In 2017, as Britain entered the month of October, a fifteen-year-old boy was left fighting for his life after being stabbed in the head outside a mosque in Birmingham. The mosque leaders described the horrific attack as “racially motivated”. But this wasn’t an attack by a stereotypical far-right racist. If it had been, no doubt the mainstream media would have reported on it. Although police stated it wasn’t terror-related, an elder at the Maarif-e-Islam Hussainia mosque said the attack was ISIS-inspired and carried out by a Muslim of a rival sect.
When debunking the myth that Islamic terrorism is caused entirely by Western foreign policy, it’s often brought up that Sunni and Shia Muslims have been fighting each other for 1,400 years. Violence began when the two sects formed, immediately after the death of the prophet Mohammed, but it’s sadly somewhat overlooked when a Shia is almost killed by a Sunni in this country.
This Muslim-on-Muslim violence in Birmingham shouldn’t surprise anyone. Tarik Chadilioui, a Birmingham-based imam is currently facing extradition, charged with supporting ISIS. The Islamic State has been accused of ethnic cleansing, with hundreds of innocent Shia prisoners executed. Muslim hate preachers defend these crimes against humanity.
Muslim-on-Muslim murder in the name of Allah has been largely overlooked in the UK. In March last year, an Ahmadiyya shopkeeper was stabbed thirty times and kicked to death by a Sunni militant from Bradford shouting “Allah is the only one!” and “Praise for Prophet Mohammed, there is only one prophet.” Why? The kind shopkeeper’s last Facebook post read “Good Friday and a very happy Easter especially to my beloved Christian nation”. His name was Asad Shah. Where was the outrage? When Lee Rigby was murdered, thousands took to the streets to confront radical Islam. Asad Shah was killed because he loved this country. Just hours before his death, he made a video about the response he received and warned that radical Islam “needs to be nipped in the bud”. He was a British patriot and deserves recognition and respect.
When we think of Rochdale, we think of the rape of a generation of children. We forget the terrorist attack in February 2016. When a respected imam, Jalal Uddin, was beaten to death by ISIS supporters. The quiet, but popular old man was killed with a hammer in an attack “borne of hatred and intolerance”. The terrorists, Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 22, and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, accused the imam of practising “black magic” for following an Islamic superstition called Ruqyah healing. It’s punished with death in the Islamic State and was punished with death in the United Kingdom.
This fringe lunacy enables extremism. But it has been normalised. When questioned by Richard Dawkins, Medhi Hasan, journalist and go-to “moderate Muslim” for the left-wing media, insisted that the prophet Mohammed went to heaven on a flying horse. If a moderate Christian or Hindu were confronted with something like this, they’d probably call it a metaphor or lost in translation. If not, they would be considered hard-line. Are our expectations of Muslims so low that we consider them moderate simply for not being terrorists? Atheists should challenge and mock these ridiculous ideas. Muslim leaders should do more to discourage their followers from reading scripture so literally.
Then there was the Bangladeshi Muslim man who died in Luton in a suspected honour killing, after a relationship with a Hindu girl; , Ahmed Mohammed Ibrahim, who was beaten to death in Liverpool at 17 for drinking alcohol; and the seven year-old boy beaten by his mother for failing to memorise verses from the Quran. The child died in his home in Cardiff.
When we think of Muslims being the first victims of Islam, we think mainly of Muslim women. Because many of whom are subjected to FGM as children. We rarely think about the abuse and persecution sometimes faced by Muslim men from their communities. At demonstrations around the country and in my beloved city of Exeter, I’ve met ex-Muslims who can no longer see their families and reformists demonised around mosques. Sometimes for their views, other times simply for the colour of their skin. A gay Muslim told me how he hated seeing his mother wear the burqa and how children received corporal punishment in mosques where they were taught to hate Ahmadiyyas.
Muslim Men matter too
When Muslim boys are exposed to radical ideas, the first victims will be their childhoods. In numerous documentaries, hidden camera footage has exposed teachers in Islamic schools beating their pupils. This is where the seeds of hatred can be planted, ensuring these boys grow up spiteful and angry, to dream of Jihad.
These innocent men have been overlooked for too long. We need to stand up for Muslim men from the more peaceful sects and westernised Muslims. Find common ground with the reformists, who expose the hateful teachings that produce Jihadist terrorists. And listen to what solutions they have to offer. This would not only help a section of the Muslim community that is often ignored but would also help us ditch the “far right” label once and for all.
Frankie Rufolo / Islamism