In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent’s Park Mosque in London – widely considered the most important mosque in Britain – I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk. […]
Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death – and as for homosexuals, and women who “make themselves like a man, a woman like a man … the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place”.
These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. “This is not to tell you to start killing people,” she continues. “There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough.”
A young female student from the group interrupts her: the punishment should also be to stone the homosexuals to death, once they have been thrown from a high place.
These are teachings I never expected to hear inside Regent’s Park Mosque, which is supposedly committed to interfaith dialogue and moderation, and was set up more than 60 years ago, to represent British Muslims to the Government. And many of those listening were teenage British girls or, even more disturbingly, young children.
My investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches came after last year’s Undercover Mosque, which investigated claims that teachings of intolerance and fundamentalism were spreading through Britain’s mosques from the Saudi Arabian religious establishment – which is closely linked to the Saudi Arabian government. In response, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia denied it was spreading intolerance, while Regent’s Park Mosque, which featured in the film, urged all mosques to be “vigilant” and monitor what was taught on their premises. […]
The mosque is meant to promote moderation and integration. But although the circle does preach against terrorism and does not incite Muslims to break British laws, it teaches Muslims to “keep away” and segregate themselves from disbelievers: “Islam is keeping away from disbelief and from the disbelievers, the people who disbelieve.”
Friendship with non-Muslims is discouraged because “loyalty is only to the Muslim, not to the kaffir [disbeliever]”.
A woman who was friendly with a non-Muslim woman was heavily criticised: “It’s part of Islam, of the correct belief, that you love those who love Allah and that you hate those who hate Allah.”
One preacher even says Muslims shouldn’t live in Britain at all: “It is not befitting for Muslims that he should reside in the land of evil, the land of the kuffaar, the land of the disbelievers.”
Another, Um Saleem, says Muslims should not take British citizenship as their loyalty is to Allah.
“Some conditions can take you into disbelief, to take the British citizenship, whether you like it or not, for these people, you are selling your religion, it’s a very serious thing, it is not allowed to give allegiance to other than Allah.”
Article of faith:
Their teachings shocked me. This was not the Islam that I and many other Muslims in the UK were taught as youngsters, nor is it a version that most Muslims follow.
It’s always the Tiny Minority of Extremists, which keeps cropping up in so many places, in spite of being so very tiny.
One preacher said of Christians praying in a church: “What are these people doing in there, these things are so vile, what they say with their tongues is so vile and disgusting, it’s an abomination.” As for the concept of interfaith live-and-let-live: “This is false. It does not work. This concept is a lie, it is fake, and it is a farce.” […]
Um Saleem later told me that her comments that Muslims could not take British citizenship were “erroneous” and indeed apologised for them. As for comments that Muslims cannot live in a non-Muslim country, she agreed that the language used was “inappropriate”. She continued: “Whilst it is recommended for a Muslim to migrate to a Muslim country, it is not obligatory.”
She added: “We are not blind followers of any government or any ‘clerics’. We do criticise other religions, just as other religions criticise Islam”¦we encourage integration into society.”
However, she stood by some of her other claims, stating that the rulings that women could not travel alone, and could not work if it conflicted with religious requirements, were “totally justified by Islamic texts”.
“You may regard these juristic and textual rulings as ‘extreme restrictions’,” she said. “But we see them as our way of life and a liberation of the soul.”
Dr Al Dubayan said they would be removed pending an investigation, but I found the same fundamentalist preachers’ works still openly displayed and sold there. DVDs preaching that disbelievers are “evil, wicked, mischievous people … they do the most evil, filthy things”; that men are in charge of women and should control them.
One speaker says of the Jews: “Their time will come, like every other evil person’s time will come.” Another speech, this time by Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who learned Arabic in Saudi Arabia, praised the deterrent effect of sharia law: “Then people can see, people without hands, people can see in public heads rolling down the street, people got [sic] their hands and feet from opposite sides chopped off and they see them crucified”¦they see people put up against the pole and see them get lashed in public they see it, and because they see it, it acts as a deterrent for them because they say I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Sheikh Yasin responded to me that his comments should be considered in context. He said he did not support or promote Saudi Arabian government policy or religious rhetoric, and said capital punishments were carried out by many states and governments. “The lecture was aimed at reforming the Muslim people, the Muslim society and the Muslim world ”¦ to be adjudicated by the Sovereign Islamic State” when one exists.
Read it all.