Statement on the Terror Attack on Muslim Welfare House, London

Statement on the Terror Attack on Muslim Welfare House, London.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the sickening terror attack on the Muslim Welfare House near Finsbury Park last night. Clearly, this despicable cowardly attack was deliberately planned to slaughter innocent worshippers at a place of worship during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

We, the British People, of all faiths and heritages Stand Together United and will never allow hatred, evil, and cowardly acts of terror to succeed in dividing our United Kingdom.

As a nation, we must do more to ensure our streets are safe for all our citizens. Over the years, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism. Mainstream media has often played a role in in both demonising Muslims, and promoting (even if unwittingly) extremists, feeding intolerance.

While there has understandably been a focus on Daesh (ISIS) and other islamist extremism, the elephant in the room is the massive growth of Far-Right extremism all over Europe, and in the United States. Only on Sunday, a 17-year-old American Muslim girl, Nabra Hassanen was beaten, abducted, and later found dead, after leaving a mosque in Virginia, United States.

Now the Far-Right are scaling up their attacks on Muslims, Jews, and other minorities, along with those who defend the Human Rights of everyone. The murder of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham by Pavlo Lapshyn, the bombing of a mosque in Tipton in the West Midlands, attempted attacks on other mosques across the country targeting Friday and Ramadan prayers, and the murder of Jo Cox MP one year ago by Britain First supporter, Thomas Mair.

Professor Nigel Copsey, Teesside University, wrote a report back in 2013 that showed around 40-60% of mosques and other Islamic centres (around 700) have been targeted with violence.

The media need to cease calling these anti-Muslim acts of terrorism, ‘revenge attacks’. British Muslims, along with Muslims around the world despise Daesh and similar terror groups. Muslims themselves are the biggest victims of islamist terrorists, both as direct victims of the attacks themselves, and indirectly as the ignorant and anti-Muslim extremists target Muslims in the wake of terror attacks. How therefore can it be an act of revenge to attack Muslims for the sickening, cruel, and cowardly attacks of Daesh terrorists?

Terrorism is terrorism, whoever is responsible and whatever their motivations. Terrorism is never acceptable in a civilised society.

Cowardly losers who hide behind veils of religious and nationalist extremism to target innocent people are equally contemptible. We will never allow you to divide us.

We Stand United!

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims.

Muslims must be Consistent

Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem.
(In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Kind).

One thing that’s been exposed in Manchester in the aftermath of the cowardly and horrific terror attacks, is the inconsistency in the stances of some of the city’s mullahs along with a number of others in our country, from a variety of denominations and sects. I don’t particularly want to drop names, which is why I’m discussing this from a general perspective.

While ALL have condemned terrorism and many have marched in the streets for peace and in condemnation of terrorism, a number of prominent mullahs in this country hold views, and have made public speeches that undermine their noble stance against terrorism.

How, for instance, can a mullah square the very welcome and universal stance that terrorism and murder are evil, with the idea that in an “ideal” Islamic state (whatever that is?), LGBTI people can be persecuted or even executed? Some even go so far as to discuss the ways gay people should be killed.

The only way I can square this, is that ALL such punishments are completely unacceptable in the modern world.

A person is of course free to disagree with homosexuality if they personally do not like it, but to go so far as to suggest gay people should be executed for something that they cannot help being, and which is in truth no one else’s business, is outside the pale of civilised behaviour, and just like slavery, should be absolutely and resolutely condemned by everyone in civilised society.

When we have imams and sheikhs who think it is perfectly acceptable for people to be executed for nothing more than their sexualities, we should not be surprised when groups of people protest outside our mosques demanding answers.

Muslims need to be consistent, especially in condemning the indefensible. If the mullahs aren’t, we must collectively hold them to account.

To ensure this in future, it’s absolutely vital we continue to develop generations of educated and empowered Muslims who don’t need to rely on a class (priesthood?) of mullahs. Islam shouldn’t have a priesthood anyway… Imams and sheikhs should be respected for their wisdom, taqwa (consciousness), knowledge, and good advice. If they are failing in these, they are failing us as imams and sheikhs.

Muslims should familiarise themselves with the deen. Develop a strongly humanitarian understanding of religion, and not be afraid of speaking out when necessary, against those who pervert Islam to further incompatible, inhumane, and uncivilised agendas.

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Co-Director, The Association of British Muslims

STATEMENT BY AOBM ON LONDON TERROR ATTACKS

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London has been attacked as Manchester was before it.

The United Kingdom yet again has been targeted by an ideology that has is responsible for similar atrocities around the world most recently in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in the Philippines.

We are thankful for the police and emergency services for their immediate responses to protect Londoners and confront these violent criminals.

As British Muslims in this the month of Ramadan many of us finished our fasts and were praying but these three terrorists were causing death and suffering.

Understand that these terrorists act on an ideology that seeks to impose an extreme brand of politicalised religion of what it calls Islam worldwide.

This is not the Islam followed by Muslims worldwide and never will – this is a poison that needs to be challenged by all right thinking human beings whatever their background.

This was an attack on us all and as we come together here in the United Kingdom – let us pray and stand with each other and confront not just these terrorists but also their ideology and yes their apologists hatreds, conspiracies and fear with our love, determination and courage.

Let us stand together united and let us stand free.

#WeAreNotAfraid