Monday, 18 February 2013

Time to end the death threats

On Sunday The Sun newspaper gave front page headlines to resident hate cleric Anjem Choudary  who had apparently called on his followers to claim "Jihadi Seekers Allowance" so that they could plan and make "Holy War". Choudary is a egotistic, publicity-seeking self appointed guru who uses the religion of Islam for his own purposes.

Most Muslims tell us he is not representative of them, something I would concur with, unfortunately he is far from being alone. There are far too many of these charlatans around not only in this country but abroad as well.

Peter Tatchell reports today that Muslim MPs who supported gay marriage in Parliament have been receiving death threats and fatwas from Islamic extremists & clerics both in the UK and abroad. He writes:

Mufti Muhammed Aslam Naqshbandi Bandhalevi, imam at the Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Bradford, has issued a fatwa, or ruling, declaring one of the five pro-gay marriage Muslim MPs, Sadiq Khan, an “apostate” and that he should “repent before Allah”, reports the Daily Mail. Mr Khan has received death threats since the parliamentary vote and is now under police protection.

Mufti Muhammad Aslam Naqshbandi of Jamia Islamia Rizvia mosque in Southfield said that Muslims MPs who supported the right of gay couples to marry had put themselves outside of Islam, according to a report by the Pakistan-based newspaper, The News International.

The same paper reports that at least three Pakistani clerics have declared that the MPs were no longer Muslims and they must repent.

Several UK-based Islamist sects have denounced the MPs, including Hizb ut-Tahrir; as have posts on extremist websites such as Islamic Awakening and

At the same time The Times reports that four missionaries caught distributing (or planning to distribute Christian literature in Libya have been arrested and could possibly face the death penalty as it is illegal to preach any religion other than Islam under Libyan law.

There has been a drive against Christians in a number of countries in the Middle east since the rise of Islamism, with many fleeing for their lives in places like Iraq or facing deepening persecution as the Coptic Christians are in Egypt. The situation developing in Libya is just the latest manifestation of growing intolerance, but one that is clearly deep rooted in "tradition".

The use of the death penalty against "unbelievers" was recently highlighted in the case of a child accused of desecrating and burning pages of the Koran in Pakistan. Turns out she was innocent. the "crime" had apparently been committed by a cleric hoping to drive Christians out of his neighbourhood. This hadn't stopped a mob wanting to kill her without trial and the threat to the small and vulnerable Christian community was very real.

The point is that whilst Choudary and his mates may well not be representative of the Muslim community, there is an intolerant tendency within Islam which they are to latch on to amongst a proportion of their community. The time has come for all Muslims to demand the end to the threat of death for perceived slights against their beliefs. The extremists both here and abroad have to be combated and taken head on.

Tolerance is a virtue that everyone of every race religion or creed should learn. Free speech and criticism has to be allowed in every country in the world. Only this way can we all truly begin to be free. After all if someone really believes in their faith how can words alone threaten them? Or does the manifestation of violence come from the insecurity of those whose social and political positions rely on unquestioning obedience and the threat of death to those who question them.

One might now ask who the true unbeliever really is?

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