What is the Imams role in Breeding extremist in Britain?

By Ahmed Elbaz , E.C.C.I European  Center, Netherlands & Germany

Europe in general suffers a defect in identifying the map of mosques and imams responsible for sermons, where many Islamic organizations, including extremist ones, share the management of these mosques and Islamic centers. In addition, there are complex networks of Islamic and Arabic communities that dominate mosques, which make the regulation process very complicated.                                                                                                                                                                                  Ahmed Elbaz

Britain is not a far cry from this complex situation, which bears the government the responsibility for failure in controlling this dangerous situation that threatens Britain itself and the whole world.

There were reports of many sermons delivered in mosques that involve radical ideas; incite against European citizens, whether Christians or Jews or others, as being infidels; and call for providing all kinds of support for terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

Here are some examples that confirm this situation and clarify its dangers:

  • Many sermons, which included signs of hatred and extremism, were recorded, including sermons from “Green Lane” mosque in Birmingham. The mosque’s Imam, called “Abu Osama,” described Jews and Christians as liars and infidels, and that they should be hated. He said that Muslims should live in a state that rules with Islamic Sharia and when this state is established, infidels must be killed [1]
  • An Islamic center Imam, who is a Muslim Indian, decided to incite Muslims against his fellow-Indians Hindus, making fun of their beliefs and methods of worship. This would fuel and foster sectarian conflict in Britain and transfer it to other countries as well [2]
  • One of the imams of Islamic centers in Britain called for killing infidels; those who abandoned Islam; transgender people; and those who engage in sexual relationships by throwing them from high places, as ISIS did in Syria with a man they claimed he had sex with another man. In addition, they call for reinforcing hatred against infidels (non-Muslims) in infidel Britain and not smiling at them [3]

What are the Reasons behind Imams’ Failure in Doing their Awareness-raising Role and Their Call for Extremism?

There are plenty of cognitive and behavioral reasons that contribute to transforming mosques into extremist breeding centers; imams come on top of those reasons.

  • Most imams have poor knowledge with regards to religion, which facilitates the spread of violence and hatred speech. Many of those who deliver sermons in mosques are not graduates of religious schools. Some of them are workers, some presided over the minbars (mosque pulpits) because of their ties to some Islamic organizations in Europe, and others lack education and do not understand English, which hinders their communication and integration into society, and facilitates the continuity of embracing extremist ideas and spreading them.
  • It must be underlined that many imams come to Britain after they receive their education or training in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. And thus they come with values and ideas which do not conform to the life in Britain, and are often marked by radicalism.
  • Muslim youth in Britain have a problem in communicating with imams because most of them are foreigners and old. This negatively affects the role of the mosque and imam in preparing and educating Muslim youth.
  • The majority of foreign imams who supervise mosques and Islamic centers in Britain are not sufficiently familiar with the political, social, legal and economic systems in Britain.
  • Sectarian symptoms enter Britain with a large sector of imams who come to Britain carrying those symptoms, or they are transferred to Europe through the Internet or through Islamic organizations which incite hatred. Thus it can be said that Europe, and Britain in particular, has become a fertile land for attracting sectarian turbulences from other countries to be spread in the English territories via many tools, most notably imams.
  • During investigations, the mothers of extremists give only one answer: “No one taught us. No one taught our children how to counter recruitment attempts.” So, it is obvious that the “community defense” system is weak and unable to counter extremist propaganda, and the mosque is one of that system’s pillars.

Recommendations

If there is a true willingness to fix this defect which results in many dangers, the following can be done:

  • The Muslim community is controlled from abroad! This is the first mistake that must be fixed. The helm of intellectual mobility should return to the British interior according to the criteria of the integration and citizenship plan. Identity must be built based on clear determinants. Most of the problems of the growing Muslim communities, especially the British one, are because of (identity): Am I a Muslim British … or a British Muslim? This is particularly true for those who hail from other nationalities. So, it is important to build an identity for the Muslim British.
  • Nationalizing Islamic education centers and their syllabi in Britain, which prevents Islamic movements and communities from controlling their educational programs and objectives.
  • There is a necessity to nationalize Muslim preachers and clerics to make them conform to national criteria and religious syllabi that respect the State, the order, and citizenship criteria.
  • There should be collaboration between several parties and institutions to inhibit those who think about engaging in extremism, with the mosque’s imam being one party of this strategy.  

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btx0mm5KCMI

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3cayKLI7ZE

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMwwvDcR-VE 

E.C.C.I European  Center, Peppelkade , 3992AK, – Netherlands . Tel: 0031-685901955 or P.O. Box  . 101017, Germany, e mail, info@europarabct.com

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