Serious Journalism Shock From Beeb
Tonight's edition of Panorama outlined in stark terms the serious problem of Muslim extremism in Britain today. From the programme transcript:
John Ware: Britain has around 2 million Muslims.The program also illustrated how some of the views expressed by Imans such as Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, Imam, Ka'ba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia are sweetness and love while in the UK but he shows his true colours at home. From the transcript:
Muslim leaders have condemned utterly the bombings.
And yet this murderous rage grew from within their communities.
Some influential Muslims believe the time for a full and frank debate about where Islam is going here is long over due.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Muslim Institute: I think the British people may give us benefit of doubt once this time, but if this were to be repeated, then I think the Muslim position ¿ future is very bleak. And knowing our community, the amount of fundamentalism and extremism that exists, I'm not quite sure that this will not happen again. "
John Ware: Dr Siddiqui is not alone in believing that sectarian attitudes extend beyond the small number of extremists.
Others doubt the Muslim Council of Britain has grasped the scale of this problem.
Mehboob Kantharia, Founding Member, Muslim Council of Britain: A lot of them still live in a state of denial. It is my personal belief that because they are in this state of denial, they cannot become real, you know, sort of like, forthright, really forthright about wanting to do something about the kind of extremism that prevails.
John Ware: Mehboob Kantharia was a founding member of the Muslim Council of Britain; generally regarded as the moderate face of Islam speaking for the Muslim community.
On its website the MCB emphasises it's working for better community relations and for the good of society as a whole.
It's an umbrella for around 400 mosques, and other Islamic groups.
But Mr Kantharia says that within the MCB a distaste for western secular culture still exists.
Mehboob Kantharia: One of the most powerful strands, and many will tear me up and say, 'sorry, you've got it completely wrong', has been an anti-British, anti-Western stand. We are now British, therefore this is our home, this is our country, this country is not our enemy.
John Ware: Several MCB affiliates do have links to anti western ideologies from abroad.
Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais, Imam, Ka'ba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia: The history of Islam 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.There are of course real moderates in the Muslim comunity but the Secretary General of the MCB, Sir Iqbal Sacranie is not one of them in my opinion. Relative to Osamn Bin Lid he may be moderate and tolerant but his justification on the program for his own intolerance while pleading for tolerence for extremist colegues of himself was pathetic. From the transcript:
John Ware: Sheikh Sudais is a leading Imam from the great mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest city.
He had one voice for his Western audience - another for his followers in Saudi. Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al-Sudais: The worst ... of the enemies of Islam are those... whom he... made monkeys and pigs, the aggressive Jews and oppressive Zionists and those that follow them: the callers of the trinity and the cross worshippers¿ those influenced by the rottenness of their ideas, and the poison of their cultures the followers of secularism... How can we talk sweetly when the Hindus and the idol worshippers indulge in their overwhelming hatred against our brothers... in Muslim Kashmir...
John Ware: While the MCB tolerates an affiliate that denounces other faiths, Iqbal Sacranie was famously intolerant when his own faith was insulted.The program seems to have rightly pissed off a few people over at the comment section of Panorama's website, There isn't a single positive comment yet. Al Guardian has already started the fightback.
In 1989 Muslims burned copies of Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses which ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed.
But while Muslims exercised their right to protest, they did not believe Rushdie had a right to free expression.
They demanded the government ban the book
Iqbal Sacranie was one of the joint protest leaders.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie: Attempting to insult the blessed prophet, peace be upon him, is the most serious crime in the eyes of Islamic law. The crime is considered as transgressing the limits and is worse than treason and is a capital offence.
John Ware: The Iranians had already passed the death sentence on Salman Rushdie whom they regarded as a Muslim.
Their Fatwa said every Muslim had a duty to execute it.
Mindful perhaps of British law, Iqbal Sacranie was reported as saying:
"Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him?" but he still expected Rushdie to be mentally tormented for the rest of his life.