Thursday, January 18, 2007

Breaking news: Islam widely misunderstood at moderate mosques in the UK

This week UK's Channel 4 has aired a documentary where undercover reporters visited mosques with moderate reputation and filmed preachers there. You can find the documentary on Youtube (just search for "UK Mosques") or look in your favorite torrent place for "undercover mosques". Here is the transcript.

The idea of the document was that they did not go to the known extremist places like Finsbury Park mosque, but to the places generally known as moderate, such as the Green Lane mosque, which has regular interfaith outreach meetings and suchlike. Damn. If those guys are moderate, I'd hate to see the extremists.

The place where they have filmed the most, Green Lane mosque, has issued a statement basically saying that (all together now, children, you know the drill) they were misunderstood and taken out of context. "Dispatches failed to adequately differentiate between the application of Islamic Shariah in an Islamic State and its application within a minority Muslim community in modern day Britain," they say. This means "when our preachers say that apostates and gays should be killed, we mean that they should be killed in an Islamic state and not in the UK". Fair enough, it's a big distinction, even though this statement as such is not likely to earn you brownie points with the tolerance brigade, or indeed anyone sane. However, you forgot to mention that your preachers also preach about turning Britain into an Islamic state, which would make this distinction a bit moot.

They and their defenders also keep saying that normally they are totally moderate and peaceful and that the radical preachers who occasionally preach there have nothing to do with them and express views that they do not agree with. Interesting. Abu Usamah at-Thahabi has preached there fairly often. I can't easily imagine a Reform or Conservative synagogue that would allow Rabbi Ovadia Yosef preach there, much less on a regular basis, and probably most Orthodox synagogues wouldn't either. Can anybody imagine Fred Phelps preaching in Tuomiokirkko? And Tuomiokirkko saying that they didn't have anything to do with it afterwards?

If I had to quote every nasty thing Abu Usamah at-Thahabi said I'd have to quote half of the transcript, but the basic idea is "kill apostates, kill gays, women are inferior because they are suffering from hormones, infidels really suck and we should hate them, and just wait till we take the power". That, incidentally, is the same guy who used to talk about tolerance and say things like "at the same time, there is an appreciation for those open-minded people who judge everyone individually" to the mainstream media, at least until the mainstream journalists found Google. OK, Abu Usamah, I can judge you individually; I am not, however, sure that you still appreciate it.

Most of the webpages that advertise Islam tend to say that the mistreatment of women or any other badness in Islamic countries do not come from Islam, but from the traditional local pre-Islamic cultures that Islam failed to eradicate (which probably give them the weakest culture eradication record for the last 1400 years). In short, anything that is bad is not Islamic: it's Arabic, Persian, Pakistani, Somalian, you name it.

Problem is, Abu Usamah at-Thahabi is not an Arab, an Iranian, a Pakistani or a Somali. He is an American, born and raised in New Jersey and converted to Islam as an adult. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I have always thought that the traditional local pre-Islamic New Jerseyan culture did not include throwing gay people down from mountains, and that's not only due to the unfortunate lack of proper mountains. Sure, the full equality has not been achieved, they only have civil unions instead of real marriage and being gay still can endanger your chances to become the governor of the state, but throwing gays off the mountains, no, definitely not, and not even off the roofs. Hating the kuffaar and killing the apostates - no, definitely not the local culture either.

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