The reporter for Channel 4 is filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.
What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? “We kill him,” she says, “kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?” Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death – and as for homosexuals, and women who “make themselves like a man, a woman like a man … the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place”. These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. “This is not to tell you to start killing people,” she continues. “There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough.”
What can you say? What is there to say? This is fascism; fascism of the worst kind; the kind that not only thinks whole large sets of people should be summarily killed, but also feels perfectly happy to say so in public (though highly exclusive and sectarian and carefully non-integrated) places. This is the worst possible nightmare – the worst possible kind of human being, and the worst possible vision of society. This is a utopia in which all the best kinds of people are ‘thrown from the highest place’ by a set of malevolent narrow mindless death-loving ignorant shits. This is hell on earth. Everything good wiped out, everything bad given power to tyrannize and control and destroy.
The mosque is meant to promote moderation and integration. But although the circle does preach against terrorism and does not incite Muslims to break British laws, it teaches Muslims to “keep away” and segregate themselves from disbelievers: “Islam is keeping away from disbelief and from the disbelievers, the people who disbelieve.” Friendship with non-Muslims is discouraged because “loyalty is only to the Muslim, not to the kaffir [disbeliever]“. A woman who was friendly with a non-Muslim woman was heavily criticised: “It’s part of Islam, of the correct belief, that you love those who love Allah and that you hate those who hate Allah.”
As Saudi textbooks teach children – in those words.
Like many of the other women at the circle, I was soon invited to private sessions in houses around London, to “learn more” about Islam – or their version of Islam. Um Saleem was also at some of these sessions. Here, the women were given strict restrictions on their lives: it is reiterated that British Muslim women cannot travel far without a male guardian, cannot mix with men, and have to remain fully covered up at all times. One woman in the audience queried the strict rulings that she cannot travel without a mahram – a male member of the family – escorting her. She asked: “Sister, if me and my husband, we can’t go together, what do I do if I want to go?” She was told she cannot travel by herself. She asked again: “So what do I do?” “You go with your husband,” Um Saleem replied. There were also restrictions on education or work opportunities. One woman, who works for the NHS, was told she should leave her job as it meant mixing with men and not wearing a full Islamic garment. “You know that working in an environment that is not Islamic, working with the kuffaar, all this takes you away from the religion and hardens your heart and it would be lying to you if I say it’s OK,” Um Saleem explained. Um Saleem also criticised Muslim women who integrate into society – a view that is counter to the aims of the Regent’s Park Mosque. “You see Muslims in every sphere of everyday life in this country, I see Muslims, it breaks my heart when I see them working in banks, short sleeves, tight scarf like this, make-up, being with the kuffaar all the time, even speaking their language,” she said.
Yeah, terrible, isn’t it, women out in the world doing ordinary work in ordinary places and being around people just as if they were people, even speaking their language – it’s shocking, isn’t it.
The Mosque’s official bookshop was another focus for the Dispatches film last year when our reporters discovered intolerant and fundamentalist DVDs…I found the same fundamentalist preachers’ works still openly displayed and sold there. DVDs preaching that disbelievers are “evil, wicked, mischievous people … they do the most evil, filthy things”; that men are in charge of women and should control them…Darussalam International Publications told me that the bookshop sells a wide range of material which they “do not necessarily agree with”. It said: “We try to represent a variety of…opinions through the products we sell…in order to spread peace, respect, tolerance and understanding.”
Ah yes of course! Peace respect tolerance and understanding! Of course selling ‘products’ that preach hatred of ‘disbelievers’ and subordination of women is just the way to spread peace respect tolerance and understanding.
This stuff is so bottomlessly disgusting. It makes me want to move to another planet, or become another species, or build myself a fortified bunker. It makes me despair of human beings.