This is a guest post by Shaaz Mahboob of British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Mosques, Synagogues, Temples, Gurdwaras, Churches and other places of worship offer a unique spiritual experience for those using them. Therefore, maintaining their sanctity is a must, both for those who use them and those who run them. This â€œmulticulturalâ€ society of ours, about to complete its first decade into the 21st Century, in many respects has come a long way from the days of Stephen Lawrenceâ€™s ghastly murder and certainly from the dark ages when witches were burnt at stake and Jews were murdered en masse, for their religious beliefs.
What has recently been picked up by Quilliam Foundation is news relating to the platform (link) being given by the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham, to two openly anti-Semitic sectarian preachers from Saudi Arabia. A quick scan of their websites reveals their contempt (link) for all the Jewish people and those belonging to the Shiâ€™ite sect (link) within Muslim communities.
Whatâ€™s most surprising is the formal response from the GL Mosque, which highlights various initiatives by the mosque in itself to apparently combat religious extremism, yet fails to even acknowledge or address the cause for concern, which happens to remain the invitation of the two Saudi clergymen with strong strong anti-Semitic and sectarian views.
Upon hearing about the invitation to the Saudi so-called scholars, a coalition of individuals with different religious and non-religious beliefs, led by BMSD, has come together in an attempt to challenge the GLMâ€™s decision and convince them to alter their plans, thereby refusing to give these two gentlemen a platform.
We wrote an open letter to the GLM, which was co-signed by Muslim Imams and Scholars, Jewish Rabbis, a humanist and a senior member of the Anglican Church, jointly explaining the rationale behind our objections to giving a platform to those who clearly hate certain members of our communities.
Hate preaching against any segment of the society remains unacceptable and will be resisted proactively by BMSD, supported by the increasing number of associates and in this case, the co-signatories. It should not just be the responsibility of Green Lane Mosque committee to preserve the sanctity of their mosque as a place of worship.
The users of the mosque, i.e. the congregation, must also exert due pressure on the mosque management to make sure they refrain from including the two highly controversial and undesirable international preachers into the conference programme.
Should such holy places lose their state of purity, or appear to be doing so by contaminating the peace with vile rhetoric sourced from abroad, the silent majority of Muslims and non-Muslims would rise up and counter such threats to the future cohesion of our society, by all democratic and legal means possible.
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Filed in: Islamists,Race politics,Terrorism