This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/775
Muslim councilman calls Bin Laden tapes "video nasties" - Finsbury Park terrorist mosque says it will help hunt for bombers
July 10, 2005
MIM: Iqbal Sacranie reveals that he sees Islams and Muslims as distinct from the rest of humanity by announcing that;" Those behind this atrocity aren't just enemies of humanity but enemies of Islam and Muslims"
UK Fatwa to Call Bombers Unbelievers, If Proved Muslims
"Those behind this atrocity aren't just enemies of humanity but enemies of Islam and Muslims," said Sacranie.
CAIRO, July 10, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Britain's top Muslim scholars are drafting a fatwa stripping those behind the grisly London blasts, if proved Muslims, from the right to call themselves Muslims, a leading British newspaper said Sunday, July 10.
Signed by dozens of prominent Muslim bodies, mosques, Islamic scholars and community groups, the religious edict will brand the attacks as a breach of the most basic tenets of Islam, reported The Independent.
"If these bombers are found to be Muslims, we will make it clear we utterly dissociate ourselves from them - even if they claim to be Muslims or are acting under the mantle of the Islamic faith. We reject that utterly," said the official spokesman of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
Two different groups purporting to be Al-Qaeda affiliated claimed responsibility for the bloody blasts which killed at least 49 people and wounded 700 others.
The Independent said police and intelligence agents are investigating the theory that a gang of white "mercenary terrorists" was hired by Al-Qaeda to carry out the attacks.
Commander Brian Paddick of the London Metropolitan Police told reporters Sunday no arrests have been made yet and that they were not focusing on any specific suspects.
The fatwa will also make clear that Muslims have a moral duty to help the police catch the perpetrators.
The move follows a decision taken Friday, July 8, at an emergency meeting attended by about 100 of the country's most prominent Muslim leaders, held in private at East London Mosque, said the daily.
Imams across Britain were united in condemning the attacks in their weekly Friday sermons, encouraging Muslims to offer all possible assistance to the victims and authorities.
Enemies of Islam
"We're not talking about Muslims here. We're talking about a bunch of nutters," said Qureshi.
Senior minority leaders believe they must undermine the religious basis of the terrorists' actions, said the British daily.
"Those behind this atrocity aren't just enemies of humanity but enemies of Islam and Muslims", said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the MCB, the main representative Muslim body in Britain.
"The people at the receiving end of this, both as some of the victims of the bombing and victims of the backlash, are Muslims," he stressed.
Murad Qureshi, the only Muslim member of the Greater London Assembly and a former Labour councilor in Westminster, backs such a fatwa.
"It is about time we put clear distance between ourselves and so-called Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden, who has been able to dictate the whole agenda with his video nasties," he said.
"We're not talking about Muslims here. We're talking about a bunch of nutters. The time has come to debunk the idea they are sanctioned by Islam."
The London blasts have drawn immediate condemnation from prominent scholars across the Muslim world, who said that such "black actions" run in the face of Islam which strictly forbids killing civilians.
Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, said there should be a "dividing line" between terrorists and Muslims.
"There's not a dividing line between Muslims and Londoners. The dividing line is between those who commit these acts and those who don't," he said.
While saying that the perpetrators acted "in the name of Islam," Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained that "the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad are decent and law abiding people who abhor terrorism every bit as much as we do."
He also admitted there can be no security solution to terrorist attacks, urging the world to address the underlying causes of terrorism.
David Clark, a former Labour government adviser, wrote in the Guardian Saturday there can be no hope of defeating terrorism until the world community is ready to take "legitimate Arab grievances" seriously.
Islam, Muslims & Violence (Folder)
MIM :One can only "blink in disbelief" as the murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh used to say, when one read of how the Finsbury Park Mosque is now in the hands of Hamas member Azzam Tamimi , Muslim Brotherhood leader Helbawy, and a former military commander of Hamas, Mohammed Sawalha.
The new management of the Finsbury Park mosque also includes The Muslim Council of Britain, and The Muslim Association of Britain, two faux moderate UK organisations who are linked to Al Qaeda, Hizb ut Tahrir, Al Muhajiroun, MIRA and the CDLR, and have assured the police and the public that the mosque will now have a "fresh start" now that the 'extremists' have been ousted...
The Borough commander of the Islington police, Barry Norman, wrote a letter to the newspaper in response to an MP's criticism, defending the police protection of Hamza's thugs who were praying and inciting on the pavement outside the mosque after they were locked out in 2003.
The absurdity of his argument that is was much cheaper not to do anything to remove Hamza and his supporters from the street (who were calling Muslims in the UK to wage Jihad and kill Jews), is something straight out of of a Monty Python police skit.
"It apparent to me that to move between 30 and 100 worshippers from the street forcibly would probably exacerbate a difficult situation. In all likelihood this would have given rise to even more worshippers attending and, possibly, organised opposition groups. This would have required far more policing and would have led to much greater disruption and considerably more cost." http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/432
MIM: After a confrontation the Al Muhajiroun faction (whose Imam Abu Hamza Al Masri had been finally jailed on terror related charges ) was ousted from the Finsbury Park mosque and replaced by Hamas- Islamic Jihad and other Al Qaeda supporters Le plus ca changer...
The new leadership should post pictures of their predecessors for inspiration, which included shoebomber Richard Reid, '20th hijacker' Zacharias Moussaui, Al Qaeda operative James Ujaama,and the Courtellier brothers.
July 9, 2005
THE NEW YORK TIMES
New Imam Calls for Help in Catching Bombers
July 9, 2005
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The new imam at the Finsbury Park mosque, once a hotbed of radical Islam, had a message for those who gathered for prayer on Friday, a day after four bombs killed at least 49 people: help identify the bombers, he told them. Show your anger at what happened here.
His call to cooperate was a stark and deliberate contrast to a former imam, Abu Hamza al-Masri, now detained and facing extradition to the United States to face terrorism-related charges. Under his leadership, the Finsbury Park mosque became a recruiting center for jihadists for holy wars from Bosnia to Afghanistan.
It is that image the residents of this North London immigrant neighborhood are working hard to shed, eager to demonstrate to an increasingly anxious country that they are not to blame for the attacks on Thursday and that Finsbury Park has rid itself of extremists.
Already, residents here were bracing themselves, fearing they would become targets. "It'll soon be 'kick-a-Muslim week' if we don't watch out," said one young man who declined to give his name. Already, there have been some retaliatory acts against Muslims in Britain.
The struggle in Finsbury Park reflects the broader divide between two Muslim worlds in Britain - the majority of moderates and the radical Islamists who live among them. For years, a relatively small band of radical Islamists hijacked Finsbury Park's image and threatened its economic rejuvenation.
But the moderates are reclaiming the mosque. They installed a new board of trustees who brought in the new, moderate imam. The mosque now offers a course on Islam for non-Muslims. The neighborhood's other, smaller mosque has thrown open its doors in an aggressive program to show London and the world that they do not harbor terrorists. It holds regular "open mosque weekends," in which all comers are invited to tour the mosque, watch videos about its charitable programs and eat from a buffet of halal food.
"When we held our last one in May, 1,200 people came," said Fadi Itani, the younger director of the smaller mosque, standing in the courtyard hung with banners advertising another open-mosque weekend in July.
A stream of Muslims, many in conservative Islamic dress, streamed into the square concrete mosque's small courtyard on Friday from a busy street of brick storefronts.
Like most moderate Muslims, Mr. Itani expressed a weary frustration about the latest attacks. "As a Muslim, to be honest, I've had enough," he said.
In many ways, Finsbury Park is a microcosm of Britain's Muslim community: a traditionally immigrant neighborhood that has housed Irish and Italians as they arrived and moved up in British society. It was largely inhabited by Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants by the 1960's. In the 1970's, they bought a row of dilapidated houses on Saint Thomas Road and transformed them into an Islamic community center and later tore down the houses to build a four-story red-brick mosque.
Friday Sermons Berate Blasts, UK Muslims Pray for Victims
Muslim worshipers were encouraged to visit the victims and donate blood. (Reuters)
By Soha Elsaman, Ahmed Fathy, IOL Staff
LONDON/CAIRO, July 8, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Imams across Britain were united Friday, July 8, in condemning the London attacks in their weekly sermons, encouraging Muslims to offer all possible assistance to the victims and authorities.
"We are so sorry that this attack is attached to Muslims. We can not imagine that a true Muslim who understands properly the teachings of Islam can commit this terrible crime against the civilians and innocent," Sheikh Ashraf Salah, imam of London Central Mosque, told attentive worshipers.
At least 50 people were killed and 700 others were wounded when four blasts four bombs tore through three underground trains and a red double-decker bus during rush hour Thursday.
"Islam strongly condemns such a sinful act," Sheikh Salah averred.
He stressed that Muslims "refuse any forms of violence, oppression, and injustice committed wrongly by anybody".
There was a heavy media presence in the major mosques across the country, particularly in London, Anwar Madi, director of the cultural center in London, told IslamOnline.net.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) have vehemently denounced the blasts and offered all possible assistance in helping the emergency services.
They have urged imams across the country to dedicate Friday sermons to condemning the attacks and to call for peace and harmony.
Sheikh Salah stressed that its is "the duty of every man and women on this earth to do his/her best being to spread security, peace and prosperity in every place on this wide planet."
He exhorted the Muslim minority to be fully cooperative with the authorities "so we may live in peace and harmony and continue to make London the tolerant and peaceful city as it is always is."
Khaled Omar, an official with the Islamic Care Center in London, echoed a similar position.
"Muslims were encouraged to visit the victims in hospitals and to donate blood," he told IOL.
He added that the administration installed banners reading "Muslims for Peace" and "Muslims against terrorism" outside the mosque.
"We also put verses from the Noble Qur'an against the killing of innocent civilians," said Omar.
He announced that the center will organize Saturday, July 9, a conference about introducing Islam.
Police guard the entrance of the central mosque in London a day after bomb attacks. (Reuters)
Mohamed Sawalha, who gave Friday prayers' sermon at London's Finsbury Park mosque, told hundreds of worshipers that whoever was behind the attacks wanted to undermine the integrationist efforts of the minority, reported Reuters.
"Some people will try to instigate anger against Muslims and try to blame us for what happened," he told hundreds of worshippers.
"These acts were aimed at destroying the work of Muslims and Muslim groups in Britain. We want to integrate with the community, and not to live like foreigners."
Sheikh Abdul-Qayyum, imam of the East London Mosque, where about 6,000 people turned out, said the perception that Muslims want to impose their way of life on others was unfair.
Branding the attacks plotters as "criminals", he said they "should be brought to justice and they should be punished without asking what is their race or religion."
"These terrible events have nothing to do with us. The Muslims of London are victims as much as their fellow citizens," said the imam.
Nazmul Hasan, is desperately trying to locate his niece, Shahera Akther Islam, who uses the underground to travel to work in the city and has been missing since early on Thursday.
"We have been trying to locate her in the hospitals and we have registered her with the police as missing but we have no information," he said.
"I am trying to keep my hopes alive for her, I am hoping she is in hospital somewhere," he said.
It was not immediately clear how many Muslims were killed or wounded in the attacks, particularly that some of the bombing occupied in Muslim-populated areas of the British capital.
By the late 1990's, North African Arabs arrived, many of them fleeing Algeria's bloody civil war between Islamists and the country's military-backed secular government. Among them came dozens of Muslim extremists, and within a few years, they took over the Finsbury Park mosque, which was riven by leadership squabbles. As imam, they brought in Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, better known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, an Egyptian-born fundamentalist preacher known for his extremist anti-Western views.
Though his following was small, Mr. Mustafa's presence loomed over the neighborhood and fragmented the community.
"Most of us went to the other mosque," said Mounir Kirati, who arrived as an Algerian refugee in 1998, as he made his way back from prayers. "We didn't like their interpretation of Islam."
Muhammad Ali, a bearded man in a brown robe, said the extremists' presence had cast a pall over the economic revival that the neighborhood is undergoing. Nearby Blackstock Road, lined with shuttered shops 20 years ago, is now bustling with Algerian-owned cafes and Somali-owned telephone shops.
The police raided the Finsbury Park mosque in January 2003, and Britain's moderate Muslim community leaders orchestrated Mr. Mustafa's ouster.
"That place is now safe in the hands of mainstream Muslims," said Ahmed Sheik, president of the Muslim Association of Britain, which helped install the mosque's new board. "We have no fear of the radicals coming again."
The Finsbury Park mosque cannot prevent Muslims with extremist beliefs from coming to pray, but they can no longer use the premises for other activities, said Muhammad Kozbar, the new secretary of the mosque's board of trustees. As proof that the mosque has been reclaimed, he said the average congregation for Friday Prayer has tripled from what it was in its radical days.
"The extremists are a very tiny minority," said Talal Karim, who served for 20 years in the local government responsible for Finsbury Park. "The moderate majority has outmaneuvered them."
But the frustration of the community is growing as evidence mounts that Muslim immigrant citizens or the children of immigrants in Europe are increasingly populating the rank and file of terrorist organizations. Of 140 people implicated in European terrorist activities since 1993, 24 percent were European nationals, according to a study by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke at Washington's Nixon Center, an independent think tank.
For many Muslims here, condemning terrorism does not mean condoning American or British policies.
"It is correct to say Islam forbids the killing of civilians, but we need to have a larger discussion about why these actions happened," said Imran Waheed, spokesman for the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist party working for the return of an Islamic caliphate, whose activists handed out leaflets outside the Finsbury Park mosque as people left Friday Prayer. "What we want is equity or parity between the life of a Briton in the suburbs of London and a farmer in Iraq," he said.
Opposition to Britain's role in Iraq has turned the area's Muslim community away from the governing Labor Party and toward the upstart Respect Party of George Galloway, who issued a statement Thursday saying that his party had warned that the war in Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain.
Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of Britain's Islamic Human Rights Commission, argued that injustice lends legitimacy to extremist discourse.
"There needs to be a separation between those who are committing those atrocities and those who are passionate about injustice," he said, adding that dismissing extremists outright only isolates them and makes them more likely to turn to violence. "We need to encourage that passion and give them avenues within the civil society to deal with injustices."
"We have far greater experience as victims of terror than as perpetrators of terror," said Mr. Waheed of Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying that the community's reaction to the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan and the Middle East has been "remarkably restrained."
"People need to understand the feeling on the Muslim street," he said. "People hate the foreign policy of Britain and the United States, and the West needs to consider whether constant interference in the Muslim world is productive."
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/775