British Islam at a Crossroads

Jan. 31 2022

The man who held four worshippers hostage in the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas was not a member of America’s large and diverse Muslim population, but a British subject who came to the U.S. to carry out an attack. And as Ed Husain notes, radical and violent understandings of Islam have a great deal of influence in the United Kingdom. Looking back through Islamic history, from Mohammad himself to the 17th-century Muslim emperor who built the Taj Mahal, Husain draws a contrast between a legacy of tolerance, respect for learning, and cultivation of the arts and what is preached in many British mosques today:

Britain’s first purpose-built mosque, erected in 1899 in [the London suburb of] Woking, was spearheaded and commissioned by Dr. Gottlieb Leitner, a Hungarian Jew. The female ruler of the Indian state of Bhopal, Shah Jahan Begum, after whom the mosque was later named, began financing the project in 1880. William Isaac Chambers, an English Christian gentleman, designed the mosque with the architectural flamboyance of earlier Mughal buildings in Delhi. Still standing in Surrey, the mosque was a gathering place for Muslims, and often their Jewish and Christian friends, for decades.

[Today], radical Islamist activists have a grip on more than 30 madrasas across the country. Each madrasa produces hundreds of imams for future leadership positions. I visited such institutions in Blackburn, [the hometown of the Colleyville hostage-taker], London, Bury, and Dewsbury. . . . [Their] radical, puritanical clericalism is on the rise across Great Britain.

What is more, these cleric-heavy ghettos, dominated by activists, are developing a loyalty to their increasingly radicalized community that is in opposition to any loyalty towards the country in which they live. They imagine “the Muslim community” and seek to represent it as a single, confrontational political bloc. For this reason, they find it hard to condemn causes of terrorism; . . . Palestine matters more than Preston or Peterborough. Loyalty to the nation-state is heresy. The hardline clerics and activists are busy bullying and silencing the individual Muslim citizen who aspires to healthy and patriotic civil participation.

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Read more at European Conservative

More about: European Islam, Radical Islam, United Kingdom

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy