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April 1, 2004
Muslim Cooperation in the UK

Two stories from the London Telegraph show how the war on terror has divided the Muslim community -- and how imams and other leaders of Islam continue to demonstrate their disloyalty to their nation and their insistence that the only law worthy of recognition is Islam. The first article looks at the reaction of the families of the eight Muslims arrested in the UK after months of surveillance, netting a half-ton of explosives and preventing a large-scale terrorist attack:

Britain's most prominent Muslim leader last night demanded a crackdown on "rogue" Islamic preachers, blaming them for brainwashing young men with sermons promoting holy war against the West. Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, was backed by the families of some of the eight men arrested in Tuesday's anti-terrorism raids in south-east England. ...

People such as Omar Bakri Mohammed, the leader of Al-Muhajiroun, which campaigns for an Islamic state in Britain, brought "much harm to the Muslim community". He said: "These elements are preaching a message of hatred and violence that is against the Koran. They have nothing to do with Islam. There are more than a thousand mosques in Britain. We are not aware of this sort of activity in more than one or two."

The families of the suspects have called upon the British government to pass laws similar to our old Alien and Sedition Law, specifically to prohibit the teaching of violence and treason in Britain's mosques. They believe that today's leaders of Islam in Britain are perverting it into a supremacist movement that teaches their children to disobey civil authority and to commit violent acts. One father even called upon Muslims to quit listening to imams altogether and to study Islam through books instead -- a brave act in an increasingly radicalized Muslim community. In fact, these families all have acted in an honorable manner; instead of calling the police racist and spouting platitudes about the suspects, they have used the occasion to try to call other Muslims back from the brink of madness.

On the other side of that brink, however, is the mullah Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, who has told his flock to cease cooperating with British police in the war on terror and not to recognize their authority over Muslims:

Muslims cannot co-operate with local authorities against other members of the faith, the outspoken leader of an Islamic group has said. ... Sheikh Omar told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Muslims have a unique way of life. Co-operating with the authorities against any other Muslims, that is an act of apostasy in Islam."

This fundamental difference highlights the difficulty in working with even the more mainstream Muslim groups. For them, the only law is Islam; cooperating with local authorities outside the ummah is a voluntary choice, made on a case-by-case basis. The sheik, who has been agitating for an Islamic state within Britain, makes it clear that the peace and safety of the UK is a secondary consideration to supporting Muslims no matter what crimes they commit. You can't just dismiss the mullah as a crank, either, since that same message comes from mosques all over Britain, and indeed all over the world.

At least in the UK, rational Muslims have formed public-action groups to counteract the strident rhetoric of clerics such as Sheik Omar. Here in the US, the only voices we hear are from the Council of American-Islamic Relations, which spends its time and effort griping about ethnic profiling and the bad manners of Americans while making no effort to assist in our own security. No one could doubt that had those arrests taken place in the US, CAIR would have been using their face time on TV claiming that the whole investigation was a frame-up and the result of bigotry towards the Religion of Peace.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 1, 2004 5:53 AM

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