Quiz time! Is this a Muslim in America after 9/11 or an American in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution?
The Guardian reports that Imam Ramee Muhammed, a Chicago native, is afraid to come home. (Thanks to Nicolei).
A US-born Muslim cleric who sought asylum in the UK four months ago has been detained and told he may be deported within days.
Imam Ramee Muhammed, 40, a preacher originally from Chicago, applied for asylum in January this year because he says he fears persecution if he returns to the US. But on Friday, days after an article on his case appeared in a Sunday newspaper, he was detained and his claim fast-tracked.
The heart of the matter is this:
An article published on the front page of last week’s Sunday Express, headlined “Maddest asylum plea yet”, claimed Mr Muhammed taught Richard Reid – the so-called “shoe bomber”- and had links with the radical preacher Abu Hamza..
Imam Muhammed claims the article is untrue and has complained to the Press Complaints Commission. He admits Richard Reid attended a lecture of his at the Finsbury Park mosque, but says that was six years ago and that he was lecturing on brotherhood.
“Brotherhood”? Hmmm. That’s equivocal. Could it be the Muslim Brotherhood, the early twentieth century group that inspired and inspires today’s top terrorist groups.
He says he knows Omar Bakri Muhammed, leader of the fringe group al-Muhajiroun, but has no links with him.
Ramee Muhammed is clearly trying to position himself as a moderate. But how moderate is he? Say! I have an idea! Suppose Imam Muhammed came back to the U.S. and started vociferously denouncing jihad ideology and radicals like Omar Bakri. He could be a spokesman for moderate Muslims everywhere. He could preach the universal brotherhood of man and the need for equality, dignity and freedom for all. I wonder what Ramee Muhammed would think of that idea — and if he rejected it, as he probably would, what would that make of his moderate claims?
After all, I told one Muslim on this board that I was in favor of “a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc.” He replied: “So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims.” Hmmmm. You can read that exchange here.