Today I witnessed extremist discourse in action within a British mosque. I was left shocked, upset and outraged. Outraged for the poisonous bile that was being fed to children, women and men – British Muslims – and for the lack of respect shown for this country and its values of freedom, democracy and respect towards others. Words, rantings, teachings all have CONSEQUENCES. Make no mistake of that… We need to drown out Islamist extremist discourse. We need to be aware of what’s being said and provide the antidote to this disease.
Here’s 10 statements steeped in extremist ideology and how you can respond to help educate others – both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
1. Democracy is against Islam
“Democracy is a form of shirk [blasphemy], it is against Allah and is un-Islamic” – see these quotes by imprisoned extremist preacher Anjem Choudary:
“We don’t believe in democracy, as soon as they have authority, Muslims should implement Sharia. This is what we’re trying to teach people.”
“By 2050, Britain will be a majority Muslim country. It will be the end of freedom of democracy and submission to God.”
Response: God gave all human beings free will – no one can be forced to follow Islam. The Qur’an also explicitly teaches us to rule justly amongst ourselves and preaches religious tolerance.
There is no compulsion where the religion is concerned. (2:256)
And if thy Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are on the earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers? (10:100)
Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice. And surely excellent is that with which Allah admonishes you! All is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (4:59)
We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed. (5:48)
2. The West is our enemy
“Our brothers and sisters are being massacred/oppressed by The West – the kuffars [disbelievers]. WE must protect and defend ourselves from THEM!”
- Don’t confuse religion with politics.
- No body/group/nation of people is (singularly) responsible for their own governments – politicians don’t (always) represent civilians and “ordinary” people yet the people are always the one to suffer from both sides of violence and war. Many British people for example protested against going to war in Iraq and millions of people (both Muslim and non-Muslim) continue to fight for human rights worldwide. What are you doing…?
- Sectarianism, corruption and racism is rife in Muslim states and is haram [forbidden]. Such corruption and oppression has resulted in dictatorial regimes, torture, mass murder and war in countries such as Syria. Corruption and exploitation is a global problem – including in Muslim countries.
- There is no “US” and “THEM” – not to any sane, rational, balanced person. People are people. You can’t put them in one single box. “The West” doesn’t exist as a specific sole entity – the world is made up of towns, countries and continents. There are millions of Muslims born and bred, living in “The West” [countries in the Western hemisphere] living happy, free lives. Many people (both Muslim and non-Muslim) seek refuge in the UK from war, violence and persecution in other countries – both Muslim and non-Muslim States.
- In any case, you don’t know who is Muslim (a believer) and isn’t.
- Furthermore, you cannot kill non-Muslims except in self-defence (see point 6).
- Lastly, if you are living here yet you hate it so much, why don’t you turn yourself around and become a valuable member of society to protect and represent both Muslims and non-Muslims and fight for human rights? If that’s not something you believe in then you could leave and go elsewhere…?
3. Members of the Shia, Ahmadiyyah communities etc. aren’t Muslim
“Shias are infidels”, “Ahmadis aren’t Muslims” etc.
Response: For ANYONE to be a Muslim you have to believe in and declare the declaration of faith: “There is no god but Allah (the One and Only God) and Mohammed is his Messenger“. Shia Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims etc. believe in Allah, Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) as the final messenger and in the six pillars of faith. Furthermore, Islam does not permit sectarianism.
See here for further information.
4. Insulting Islam / Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) calls for violence
“They insulted Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) – kill them!”, “Burn down their building/office – they insulted Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and Allah!”
Response: The pen is mightier than the sword as they say. We cannot insult others or react violently to things we don’t like or even to actual hate speech. Use such occasions as an opportunity to teach other people about Islam and demonstrate good etiquette and decorum.
The Servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on Earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply ‘Peace’. [25:63]
Call people to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching, and argue with them in the most courteous way. [16:125]
5. Muslims must take over the world
“Everyone should be Muslim so we must conquer the kaffir lands by force and implement sharia [Islamic law/principles]” – see this quote by Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary:
“Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says, ‘What do you want when you grow up? What is your ambition?’ they should say, ‘To dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain – that is my ambition’.”
Response: Allah guides whom He wills. He created the world as he planned and created each and every one of us they way he designed. Islam is a choice given to us by free will with which there is no compulsion. Carry on with your life, act morally, do good deeds and leave people in freedom and peace. There are good and bad examples of behaviour in every faith and community. Focus on your own life and show Islam to others through good behaviour (see also points 1 and 2).
6. Non-Muslims are our enemies – we must kill them
“We are called to jihad – we must fight against the kaffirs” – see this quote by extremist preacher Abu Hamza:
“Killing a Kafir [disbeliever] who is fighting you is OK. Killing a Kafir for any reason, you can say it, it is OK – even if there is no reason for it.”
Response: Non-Muslims are our neighbours, colleagues, friends, even spouses and family members (e.g. Christians and Jewish ladies, convert family members etc.) – they are not our enemies. God knows who is Muslim and who isn’t. Who are we to judge? In the UK for example we live safely and freely. Muslims must reject violence. Muslims mustn’t kill anyone – we can only act in self-defence as a last resort if our life is in danger.
Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190)
If anyone killed a person – unless it was for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed the whole people. (5:32)
See here for further information.
7. Women must be disciplined and controlled through violence
“You must hit your wives so they are well disciplined and obey you”, “Allah permits hitting your wife in the Qur’an” – as exemplified by Abu Hamza:
“Bring up your daughters to that manners [not to answer back] otherwise they going to be divorced in the first week of their marriage or slapped in the face.”
Response: Men are not permitted to hit women – their wives, daughters, sisters – none of them. Your spouse is your companion – if there are martial problems you should discuss issues with wisdom and as a final, ultimate last resort: separate.
Evidence: According to Shaykh Abdelmumin Aya, an appropriate translation of the ayah used to justify beatings is:
But those wives from whom you fear arrogance, and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) leave them alone in beds (and last), convince them of the need for change. (4:34)
8. Islam permits slavery – including the use of sex slaves
“We are permitted to keep slaves and capture women/girls in times of war and use them for our sexual pleasure as sex slaves” [i.e. like ISIS have done with Yazidi women and girls].
- Slavery is forbidden – all humans are born free and have free will (slavery was a pre-Islamic practice).
- Rape is forbidden (any non consensual unwilling sexual activity is rape). Sex is between a husband and wife [an emotionally and physically mature consensual marriage between adults/young adults] and must be fully consensual.
- Any other practises are pre-Islamic and against Islamic principles and teachings. We have moved on from then – end of.
Evidence: See here for more information.
9. Women must be forced to cover
“I wanted my wife to wear a headscarf/face veil… She must wear it! [So I forced her to!]”
Response: The right to cover is a woman’s right but it must be done out of free will as an act of worship to God according to our own free will having chosen to be Muslim (see here and here – point 1).
10. Child brides are fine and totally permissible
“She’s reached the age of menstruation so she’s good for marriage…”
Response: No, this is not permissible. Marriage is a serious contract between two consenting adults of sound mind who are physically, emotionally and sexually mature and ready for such commitment. Without willing consent (through sound mind) then the marriage is void. See here for a full breakdown.
So there you are, if you hear people spouting off about how democracy is shirk or on the other end, how Muslims want to enslave us all (!) – then hit them with this! 🙂
For more information on what Islam really teachers, you can also check out the True Islam campaign and endorse the 11 points. Keep spreading the word!
Feature image: Voyou Desoeuvre