This story, which insistently sounds upon the Tiny Minority of Extremistsâ„¢ theme, seems to be designed to reverse some of the damage done by the Dispatches documentary. But the Vast Majority of Moderatesâ„¢, alas, is still not much in evidence in Britain.
“Radicals vs. moderates: British Muslims at crossroads,” from CNN, with thanks to all who sent this in:
DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) — At a recent debate over the battle for Islamic ideals in England, a British-born Muslim stood before the crowd and said Prophet Mohammed’s message to nonbelievers is: “I come to slaughter all of you.”
That’s what Muhammad said to the pagan Quraysh: “I bring you slaughter.” I recount the incident in my book The Truth About Muhammad.
“We are the Muslims,” said Omar Brooks, an extremist also known as Abu Izzadeen. “We drink the blood of the enemy, and we can face them anywhere. That is Islam and that is jihad.”
Anjem Choudary, the public face of Islamist extremism in Britain, added that Muslims have no choice but to take the fight to the West.
“What are Muslims supposed to do when they are being killed in the streets in Afghanistan and Baghdad and Palestine? Do they not have the same rights to defend themselves? In war, people die. People don’t make love; they kill each other,” he said….
But in the same debate, held on the prestigious grounds of Dublin’s Trinity College in October, many people in the crowd objected.
“These people, ladies and gentleman, have a good look at them. They actually believe if you kill women and children, you will go to heaven,” said one young Muslim who waved his finger at the radicals.
“This is not ideology. It’s a mental illness.”…
‘Foreign policy has a lot to do with it’
This war of words is part of a larger debate going on in Britain — the war within the Muslim community for the hearts and minds of young people. The battle of ideas came to the fore again this week when the trial began for six men who are accused of an “extremist Muslim plot” to target London on July 21, 2005.
The Woolwich Crown Court was told the men plotted to carry out a series of “murderous suicide bombings” on London’s public transport system, just 14 days after the carnage of the July 7 London bombings, which killed 52 commuters and four bombers.
While Islamic extremists are believed to be a tiny minority of Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims, they have no problem having their criticism heard. They have disdain for democracy — and, most of all, the Bush administration’s war on terror policies.
A poll taken in June 2006 for the Times of London newspaper suggested that 13 percent of British Muslims believe the July 7 London bombers were martyrs.
“Foreign policy has a lot to do with it,” said Hanif Qadir, a youth worker and a moderate voice for Islam in Walthamstow, one of London’s biggest Muslim neighborhoods. “But it’s the minority radical groups that use that to get to our young people.”…
“Our scholars … are not coming out of their holes — their mosques and their holes — to engage with these people. They’re frightened of that,” Qadir said….
Choudary, whose group Al-Mahajiroun disbanded before the British government could outlaw it under its anti-terror laws, spoke to CNN and made clear he wants to see Islamic law for Britain.
“All of the world belongs to Allah, and we will live according to the Sharia wherever we are,” said Choudary, a lawyer. “This is a fundamental belief of the Muslims.”…
Asked if he believes in democracy, he said, “No, I don’t at all.”
“One day, the Sharia will be implemented in Britain. It’s a matter of time.”
Choudary cited the videotaped “will” of one of the London subway bombers, Mohammed Sidique Khan, who said, “Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight.”
Choudary said he sides strongly with that statement — “we have everything we need in those wills” — and he cited passages from the Muslim holy book, the Quran, that he says justify jihad.
“I happen to be in an ideological and political war,” Choudary said. “My brothers in al Qaeda and other Mujahedeen are involved in a military campaign.”
While Choudary and other radicals continue to try to spread their beliefs, others say there is no justification for jihad in England. Imam Usama Hasan memorized the Quran by the time he was 11 and at 19, he briefly fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
“If you have the wrong intention, you can justify your criminal actions from any text — whether it’s the Quran or Bible or Shakespeare,” Hasan said.
Yes, watch out for those Shakespearean terror groups. They don’t just sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the deaths of kings. And they work fast; after all, if it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly. These Shakespearean terrorists teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return, to plague the inventor.
He said it makes him “furious” when radicals quote the Quran out of context to justify killing of innocents. It’s a “very tiny” minority with such beliefs, he said, but “it only takes a handful, of course, to create devastation.”
Can we please get the in-context refutation of the idea that a kafir harbi, an unbeliever considered to be at war with Islam, can lawfully be killed? This idea is deeply rooted in Islamic theology.
“Many people are terrified of Muslims. They are terrified of a brother walking down the road with his eastern dress and his hat and his beard, because they have seen these images associated with suicide bombers,” he said.
“It is up to us to dispel that fear — to smile at people to tell them that … the message of Islam is not about bits of cloth. It is not about the beard or head scarf or the face veil or violence. It is about peace.”
In addition to smiling at non-Muslims, Hasan might consider actively working against the spread of the jihad ideology among Muslims in Britain.