Monthly Archives: August 2005

A Who’s Who of Extremist Clerics

OMAR BAKRI MOHAMMED: Came to Britain in 1985 after being deported from Saudi Arabia. Founded the now-disbanded radical Islamic group al-Muhajiroun. The group repeatedly came under scrutiny, particularly after the Sept. 11 attacks, which some members praised. Bakri is from Syria, but his wife’s family is Lebanese and he has citizenship in both Syria and Lebanon. He left for Lebanon last weekend but says he hopes to return to Britain.

ABU IZZADEEN: Describes himself as the spokesman for the Islamic group al-Ghurabaa. British-born and of Jamaican descent. Reportedly converted to Islam at age 17. Has been quoted as saying Britain’s failure to accept a “cease-fire” from Osama bin Laden led to the July 7 attacks in London. Al-Ghurabaa called on Britons not to vote in the last general election. OMAR MAHMOUD ABU OMAR: A Palestinian better known as Abu Qatada. Granted political asylum in Britain in 1993. Sentenced in Jordan in absentia for his alleged involvement in a series of explosions and terror plots. Regarded as Osama bin Laden’s spiritual ambassador in Europe and allegedly an inspiration for Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Spent three years in a high security British prison without being charged, under anti-terror powers introduced after the Sept. 11 attacks. Released in March after Britain’s highest court ruled the legislation breached human rights. Electronically tagged and required to live under a curfew. Likely to be deported to Jordan.

ABU UZAIR: Reportedly a former member of al-Muhajiroun and believed part of its successor organization, the Saviour Sect. Told BBC “Newsnight” that the Sept. 11 attacks were “magnificent.” Says he is a British citizen.

ABU HAMZA AL-MASRI: Regarded as one of Britain’s most radical clerics. The Egyptian-born preacher – who has one eye and hooks for hands, which he says were lost fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan – was a cleric at Finsbury Park mosque, long a magnet for extremist Muslims. In custody, awaiting trial on charges that include encouraging the murder of Jews and other non-Muslims and using threatening or abusive language. Has pleaded innocent to all charges.


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Faraz Rabbani’s Response to the UK Hijab Fatwa

Question: Recently a known British Muslim scholar has been reported in news stories as advising women who fear being harmed physically or verbally to remove their hijab so as not to be identified by those who are hostile to Muslims. What is your opinion on this matter. Can one remove hijab for fear of being targeted violently by others?


Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Major scholars of the Muslim world have expressed their dismay at this statement, and regarding similar statements that ultimately harm the religious practice of individual Muslims and have a negative effect on the recognition of Muslim religious rights.


(1) Hijab is something personally obligatory, and upholding it in one’s practice is from upholding one’s religion–which is the central objective(maqsid) of the Shariah.

(2) When other matters that the Shariah came to protect–such as life and safety–seem to be in threat when upholding religious duties, then one must consider whether this threat is true and genuine; and whether it can be dealt with through reasonable alternatives that allow apholding one’s duties.

(3) The threats to safety can be dealt with by travelling in safe ways; avoiding being out alone in places where one’s safety may be at risk; and by wearing clothing that (while fulfilling Islamic rulings of modest, covering dress) does not attract ‘undue attention’ or backlash. It should also be noted that a lot of the attacks have simply been on people looking ‘ethnic’–even if they weren’t dressed ‘Islamically’, and in some cases even when they weren’t Muslim in the first place.

(4) The way to deal with challenges to Muslim religious rights isn’t to seek the path of least resistance but, rather, to stand up for one’s individual and community rights as citizens of democratic societies that recognize and uphold such rights. As such, someone who has reason to fear for their safety should seek appropriate recourse with the authorities–and it is only by standing up that one’s voice will heard and one’s rights respected.

And Allah alone gives success.

Stamp - Faraz Rabbani.jpg

Faraz Rabbani

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How Hizb ut-Tahrir works in Central Asia

A BBC News clip:

“It does still preach peaceful change. The lesson from Central Asia is that driving it underground can be counterproductive when it comes to tackling fanatacism and hated.”


Ed: Requires Windows Media Player

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Art prankster sprays Israeli wall

“Secretive “guerrilla” artist Banksy has decorated Israel’s controversial West Bank barrier with satirical images of life on the other side.”

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Zaki Badawi: Stop Wearing the Hijab

Dr. Zaki Badawi, head of the Muslim College in London and chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams, has issued a fatwa encouraging Muslim women to stop wearing the hijab in light of recent violence against Muslims in Britain following the attacks of 7/7. He is quoted as saying “dress is meant to protect from harm, not invite to it.?

This fatwa is similar to one disseminated in America following 9/11 in which Shaykh bin Bayyah urged Muslim women to cover their hair using an alternative to the hijab, for the American context it meant something like a baseball cap or a wig. While Shaykh bin Bayyah did not say that women should stop wearing the hijab, Dr. Badawi is.

There is a longstanding principle in Islamic jurisprudence that one can hide one’s Islam if one fears for safety and this is the heart of the matter: do Muslim in the UK feel so threatened that they must now stop wearing – what many consider to be obligatory – the hijab? This is a question that only Muslim women in Britain can answer for themselves, but it does raise some other interesting questions for hiding one’s Islam. Should Muslim men shave their beards? Should British Muslims adopt Anglo-Saxon names and shed their Muslim sounding ones?

In a recent post we saw a Muslim scholar’s fatwa for Spanish Muslims during the Inqusition in which he encouraged them to feign the ritual practices of Catholics if under duress. The question for Muslims in the UK will be where one draws the line and strikes a balance between fear of safety and fulfilling their religious duties, indeed a tricky question.

Dr. Badawi was also recently barred from entering the US.

For media coverage of the fatwa you can follow the links below: BBC News The Mirror The Guardian The Telegraph The Herald Sun Townsville Bulletin

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A Fatwa Given to Muslims in Spain during the Inquisition

“[A] Legal Responsum (fatwa) for the Moriscos, 1504. This response was written by a religious scholar in Algeria in the 16th century in order to help the Moriscos who were living in Spain during the Inquisition. The jurist’s name was Ahmad ibn Bu Juma`ah al-Maghrawi al Wahrani. The fatwa was probably directed specifically towards the Moriscos living in Granada, because the Muslims living in Valencia and Aragon still enjoyed mudejar status at this time and were not subjected to conversion until the mid 1520s. Al-Wahrani advises the Moriscos in ways to maintain the spirit of their Islamic faith while changing the outward rituals so that they would not be detected as being Muslim by the forces of the Inquisition.”

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Hate crimes soar after bombings

Surprise, surprise.

“Religious hate crimes, mostly against Muslims, have risen six-fold in London since the bombings, new figures show.”

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