On 17th December 2009, Quilliam issued the following press release:

 

In recent years, several leading UK Muslim organizations have moved away from hosting extremist foreign clerics and have instead begun promoting UK-born and -educated speakers who can facilitate the growth of a native, harmonious Western Islam.

 

Next week, however, a major Birmingham institution, the Green Lane Mosque (headquarters of the national Markaz Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith organization) will host two extreme Wahhabi clerics who bolster al-Qaeda narratives by advocating:

 

• Taking up arms against the ‘enemies of Islam’ in order to spread Wahhabi Islam
• ‘Preparing all the weapons we can’ and raising the ‘banner of jihad’
• Forcibly implementing their understanding of Shari’ah as state law

 

They have also said that:

 

• Islam is under attack from enemies, among the worst of whom are Jews
• Non-Muslim nations want to destroy Islam
• The Jews have ‘smeared creation and defaced mankind’
• The Jews were responsible for initiating both world wars and ending the Ottoman Empire (or Caliphate)

 

For instance one speaker, Sheikh Faisal al-Jassim – a Wahhabi of Kuwaiti nationality – said in a sermon on ‘the Jews and this religion’:

 

“Oh Muslims, oh ummah [people] of Muhammad, oh ummah of the religion of Islam that has combined the good of this life and the afterlife, your religion has enemies that stalk it waiting for an opportunity to attack it, and they attack it through every angle. They attack it from the direction of belief and thought, they attack it from the direction of morals and they attack it militarily to weaken its followers, displace them and tear them apart and the Jews are among the most potent of those enemies who do not spare any effort in fighting this religion and corrupting its people … they are among the arch enemies of this great religion.”

 

He also said:

 

“We have to be prepared for those enemies and for every enemy of Islam and Muslims and we have to prepare the means of victory and be sincere in our intention to Allah, and we have to return to the religion of Allah and call towards the Sunnah and Tawhid, and if people returned to that the banner of jihad would be lifted to raise the word of Allah and to implement his shariah … and we have to also prepare all the weapons we can and prepare the material and moral means, so when these things are achieved Allah will help us to victory.”

 

In another lecture, ‘The history of the jihad of the Rafidas [derogatory term for Shia Muslims]’, al-Jassim said:

 

“So jihad for the sake of Allah is fighting to raise the word of Allah meaning to raise the religion of Allah and to raise tawhid [monotheism] and crush polytheism and its people as Allah has said and ordered to fight all kafirs [non-Muslims] and polytheists and he said “and fight them so there is no fitna” and he has made the end of fighting, the fighting does not stop until fitna is stopped and fitna as it is known denotes polytheism, meaning that jihad is fighting to crush polytheism and raise the word of Allah and make governance in the earth according to the sharia of Allah, that people are governed by their religions and religious decrees, so it is fighting to spread tawhid, fighting to raise the word of Allah and crush polytheism.”

 

This reference to polytheism includes most non-Wahhabi Muslims, due to theological differences, and therefore legitimizes violence against other Muslims.

 

Another speaker, Abdul Aziz As-Sadhan has previously dedicated three Friday sermons to attacking Jews.  In one of these sermon he says:

 

“History testifies that the band of Jews were responsible for every disorder and fierce war whether directly or by preparing it by night or by encouraging it like the Qaramita movement [9th/10th century Islamic movement] and the revolt of the Zanj [9th century slave revolt] … the Jews were the flag bearers for them in secret and in public … and among them are the first and second world wars which the Jews were responsible for igniting their flames, as is mentioned by more than one Western historian and others, then they tirelessly worked until they abolished the Khilafah [Caliphate] after they had created someone to take over and prepared the scene.”

 

More comprehensive transcripts of these speeches are available on Quilliam’s website here. All the speeches came from recordings available on the two speakers’ own Arabic-language websites.

 

Quilliam statement:

 

‘We recognize that many Wahhabis do not share these extreme views. Similarly, the vast majority of British Muslims will find this hatemongering despicable. The principle of taking up arms in order to impose a single religious interpretation on others is at the core of al-Qaeda’s jihadist ideology. British Muslims do not need al-Qaeda’s fellow-travellers lecturing us on history, politics or religion in British mosques.

 

‘The Green Lane Mosque has previously been exposed as a centre of hate-preaching. Muslims need to challenge the hateful and divisive rhetoric of such extremist Saudi clerics and those people who promote them. Such events risk undermining the good work that many people in Birmingham are doing to tackle extremism and bring different communities closer together.’

 

A British Muslim organization, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, is creating a coalition of faith and humanist leaders to oppose the event and is preparing to send out a joint letter on their behalf. Their initiative illustrates that many British Muslims are opposed to such extremism and are increasingly taking active steps to challenge it.

 

Quilliam’s recommendations:

 

• The British Government needs to put greater pressure (through trade, human rights instruments and diplomatic means) on Saudi Arabia to stop teaching hateful texts at universities and producing clerics with an intolerant outlook.  

• The Green Lane Mosque is a registered charity (No. 1125833) giving it tax-breaks and other benefits. Consequently, the British taxpayer is subsidising the mosque’s promotion of extremism. The Charity Commission should be further empowered to strip organizations of their charitable status if they repeatedly give platforms to violence-supporting, intolerant and socially divisive individuals.

• Local Birmingham-based recipients of Prevent funding should respectfully challenge these and other clerics who seek to inflame religious tensions.

• Civil servants who deal with the Green Lane Mosque should actively challenge its members’ ideology rather than engaging uncritically with them.