26th July 2008

Luton is a hotbed of Islamist and Jihadist activists, confirmed by local Muslim leaders and former activists of Islamist organisations. When faith leaders from different religions attended Luton Central Mosque recently, Islamist extremists protested outside the mosque. It was exceptionally courageous of young, mainstream Muslims from Luton to organise a Q&A session with Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain.

Chaired by the visionary secretary-general of Luton’s Central Mosque, Tariq Mahmud, Maajid and Ed answered an array of questions from the mosque’s Ambassadors of Islam project. The majority of the attendees were young Muslims who were interested in learning about ways in which extremists operate.  

After speaking about his own personal experiences inside extremism, Maajid spoke out against superimposing modern European notions of ‘state’ and ‘sovereignty’ on Islamic tradition, and then making it obligatory for ‘working toward an Islamic state’, an aim shared by al-Qaeda, Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ed called upon young Muslims in the audience to look beyond the current debate on Islamism, and prepare for defending the honour of our beloved Prophet Mohamed. He asked undergraduates in the audience to prepare serious refutations of vicious attackers on Islam, including Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer and others.

Luton Central Mosque is a rare institution, a forte of traditional Islam committed to preserving Sunni communities against infiltration from extremists.