A vicious Saudi cleric is welcomed with open arms in London.
by Michael Weiss
August 11, 2009
There is no question that Great Britain has been struggling with an internal Islamist problem for quite some time.
The former imam of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque was the one-eyed, hook-handed Abu Hamza al-Masri, by turns a host to figures as friendly to civilization as Richard Reid, the “Shoe Bomber,” and Zacarias Moussaoui, the “20th hijacker” on 9/11. London’s own grim day of domestic terrorism, July 7, 2005, was orchestrated by the sons of Asian immigrants — one of whom, it was later disclosed, was under the messianic spell of Hamza.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and beheading in Karachi was plotted by a graduate of the London School of Economics.
Most visibly, the Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi — who has called Jews “treacherous aggressors,” cheered suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq, and endorsed the corporal punishment of homosexuals — was twice invited as an honored guest to London under the aegis of that great city’s unfortunate last mayor, Ken Livingstone.
For his embrace of violent fanaticism, Qaradawi was banned from visiting the UK in 2008, but that has not stopped men of his ilk from visiting since.
Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais
Just last Tuesday, Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais paid call on the East London Mosque for the second time in his tenure as the head cleric of Saudi Arabia’s Golden Mosque. The first was in 2004, when he led a prayer for “interfaith peace” that was attended by Jonathan Sacks, the grand rabbi of Great Britain; Fiona Mactaggart, the racial equality minister; and — in a prerecorded message of well-wishing — Prince Charles. “The history of Islam,” Sudais said on that metaphysically variegated occasion, “is the best testament to how different communities can live together in peace and harmony. Muslims must exemplify the true image of Islam in their interaction with other communities.” A very comforting notion, to be sure. But these vestments, worn for western audiences, disguised Sudais’ uglier wardrobe for when his audience is exclusively Muslim.
On April 19, 2002, Sudais gave a sermon in Mecca entitled “Al Aqsa Is Crying Out for Help” that was broadcast on Saudi Arabia’s TV1 station and reprinted, in English translation, on a Saudi website that catalogs Islamic sermons delivered in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina:
Read the history to know that yesterday’s Jews are evil predecessors and today’s Jews are worse successors. They an ingrate people, they altered God’s words, worshipped calf, killed Messengers and denied their Messages. They are exiled people and the worst of mankind. Allaah cursed them and cast His wrath upon them. He turned some of them to monkeys and pigs and worshippers of creatures. They are worst in position and are astray from the right path.
History of Jews is full of deception, trickery, rebellion, oppression, evil and corruption. They always seek to cause mischief on the earth and Allaah loves not the mischief-makers. They even insulted Allaah. The Quraan says: The Jews say: “Allaah’s Hand is tied up (i.e., He does not give and spend of His Bounty). Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered.” (Al-Maaidah 5:64)
Nor is that all. At reported in the Daily Telegraph, in 2003 Sudais referred to Jews “scum of the earth,” “rats of the world” (with whom there should “be no peace”), and “monkeys and pigs who should be annihilated.” Christians are, in Sudais’ comparative theological lexicon, “cross worshippers,” and Hindus “idol worshippers,” though he did not deign to use such language at his interfaith confab. He has also called for God to “terminate” the Jews, a request that led to his having a series of lectures canceled in the United States and a travel ban placed on him by Canada.
This leads to the obvious question: why hasn’t the British home secretary, who saw fit to squash the vacation plans of the Dutch parliamentarian and anti-Islam provocateur Geert Wilders, seen fit to scuttle the sojourns of such a hateful cleric who commands the attention of millions of parishioners in a Wahhabist dictatorship?
This surely has something to do with Sudais’ influential patron in London, Mohammed Abdul Bari, the director of the East London Mosque and the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a registered charity founded in 1997 that serves as a national umbrella organization for 400 Muslim “affiliate” groups. Bari has reduced Sudais’ rhetoric to “some of the old reports by Islamophobes” and defended him as “very popular. He’s not just coming to our mosque, he is also visiting major mosques around the country.”
Bari’s East London Mosque received one million dollars from the Saudi government for its new Islamic center, which opened in 2004, and his Muslim Council prefers to parry or rationalize when confronted by the nastiness of those religious “leaders” it welcomes to Albion.
BBC reporter John Ware interviewed Bari, as well as his predecessor in the secretary generalship of the MCB, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, in 2005. When it came to the subject of the Islamist root of the MCB’s affiliate organizations, Sacranie had this to say:
Ware: I’m quoting from Alhe Hadith. As I say, it’s quite an important affiliate of yours and just to give you one example from their website, they say of Jews and Christians: “Their ways are based on sick or deviant views” and that “imitating the Kuffaar leads to a permanent abode in hellfire.” … Do you subscribe to that view?
Sacranie: I don’t subscribe to that. I’m not a member of Alhe Hadith but it’s a membership that we have, it’s diversity that exists in the community, having different views on life.
Ware: Isn’t it a form of diversity you should disown?
Sacranie: Well, we must accept the reality on the ground that the diversity that we have with the Muslim Community in the UK and as long as they subscribe to our constitution, which is very clear, which is on the website and it’s totally transparent in terms of its activities of a work which is through the teachings of the Quran and upholding the principles of Islam; then what they do outside the Council, there is no control that we have on them.
“Diversity” and “community” have become catchwords to those who stand for their semantic opposites. Among the other affiliates of the MCB, for instance, is the Islamic Foundation, established in 1974 by the head figures from the Jamma’at Islami party of Pakistan, which hopes to see the country governed by Sharia law. Jamma’at Islami is guided by the messianic writings of Abul Ala Maududi, the Pakistani equivalent of Said Qutb, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and well known since 9/11 as the emeritus theorist of the Bin Ladenist school of jihadism.
The Islamic Foundation sells and translates Maududi’s works to British Muslims.
Sacranie could not well argue that the MCB has “no control” over the Islamic Foundation because the Islamic Foundation was instrumental in the founding of the MCB. And Professor Kurshid Ahmad, the Islamic Foundation’s chairman and rector, also vice president of Jamma’at Islami, calls it a “blessing” that Islam is a “revolutionary ideology.” You won’t find that on the MCB website, however.
It hardly helps, then, that Prince Charles has described the “prime focus” of the Islamic Foundation to be “the promotion of first-rate scholarship and learning,” of which the crown prince has evidently done little perusing. Indeed, cynical Islamists masquerading as spokesmen for all Muslims are only aided in their efforts by gullible or timid Westerners for whom a terrible day is being called insufficiently “multicultural.”
This is how anti-Semitic goons like Sheikh Subais get their passports stamped at Heathrow.
Michael Weiss is a senior editor of Tablet Magazine and a culture blogger for The New Criterion. He also writes occasionally for Slate, The Weekly Standard, City Journal, The New York Daily News and Standpoint.