THE NEW JIHAD
The struggle to keep the lid on radicalisation
As the ripples from the Charlie Hebdo and Lindt Café terror attacks continue to spread, questions are being asked in cafes, workplaces and houses everywhere: could it happen in New Zealand? The best answer available so far is ‘unlikely but not impossible’. The media have focused on five kiwis known to have joined ISIS and nine more whose passports have been cancelled, but that overlooks one important factor – the influence of hate preachers within the NZ Islamic community is far wider than just 14 people, and it’s a story the daily news media have failed to tell you. IAN WISHART has the details
In his seminal book on the rise of militant Islam, scholar and journalist M J Akbar recounts how insults have been traded between Christianity and Islam since Muhammad first darkened the doorways of Jerusalem.
Muhammad, he writes, has been labelled a “glutton…sex fiend..a devil…pervert…eaten by pigs”.
Akbar, of course, gets away with this precisely because he is a Muslim, a scholar and a journalist, debating the issue. He was reporting what others said, not endorsing the insults. The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo mocked Muhammad because they don’t like religion, and were milking the subject for laughs.
Bile, writes Akbar of the historical conflict , has “infected” the debate between the two big faiths, and “the Muslim reply to character assassination was the death sentence”.
Back in the old days, a thousand or so years ago, Christians in the occupied territories like Spain and southern France regularly insulted the Prophet, knowing they would be arrested and killed by their Muslim overlords. In Cordoba, a Catholic monk by the name of Perfectus was surrounded by a Muslim crowd and taunted into defending Jesus Christ.
“It was a set up by Muslims, of course”, writes Akbar. “To deny Jesus would be to deny his own faith, but to reject Muhammad meant an invitation to a beheading. It was a capital offence.”
Perfectus, says Akbar, initially tried to answer the challenge cautiously, “but suddenly something snapped and he burst into a torrent of passionate abuse, calling Muhammad a charlatan, a sexual pervert and so on.”
The crowd dragged the monk off to the local governor, who tried to be lenient, realising Perfectus had been provoked. But then the crowd started up again and Perfectus thought ‘to hell with it’, and called the prophet a child molester and every other insult he could think of. A few minutes after losing his head in the heat of the moment, he lost his head in the heat of the moment.
A group of Franciscan monks in Jerusalem pulled a similar stunt in front of the Muslim governor of that city in 1391 AD, walking to the steps of the al Aqsa gold mosque and demanding to see the governor. When he came out, with his Muslim entourage, the monks called the Prophet a similar bunch of names that Perfectus had used.
The crowd called for their heads, the governor gave the monks a choice “Convert to Islam or die”.
“They chose death,” writes Akbar, “because by inverse logic it would ensure [eternal] damnation on the Muslims.”
What we in the West would call “extreme Islam” is not some modern aberration confined to a few crackpots, as the daily media and political leaders would have the public believe. “Islam is essentially a soldier’s religion,” says Akbar, citing historian John Bagot Glubb approvingly.
Every time there’s a terror attack, Islamic apologists appear on TV to reassure the wider community that “Islam is a religion of peace”. On Newstalk ZB’s Kerre McIvor morning show over the summer, one passionate Muslim insisted to McIvor that “nowhere in the Qur’an is violence advocated!”
McIvor swallowed it, making the appropriate sympathetic noises to her national audience, but the statement is far from true:
“When the sacred months are over, slay the unbelievers wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them,” urged Muhammad in the Qur’an, Sura 9:5
“Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. – Sura 9:29
While it is true the Qur’an has verses urging peacefulness, those verses were written when Muhammad had virtually no power and Islam was young and weak. As Islam’s influence grew through conquest, the verses became more and more aggressive. You can pick almost any book of the Qur’an at random, and verses urging followers to violence against non-believers are everywhere:
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip,” says Sura 8:12, a verse authorising beheading and hand-chopping. The same chapter of the Qur’an carefully establishes that “believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely – Sura 8:2”
In case the reader still doesn’t get it, the Suras go on to note that anyone opposing the spread of Islam is a candidate for the beheading alluded to in verse 8:12:
“That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger – indeed, Allah is severe in penalty. Sura 8:13”
Unbelievers who resist risk losing their heads, those who surrender can be ransomed off:
“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. – Sura 47:4”
“The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, never told his supporters to fight other religions,” said Kerre McIvor’s caller. Evidently he wasn’t up to speed on Sura 8:39, which urges fighting until there is no resistance and Islam is in total control:
“And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah. And if they cease – then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do.”
For those who argue there is no precedent for spreading terror in the name of Islam, consider Sura 8:60:
“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.”
Allegedly, Allah told Muhammad that a handful of committed Islamist fighters could take down a nation of unbelievers, because the latter don’t understand the fight they are in:
“O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand. – Sura 8:65”
Why then is there such a difference between what the Qur’an actually says, and what Western Muslims say it says? Part of it is undoubtedly fear of a backlash from the majority community, and part of it may also be that such messages interfere with efforts to evangelising Islam in the west as a “religion of peace”.
Whatever the reason, the end result is that politicians and the public in western countries are not getting an accurate picture of the growing Islamic communities in their midst.
In New Zealand, nearly all media comment about Islam is coordinated by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, or “FIANZ”. FIANZ promotes “Islam Awareness Week” each year and says it’s all about being open and transparent:
“We need to build a distinctive New Zealand with one identity built on each of us being sincere in who and what we are, where we come from, what our hosting home and culture are. Openness and dialogue are important to go ahead as a nation,” says a FIANZ newsletter from 2006.
But it wasn’t being entirely straightforward – “Islam means peace”, FIANZ said in one Islam Awareness Week article. That’s not ‘peace’ in the western understanding of the word, however, that’s ‘peace’ in the sense of ‘no more resistance’ alluded to in the Sura above. The more accurate translation of “Islam” is “submission”, and the word “Muslims” means “those who submit”.
That’s one of the core doctrines of extremists. They believe “peace” in the Islamic sense can only be established in the world once everyone has been forced to “submit” to the will of Allah and the rule of his priests.
Nonetheless, in the spirit of openness that FIANZ stands for, let’s examine the situation in New Zealand.
Top secret American diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show concern at the growing infiltration of extremism into NZ’s Muslim faith.
“A recent influx of Arab and African immigrants is creating tensions within New Zealand’s traditionally South Asian Muslim population,” says one cable from the US Embassy in Wellington, “as well as concerns about preventing terrorist groups and Wahhabi ideology from gaining a toehold here.”
The message, dated 17 October 2006, echoed concerns raised by NZ Muslims with Investigate magazine and other media several years earlier about an influx of Arabic speaking migrants bringing extremist doctrine to mosques here.
In early 2007, Investigate published a highly controversial article on “Preachers of Hate” who had been touring New Zealand. One, named Bilal Philips, had been secretly filmed by a Channel 4 documentary crew in a British mosque endorsing Muhammad’s marriage to a nine year old girl as an example for Muslim men everywhere.
“The prophet Muhammad practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this [Western] society today, but we know that Prophet Muhammad practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage.”
Philips had also been quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “The clash of civilizations is a reality. Western culture…is an enemy of Islam.”
But it gets better. An al Qa’ida explosives expert, Hampton El, aka “Dr Rashid”, testified in the court case against World Trade Centre bomber Ramzi Yousef that he and Bilal Philips had visited al Qa’ida terror hideouts and that Philips had played a key role in getting him involved.
And here’s the shocker: Philips was invited to New Zealand to encourage young Muslims as a guest of FIANZ, which said afterwards:
“The visit of Dr Bilal was indeed very successful and FIANZ hope to continue in the tradition of welcoming respected overseas Islamic scholars/speakers to New Zealand to further enrich our community.”
“The theme for [Bilal’s] lectures was “Muslim Minorities living in Western Civilisations”, notes the FIANZ report. “There were full attendances in all the Centres he presented his lecture. His lectures were very enlightening and educational.
“A recurring advice throughout his lecture is for the Muslim community in New Zealand to join together to pursue an Islamic way of life in education, housing and commerce.”
The newsletter records that Philips visited the Federation’s offices to hold discussions with local Muslim leaders Hanif Ali and Sheikh Amir, as well as discussions with Muslim students at Victoria University and intensive workshops on how to spread Islam with “a group of enthusiastic brothers and sisters” at Auckland’s Avondale Islamic Centre.
The Avondale Islamic Centre hit the news headlines last year after concerns that its leader, Imam Abu Abdulla Mohamed Abu Hamam, was preaching extremism and had “potential terrorist allegiances”, according to a Herald news report.
Hamam denied doing anything wrong, and told the Herald he was unsure whether he was the “Hamam” referred to in this leaked American embassy cable[i]:
“New Zealand has approximately 50,000 Muslims, including over 10,000 Somalis, and approximately 708 indigenous Maori Muslim converts. The New Zealand Police recently provided information indicating some New Zealand Muslims have fought in Afghanistan, Bosnia and possibly Chechnya. The police are also looking at some New Zealand citizens/residents who may have traveled to the Middle East including Iraq. A specific example of such a person involves an individual known only as “Hamam”. This individual is an Afghan veteran and a surgeon from Egypt. He is currently living in Auckland on state benefits and refuses to become employed. He stays in a local Mosque and espouses anti-Western views. He is being monitored by the New Zealand Police. The EAC [a US Embassy Wellington intelligence unit] agreed that some members of New Zealand’s Muslim community may be sympathetic to terrorist organizations around the world.”
In the 2007 article, Investigate identified a number of extremist preachers who had been invited to New Zealand to spread the kind of Islam linked to terrorism. Hardline Islam. No compromise Islam.
Those hate preachers we listed included the aforementioned Philips, but also Sheik Khalid “There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” Yasin, and Yahya Christians and Jews are “evil” Ibrahim.
We also blew the whistle in that 2007 article on the involvement of Saudi Arabian ‘charity’ WAMY (World Assembly of Muslim Youth), which has been blacklisted as a front for terrorist funding and recruitment by the USA after documents emerged linking it to 9/11 and other terror incidents. WAMY had been running youth camps for New Zealand Muslims.
The BBC obtained footage from WAMY youth camps overseas, where Muslim children were encouraged to hate Jews: “The Jews are enemies of the faithful, God and the angels. Teach our children to love taking revenge on the Jews and the oppressors’.”
At the time, FIANZ spokesman Javed Khan told Investigate he was aware WAMY had been blacklisted because of its links to Al Qa’ida, but he said WAMY sent FIANZ a letter denying the allegation so FIANZ believed them.
In fact, WAMY had been named in a UN Security Council report in December 2002, entitled “Terrorism Financing: Roots and trends of Saudi terrorism financing”. That report singles out a group of Islamic ‘charities’ as funding terror and the spread of extremist Islam. The concerning news for New Zealanders wondering about a moderate Islamic community is that WAMY and two other named ‘charities’ – Al Haramain[ii] and the Muslim World League – have all helped bankroll FIANZ and the New Zealand Muslim community.
The terror blacklist has never been lifted, and in 2012 WAMY lost its charity status in Canada because of its links to terror. US intelligence files noted in 2011 that “WAMY is listed as a Tier I NGO. Tier 1 NGOs are defined as having demonstrated sustained and active support for terrorist organizations willing to attack US persons or interests.”[iii]
WAMY’s own publicly stated aim is global Islamic “supremacy”, to “arm the Muslim youth with full confidence in the supremacy of the Islamic system over other systems.”[iv]
So it was a surprise to discover that – despite our 2007 revelations, WAMY is still listed as a “partner” of FIANZ in a powerpoint presentation delivered by FIANZ in 2012. WAMY’s terror links had been expressly drawn to FIANZ’s attention in 2007, but the organisation continues to maintain a relationship.
Also listed as a major partner is an entity named RABITA, which is the Arabic name for the Muslim World League – Rabita al-Alam al-Islami – accused internationally of funding and recruiting terror and spreading extremist Wahhabism. Rabita is Saudi-funded.
Critics, including some in New Zealand’s Muslim community, have accused FIANZ of turning a blind eye to the growing infiltration of extremists into New Zealand.
In a meeting with US diplomats, FIANZ’s Javed Khan told them there were “No ‘extremist’ activities” in the NZ Muslim community, but the Wikileaks cable reveals, “However, other community leaders dispute Khan’s assertion that there is no extremist activity, citing the presence of Saudi-funded organisations on school campuses and mosque administrations…and reports of Wahhabi-inspired propaganda.”
One of those leaders was Shahin Soltanian, a former president of the Auckland University Islamic Society. He left the group because of its growing radicalisation.[v]
“Contrary to assertions by FIANZ president Javed Khan (see ref A) that there are no extremists in New Zealand, Soltanian told Conoff that Wahhabi groups have “overtly tried to influence New Zealand’s Muslim society.” Soltanian said AUIS has sponsored speakers from Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Haramain. Soltanian claimed these two groups receive Saudi money for their activities. AUIS’s alleged drift towards or tolerance of Wahhabi ideology made it difficult for Shias and even some Sunnis to stay with the group, and so Soltanian and other disaffected members left to form AEM.
“Soltanian said the extremists’ activities are not limited to the university campus; he claims that there are extremist preachers who operate with the full knowledge of FIANZ and the GNZ [Government of New Zealand]. After 9/11, he said the GNZ deported a few rabble-rousers, but others operate without hindrance aside from casual surveillance by the Government. He also claims that while he and others are trying to counter these groups’ activities, most of the community remains silent for fear of being branded infidels.
“Soltanian asserted that inaction by the government, acquiescence by Muslim groups like FIANZ, and the extremists’ strong financial backing from abroad make it difficult to counter their growing influence. He said their activities often target young Muslims.”
So just how much can New Zealanders trust the country’s governing body for Muslims?
One of FIANZ’s big outreach programmes, receiving immense support from the daily news media, is the annual Islam Awareness Week. FIANZ operates the Islam Awareness website as a tool to evangelise to the news media and the public. On the site, under the heading, “Why is Islam often misunderstood?”, it is stated:[vi]
“In today’s turbulent world, Islam is often on the front page – mostly for the wrong reasons. Islam means peace… The very word ‘Islam’ means peace. A fifth of the world’s population is reclaiming this peace as their chosen way of life.”
It sounds great. But it’s a lie.
“Islam does not mean peace. It does NOT mean peace. If you thought it did, get another think going,” says Sheik Yusuf Estes in a Youtube lecture.[vii] “Islam is the surrender, submission and obedience to Allah.
“First of all you surrender your will to the will of almighty God. Number two you submit to his commands. Number three, you obey them to the best of your ability.”
It is true. The word Islam literally means “submission”, not “peace” as claimed by FIANZ. Why are they making false statements to New Zealanders?
The Islamic Awareness website continues to mislead in other areas. Under the heading, “What does Islam say about war?”, it states:
“Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of one’s faith, or on the part of those whose basic rights have been violated. It lays down strict rules of combat that include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees, and livestock.
“War is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous conditions laid down by the sacred law. The often misunderstood and overused term jihad literally means “struggle” and not “holy war” (a term not found anywhere in the Qur’an). Jihad, as Islamic concept, can be on a personal level – inner struggle against evil within oneself; struggle for decency and goodness on the social level; and struggle on the battlefield, if and when necessary.”
Now, remember that the Islamic Awareness site is aimed at non Muslims. If you go to Muslim websites aimed at Muslims, you’ll find a very different perspective. Again, compare the NZ comments above to this from Islamic scholar Maulana Waris Mazhari, who despite not agreeing himself, admits the “majority” of Islamic scholars support the notion of aggressive jihad:[viii]
“The issue of offensive jihad has for long been a subject of heated debate among Islamic scholars. Some scholars are of the view that Islam allows for just one form of jihad, in the sense of war—defensive jihad. Others disagree, and believe that Islam permits both defensive as well as offensive jihad, in the sense of fighting. Perhaps the latter opinion enjoys the support of the majority of the ulema. In contrast to defensive jihad, which is fought in response to the aggression of an enemy, offensive jihad allows for war to be waged against a non-Islamic country in the absence of that country having taken any steps to initiate fighting against Muslims. Advocates of the doctrine of offensive jihad claim that it is a necessary means to establish the supremacy of Islam and to destroy the power of infidelity.
“Proponents of offensive jihad consider it to be not just legitimate but even a farz-e kifayah or collective duty binding on the entire Muslim ummah. They go to the extent of arguing that such offensive war is binding on an Islamic state against even those non-Islamic countries that permit Muslims to freely practice and propagate Islam. The only exception that they make in this regard is in the case of those countries that have a peace treaty with the Islamic state. Even here the most fuqaha or scholars of Muslim jurisprudence regard such treaties as only temporary and as permissible only if the Islamic state lacks the power to engage in war. Defenders of this view believe that a non-Muslim state has only three options: to accept Islam, to accept Islamic supremacy and pay the Islamic state the jizya, or to be ready to accept death.
“The majority of Islamic jurists and Quranic commentators (mufasirin) consider war to be the real basis of relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. They regard the infidelity [unbelief] of non-Muslims as the cause (‘illat) of such war. They believe that Muslims must engage in war with non-Muslims continuously till Islam establishes its supremacy over all other religions. Since, in actual fact, this, as Muslims believe, can only happen just before the Day of Judgment, they argue that Muslims must necessarily continue to wage war against non-Muslims till the Day of Judgment finally arrives. The opinion of Imam Shafi‘i and some other fuqaha is even more extreme in this regard—they argue that only Ahl-e Kitab or ‘People of the Book’ [Christians and Jews] can be permitted to stay alive in exchange for paying the jizya, and that all other non-Muslims must accept either Islam or death.”
There is heavy irony, especially in wake of the attack on the atheist magazine Charlie Hebdo, that Islamic extremists would let Christians and Jews live but execute the atheist liberals.
Another half truth published on the IslamAwareness.co.nz website reads:
“Is Islam respectful of other beliefs?
“Yes. The Qur’an states unequivocally:
” ‘There is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from falsehood…’ (Qur’an 2:256)
“Freedom of conscience is an essential tenant [sic] of Islam. Truth can only be seen if it is not clouded by coercion. Protection of the rights of non-Muslims is an intrinsic part of Islamic law. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said:
” ‘He who hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim State – I am his adversary and I shall be his adversary on the Day of Judgment.
” ‘Beware on the Day of Judgment, I shall, myself, be the accuser against him who wrongs a non-Muslim citizen (of a Muslim State) or Lays on him a responsibility greater than he can bear, or deprives him of anything that belongs to him’.”
What FIANZ doesn’t tell its readers is that the ‘no compulsion in religion’ command came very early in Muhammad’s mission, when Islam was extremely weak with fewer than 400 supporters in the Middle East. It had no power to force people to convert.
What FIANZ doesn’t disclose is that Muhammad changed the rules of the game once he gained power: you were free to become a Muslim, but like the Hotel California, once you’ve checked in you can never leave.
“…The Prophet said, ‘If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him,’ “[ix] records the Hadith collection of the Prophet’s commands.
“Allah’s Apostle: ‘During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection’.”[x]
Another example of New Zealand’s moderate Islamic community aligning themselves with extremists comes from the Masjid e Umar mosque in Auckland – New Zealand’s biggest mosque – whose Facebook page promotes a Pakistani firebrand, Muhammad Taqi Usmani. Usmani is an expert on sharia compliant finance systems, and has come to the attention of UK watchdog ShariaWatch:[xi]
“Usmani’s book “Islam and Modernism” has been translated into English and relevant pages are available online here. In this book he responds to a question about whether Jihad needs to be waged in a country like the UK where Islam can freely be preached. He responds by quoting the Quran: “Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay Jizyah after they are humbled or overpowered.” (Usmani p131) Jizyah is the subjugation tax imposed on non-Muslims under Islamic rule. He has subsequently been removed from the HSBC and Dow Jones advisory boards, but still sits on several other advisory boards and is regarded as a leading Islamic authority on SCF. It stretches credibility to assume that the other sharia advisors sitting under Taki Usmani’s chairmanship of various boards were unaware of his fundamentalist views.”
Usmani is reported to be a leading figure in the Deobandi brand of Islam – a mixture of Sufism and Wahhabist doctrine. The Taliban follow the Deobandi school. Evidently the Masjid e Umar in Mt Roskill sees something to like in it as well.
Another Deobandi firebrand being promoted at Masjid e Umar is Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari, who doesn’t think Muslims should have western friends.
“Do not commence by greeting the Christians and Jews with Salam. If you meet one of them on a pathway, force them to walk on the side … The reason for this impermissibility of saying Salam to non-Muslims is to not show them respect.”[xii]
Al-Kawthari is also on record saying a Muslim man is entitled to rape his wife under Islamic belief, and that adultery should be punished by death. Ironically, it appears he was banned from speaking at the radical East London Mosque last year for being, well, too radical.[xiii]
In his defence, al-Kawthari lashed out at the media, saying he was reaffirming the Qur’anic requirements, but that such laws would never be imposed in a Western country unless it allowed the introduction of sharia law:
“I have merely expressed the standard and classical Islamic viewpoint on such matters,” he said on his Facebook page last year. “These punishments are of course only implemented in a proper Islamic state and under a certain context. I do not, in any way, call for or endorse amputation in non-Islamic countries such as the UK, where people choose not to have Islamic law. Islamic legal punishments are only applicable under a proper Islamic State and, as such, I was merely discussing the subject in an academic and theoretical manner.”
As his critics point out, however, sharia is already creeping into Britain and European countries where theory is slowly being replaced by reality, and at some point a culture conditioned every day to aspire to Islamic punishments will flex their muscle to get them. Otherwise, what’s the point in reaffirming those teachings in the mosques? If you no longer believe it, why preach it?
The other aspect is that when New Zealand’s largest mosque endorses a preacher such as this, they are endorsing all his attitudes, such as those on women. Al-Kawthari has spoken very approvingly of what he saw on a visit to Yemen:[xiv]
“For women to venture out after dusk is considered to be highly offensive. Women do not even go for shopping on their own unless necessary. The men of the house are expected to do the shopping or at least accompany their womenfolk to the shops and markets. Polygamy is completely normal and an accepted practice amongst Yemenis, with many Shuyukh and scholars having sometimes up to 4 wives!”
Remember, these are preachers whose sermons are promoted to New Zealand muslims, by New Zealand mosques. But it gets even better.
The Voice of Islam is a New Zealand produced TV programme broadcast on Sky each week and in some countries around the world. According to its website, Voice Of Islam is part funded by FIANZ. So let’s look at some of the preachers Voice of Islam regularly broadcasts to New Zealand muslims:
Abdul Hadim Quick
Abdur Raheem Green
Abdur Raheem Green has been a radical Islamic preacher in Britain, where he chaired a Muslim charity, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, the IERA. That charity, although denying the allegation, has been linked to young British muslims who have joined ISIS in Syria. It is currently under investigation, with Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reporting:[xv]
“IERA is run by the extremist preacher Abdurraheem Green and its board of advisers has included Bilal Phillips, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and the notorious extremist preacher Haitham al-Haddad. IERA is also under investigation by the Charity Commission.”
Green was recently pinged in a video recording of one of his outdoor speeches in Hyde Park encouraging the crowd to manhandle a Jewish passerby:[xvi]
“Why don’t you take the Yahoudi [Jew] over there, far away so his stench doesn’t disturb us?”
The extremist is also on record urging Muslims to pay no heed to the idea of democracy, calling the Western system they live in an insult to Allah.
“Let us ask if democracy means that sovereignty is with the people, that the people have the right to decide what’s halal [allowable] and haram [forbidden], and it’s up to them, then no Muslim with any mustard seed’s worth of imam can agree with this.”
Green is a regular preacher on the New Zealand Voice of Islam TV service. It may be that his sermons on TV here are less inflammatory, but by endorsing him as a regular preacher Voice of Islam is sending a message that his views fit with theirs, and those of local muslims.
The same goes for Bilal Philips and Yahya Ibrahim, covered earlier in this report.
Abdul Hakim Quick was the subject of a New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority complaint in 2004 for suggesting homosexuals should be stoned to death. He argues on his website that he is being taken too literally, and that he was only re-stating the Qur’an.
Yasir Qadhi is described in British reports as a “Holocaust denier” who promotes his denialism:[xvii]
“ ‘The Hoax of the Holocaust’, I advise you to read this book … a very good book. All of this [the Holocaust] is false propaganda … The Jews, the way they portray him [Hitler], also is not correct.”
If your national Islamic federation is posting misleading statements on its website, associating with organisations linked to terrorist fundraising and turning a blind eye to extremism, how should the New Zealand public react?
If the local TV service for muslims is regularly posting sermons from extremist preachers and thus lending them an air of authenticity and credibility, how should the New Zealand public react?
If the country’s biggest mosque is endorsing extremist preachers on its Facebook page, how should the New Zealand public react when local muslim leaders tell the media their community is moderate?
And then there’s the elephant in the room – what has caused this radicalisation in Europe, Australia, Britain and even New Zealand – where some 40 people are on a terror watchlist? According to none other than Abdur Raheem Green, the radicalisation of young muslims is a direct result of exposing them to Western culture in their new countries.
“What is the benefit for that brothers and sisters for us living here in the West? We are surrounded with evil. We are surrounded by people who are indulging in the worst type of evil. I don’t mean they’re drinking alcohol, they’re taking drugs, they’re fornicating. The worst type of evil is shirk [not being focused entirely on Allah’s will]. The worst type of evil is kufr [disbelief, not following Islamic law to the letter]. The worst type of evil is making partners with Allah, and denying Allah and turning away from their lord and their religion.
“So many brothers come from Algeria and Morocco and these places and they come thinking, and they go to the discos, and they do this and they do that, and they come and bit by bit they start seeing the reality of what it is really actually like. And so many of them, Mashallah, start practising Islam and they start practising it very strongly, which they never did in their countries, because they saw for themselves the reality of the situation. They saw for themselves what it is really like. They looked behind, you know, the make up and they saw the reality of what is behind is an ugly old bag.”
In other words, by seeing the huge contrast between what they believe and what the Western world offers, some Muslims forget their faith while others become even more fundamentalist. If Green is right, then the West has itself created radicalised Muslim youth by allowing them to immigrate and immerse themselves in what their preachers call an ‘evil’ culture.
It is this crisis of conscience in young Muslims, says former CIA analyst Emile Nakhleh, that Saudi Arabian ‘charities’ are attempting to exploit. Where al-Haramain, WAMY and Muslim World League have sown the seeds, host countries are eventually left reaping the whirlwind. He cites the impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria: [xviii]
“I visited those areas during my government service and witnessed the growth of Islamic activism and radicalization first hand. I spoke to dozens of Islamic activists in the region about the so-called root causes of their activism.
“Saudi NGOs, including the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), and al-Haramayn, funded a plethora of projects in Nigerian villages and towns in the north and provided meals to needy Nigerian Muslims, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
“They built mosques, Islamic educational institutions and libraries, community centers, and health clinics. Saudi-funded Koranic schools taught Nigerian children to recite the Koran in Arabic and preached to them how to become more committed Sunni Muslims.
“The word “jihad” became a central component of the discourse of proselytization. The underpinning argument was that Islam was under attack by all sorts of “infidels” and “apostates,” which demanded a “jihadist” response,” says Emile Nakhleh.
All of which points to a final obvious conclusion: when the daily news media or politicians point to New Zealand’s “moderate” Muslim community, they are denying reality. From “no extremists” a decade ago, there are now around four dozen on a watchlist and possibly many others the government doesn’t know about judging by the high level of interest in extremist preachers. Nothing in New Zealand’s approach to Islam has changed, in fact we’ve become far more tolerant, but the extremism has grown regardless.
The elephant in the room is FIANZ and the hate preachers who’ve been sold to New Zealand muslims as examples of good teachers. The Saudi Arabian teams we reported on eight years ago taught kids, some of whom became radicalised and some of whom have now died in Syria.
Of course, it should be stressed that the vast majority of New Zealand Muslims remain honest hard-working family people who recognise the same problems identified in this article but are too afraid to speak publicly in case there’s a backlash against them. The biggest enemy of moderate Muslims, however, are national organisations and mosques who endorse extremist preachers, perhaps because they are accepting Saudi Arabian money to do so. If true, it is a good example of selling one’s soul.
Investigate approached FIANZ for comment but there was no response by the time the magazine went to press.