, I feel, will be the only way to stop the scourges of both terrorism and ill-founded Islamophobia. Indeed, as a non-Muslim, I hope that Britain's newspapers will afford this story as much significance as anti-terror arrests in recent months. - MCB website

Keith Alvey: I am extremely pleased that the MCB has spoken out against terrorism. I am absolutely convinced that the vast majority of muslims have been doing this since Sept. 11th. As usual, all we seem to hear about on our wonderful British press are the negative aspects of a tiny minority of Islam. Please keep speaking out, and demonstrating, to show the more myopic members of all our communities, the true nature of Islam. It is vital that you this. Keep saying the same things and I am sure that eventually the 'average' non-muslim will eventually get the message. - MCB website

Alasdair McDougall: I am writing as a christian from Glasgow to applaud the letter sent by the Muslim Council of Britains to the Muslim community of the UK and to let you know that not all christians in this country expect all Muslims to be terrorists and to distrust a religion simply because of recent events in the Middle East. During the "Doors open day" in Glasgow in September last year, my family and I visited the Mosque in Glasgow and we received an extremely friendly reception from all Mosque workers and were given a very informative tour of the beautiful building and I was glad that my 9 year old daughter was able to experience another religion and realise that we are all the same. Anyway, thanks for reading this. - MCB website

Rania Hafez: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allah. Dear Brothers and Sisters at the MCB, I am writing to register my deep concern for the ill-conceived letter the MCB circulated to mosques in Britain and for the ill-advised wide publicity you saw fit to give it. Ill-conceived because it pandered to the current Islamaphobia rampant in the British media. Terrorism is no more a problem in the Muslim community than in the Catholic one. Ill- advised because we are not yet ready to play the media game. Witness the interview with Br Iqbal Sacranie on Radio 4 this morning. The interviewer clearly implied that the MCB letter was a tacit admission of guilt on behalf of the Muslim community. The pattern and nature of the questions left Br Sacranie reluctantly (or maybe unconsciously) admitting to the worst accusations put to him, including that of an agent provocateur within our ranks. True we may have a few hot heads and some ultro vocal youths but they hardly amount to a serious terrorism threat. Your letter and its publicity has given the justification for future police and media attacks on the community. It is very sad for me to witness the naive way the MCB has been drawn into this neo-liberal zionist trap. Please learn from our enemies; how often do you hear Jews criticising their own community? Our bottom line should always be: "We are a peaceful community, maligned by a hostile media. Our diverse communities have and continue to bring great benefits to the wider society. British muslims are an asset to Britain and Europe". I hope my comments will be accepted in the sisterly spirit they are offered. I pray to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala to guide you in the future to a wiser and more considered ations. "Wafakana Allahu Wa Iyakum limafihi Saleh Al-Ummah" Wassalam. - MCB website

Joe Ahmed-Dobson: Assalamu alaikum. Just wanted to say that I thought MCB letter and the accompanying coverage of it was very effective. Too often MCB condemns terrorist activities only to be ignored and the same cliches are then trotted out by the media. And too often, imams are equivocal about terrorism. I have never heard any imam even at the "extreme" mosques actually advocate terrorism but too often it's ignored or equivocated over. I may never admit that publically but it's the sad reality. I have no doubt you will get criticism from within the Muslim community about your letter and the subsequent coverage. But the vast majority will welcome it - including the non-practicing section. This more public stance can act as Dawah to them as much as anyone else. Just remember - just because the people you know and shout the loudest may complain, it doesn't mean they represent a

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majority. That's something we say publicly about the real extremists but when it comes to internal politics I feel we Muslims sometimes forget it applies to internal Muslim 'politics' too. I pray for the continued good works of MCB in its representative and media role and may Allah bless you for your hard work. As you said, may Allah protect us all. - MCB website

Jem: I was very disappointed that you sent that odd letter to all the mosques in Britain, as if to say that you agree with the Islamophobic members of the media and the establishment, in that mosques are indeed likely breeding places for terrorism! This is patently absurd: terrorism is no more a problem in the Muslim community than in the Catholic one. By publicising your action on national radio you have further reinforced the view of the public at large that Muslims are indeed a potential threat, that we have to be watched carefully at all times - justifying the heavy handed policing and profiling that we are daily - and increasingly - witnessing. - MCB website

Farzana Chaudry: May I congratulate your organisation on an excellent letter written to all Imams and chairs and secretaries of Islamic organisations and institutions in Britain. Our religions faces many enemies. Interestingly a recent poll on an Islamic site (I really cannot remember the name of the site) cited that the greatest enemy of Islam was from Muslims themselves and their own ignorance of their religion. How true this is. I think a full page ad in several broadsheets with a full transcription of your letter will also be most effective so non-Muslims can read this important piece of communication for themselves. Please do not expect the media to give your communication the space and importance that it deserves... they won't. They continue with their anti-Islamic headlines and stance. Thanking you again.

Uthman McGlew: Assalaamu alaikum, Hello, I am just wanting to send a message of support to the MCB. I agree with the recent decision to write to the mosques to encourage sensible and correct teaching of this wonderful religion if only to show the nation that we as muslims want to help improve the troubling situation in whatever way we can. If we do nothing then the muslim community will always be regarded with suspicion. On another note, I also want to say I have heard representatives of the MCB speak several times and it has strengthened my heart to hear their words which are very much in tune with my own thinking alhamdulilah. Please keep up the good work. - MCB website

Gordon MacLeman: I would to thank the General Secretary of the MCB for taking a clear and courageous stand on the issue of terrorism. It was a refreshing experience yesterday to see the headlines dominated by a clear positive presentation of Muslim opinion. We badly need a strong Muslim voice to represent British Muslims as people whose beliefs and way of life are entirely consistent with the long established values of the United Kingdom. Most of the time the public perception is dominated by radicals, political hotheads and proponents or defenders of terrorism. Clearly part of the blame for this distortion lies with the media who cover this topic with the same sensationalist instinct with they pursue most other aspects of British life. However, many non-Muslims like myself, who strongly believe that the daily lives of vast majority of British Muslims demonstrate the absurdity of the demonising Islam, also wish to hear a stronger more coherent message from representatives of mainstream British Muslims. Yesterday, it was great to hear that message delivered by the MCB. MCB website

Dr. Hasanat Mohammad Husain: Dear Mr. Sacranie. As-salamu alaikum. I am very pleased to hear that the Muslim Council of Britain is taking the right step to speak out against fundamentalism. Few through their actions are putting majority of Muslims and Islam into disrepute. MCB has a role to safeguard our community and children and their future from such vices. The Islam we practice has no place for people who preach violence or make inflammatory statements. You have my support and best wishes. - MCB website

Yaser Fasel: All Praise to to Allah who has made us hear from the mouth of the traitors of Islam the the Muslims Youth have become more radicalised to Islam than their elders. In regard with the resent arrest of muslims, the Hand picked persons by the Enermy of Islam (U.K GOVERNMENT), the so called Leaders of the Muslims, the secular puppets of Muslim council of Britain (MCB), Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and their blind followers of YM and FORSIS. Have called upon Muslims by twisting Islamic texts to please their master, they have called upon Muslims to spy for their masters in 10 downing street, and Mosque to Modernise Islam to please their Masters, And if any Muslims enjoins in the Maroof and forbid the Munkar of their masters to e reported to their Masters

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Agents the police and the MI5. O Muslims bewarned of them and their plots, Expose them for they are trying to integrate you into their Masters Kufr Wester way of life (i.e secularism). O Muslims do not take the poison of integration. We Ask Allah (sw) to destroy those hypocrites to want to please their masters in 10 Downing street, by integrating into the western way of life, O Allah expose those seeking the refuge of the sincere Muslims, who don't compromise on their Iman. Count them One by one and Punish them O Rabil Alameen. - ISB Open Egroup

Mortuza Ali: how can anyone follow or accept what you are telling us to do in your letter. support the government. who is taghout commits shirk by legislating laws and sinfull acts against islam, who attacks muslims and islam. You are complete sell outs and may allah guide you. Every country there are organisations created or suppportd by the government. so how canu be credicle if you are supported and praised by the kuffar government. Im not saying we should attack or kill people in this country its wrong. but i a#will never call the police or other authorities to arrest my fellow muslim brothers regardless of what they are doing. The prophet said " support your muslim if they are oppressed or the oppressors." stay wit hthem and make sure they do no oppression. allah tells us numerous times inthe quran no#to stay away from the taghout and how the christians and jews will never be happy with us untill we become like them. ask yourselfs the government are praisng you. are happy with you. when allah tells us they wont untill we become like them. im not for attacking innocent civilians but yet i wont sell out fellow muslims. Or support kuffar who commit acts of teeror agaisnt muslim countries. set your priorities right. - ISB Open Egroup

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood: Dear brother Iqbal, AAWR. Just to let you know how much I have appreciated the things you have said, and also your bold front coming across on the media. I absolutely support you 100%. I think that you and Br Inayat have managed to turn what could have been a catastrophe for Islam in the UK into something that will hopefully bring about great good. I am sure the major criticism of the UK non-Muslim public has been irritation and surprise that the leaders have not spoken out more strongly - and of course, I realise how difficult it is to get the right messages into the press and media. Well done for what you have done. No doubt you will get some flack too, but keep your nerve. I have myself been getting hate mail recently, I assume from an extremist brother. I have done my best to answer him, but it is not easy. Well done to you, though!! God bless, wasalaam. - ISB Open Egroup

This e-group is run by members of the Islamic Society of Britain and its youth wing, The Young Muslims UK. Both ISB and YM are national affiliates of the Muslim Council of Britain - the main

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representative body for UK Muslims. Send in e-mails of your friends and support us in our efforts. Send e-mails for addition to this e-group to [email protected] www.mcb.org.uk ******* TO UNSUBSCRIBE ******* Please send a blank e-mail with the words "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject field to the following e-mail address: [email protected]



From Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain

Wednesday March 31, 2004

To: Imams, Ulema, Chairs & Secretaries of Mosques, Islamic Organisations and Institutions

Dear Respected Colleague

As salaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullah

The last few weeks and days have been fraught with tragedies and dangers. I am sure you are fully aware of the serious concerns expressed by the Prime Minister and the Police Authorities about the high probability of an imminent terrorist outrage in the UK.

I have no doubt that as a leader in the community you are already discharging your Islamic duty in helping to preserve the peace of the nation as well as protecting the community against falling into any trap or provocation.

Following the criminal terrorist attack on the Madrid trains, and despite our immediate, public and unequivocal condemnation of those atrocities some, however, continue to associate Islam with terrorism by using such misleading terms as 'Islamic terrorist'. The words of the Qur'an are clear:

"He who killed any person, unless it be a person guilty of manslaughter, or of spreading chaos in the land, should be looked upon as though he had slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he had saved the lives of all mankind."(5:32)

We therefore urge you to take the following actions:

To provide the correct Islamic guidance to the community, especially to our youth as to our obligation to maintain the peace and security of our country

To observe the utmost vigilance against any mischievous or criminal elements from infiltrating the community and provoking any unlawful activity

To liaise with the local Police and give them the fullest cooperation in dealing with any criminal activity including terrorist threat

"Help one another to virtue and God-consciousness and do not help one other to sin and transgression." (5:2)

To proactively engage with the media in order to refute any misconception about Islam and the Muslim community

To develop active contacts with other faith communities and civic organisations in order to help maintain social peace and good community relations.

In the event of any tragic incident taking place, give the fullest cooperation to the Police and other concerned authorities.

Lastly, but most importantly, seek Allah's help and support and pray for His guidance and protection all the time.

We also urge you to convey the above message in your Friday sermon and bring awareness to our community of our duties and obligations in combating any threat to peace and stability. By doing so, insha'Allah it will help to dispel the misrepresentation.

There is no need however to be daunted or intimidated by any Islamophobic propaganda and we should continue with our daily lives - normally and in accordance with the tenets of Islam.

All of us as Muslims will have been appalled to see some of the headlines in today's newspapers (for example 'Islamic Bomb Plot Foiled' - Daily Telegraph; 'The Truck Bombers of Suburbia', The Times 2004). This kind of sensationalised reporting has done immense damage to British Muslims as well as to community relations and we assure you that the MCB's Media Committee will be taking this matter up urgently with the editors concerned.

You will no doubt recall that in November 2002 the police made high-profile arrests of six Muslims accused of plotting to release cyanide gas into London's Underground system. Yet nearly 18 months later, none of the men have been charged with any crime, let alone being convicted of terrorist activity. There are other examples of incidents that have received prominent media attention only for the individuals to be subsequently released without any charges brought against them. The impact of such ordeals on the persons concerned and their families is unbearable. Therefore we urge against hasty pronouncements of guilt.

The Muslim Council of Britain is planning to organise a number of events and meetings of which we shall keep you duly informed.

"O believers, be patient and let your patience never be exhausted. Stand firm in your faith and fear Allah, so that you may triumph." (3:200)

May Allah protect and guide us.

Yours sincerely

Iqbal AKM Sacranie
Secretary General
The Muslim Council of Britain

Special report
Terrorism threat to UK

Interactive guide
How Britain is tightening security

Full list of terror suspects
UK assets of suspected terrorist groups and individuals (pdf)

Anti-terror legislation
Download the full text of the crime and security bill (534k)
Summary of the crime and security bill (47k)

Useful links
Metropolitan police
Home Office: emergency planning review
Ministry of Defence
UK resilience
Red Cross
Terrorism Act 2000
Crime and security bill (pdf)

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