Birmingham: Opposition to Saudi imams
If Saudi clerics are sincerely opposed to al-Qaeda, is this enough to make them role models?
An instructive row has broken out between the Quilliam Foundation, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, humanists, and progressive rabbis on the one hand, and the Green Lanes Mosque in Birmingham, over a couple of visiting Saudi imams who will preach there this weekend.
The Quilliam/BMSD complaint is that these people are well-documented anti-semites and preachers of hate; the mosque responds indignantly that the preachers are thoroughly opposed to al-Qaeda and to terrorism, and that the objectors are unrepresentative stooges.
The first question is whether the original charges are justified. Here, I think that the mosque has been caught bang to rights. The letter objecting to the preachers" visit lists some pretty hair-raising statements on their site. The links are to Arabic sound files, but I don't see any reason to doubt their authenticity, which has not in any case been denied:
On the other hand, the mosque defends itself against the charge that it is sponsoring terrorism: "These speakers are academics who have specialised in Islamic sciences and are well respected in scholarly circles. It is grossly unjust to suggest that they belong to some fringe ideology rather than orthodox Islam."
Is anti-semitism of this sort really mainstream, orthodox Islam?
Source: Guardian (English)