Activist Mazhar Khan responds to BBC Radio 4’s documentary on the Deobandi movement, which he argues sheds more light on the UK Government’s political hypocrisy.
On Tuesday 5th April 2016, BBC Radio 4 aired a documentary on the Deobandi movement, where the group’s alleged links to terrorism and violence were explored.
I felt obliged to respond to some of the documentary’s blaring points of hypocrisy and anti-Islam language and undertone.
1. The programme claimed that “Masood Azhar, the Man that brought Jihad to Britain” spoke at various Deobandi mosques in the UK in 1993.
However, the British government knew Masood Azhar was from Jaish-E-Muhammad. He had served a term in prison in India for his jihad in Kashmir, yet the government granted him a visa! They knew exactly who he was but clearly did not view him as a threat.
Jaish-E-Muhammed was not a proscribed organisation in 1993; therefore Masood Azhar had not broken any laws in the UK. So it is rather disingenuous for the media to bring this out 23 years after his visit! If anyone has questions to answer, it is the government for issuing a visa, not the mosques because mosques do not control the borders!
2. Deoband was founded by Maulana Qasim Nanotvi who fought against the British in 1857.
Historically speaking, India was ruled by Muslims for about 1,000 years from the Delhi Sultanate to the Mughal Empire, until the illegal occupation of India by the British. The British murdered and slaughtered their way into occupying India and making it a part of its colonial empire.
To fight foreign and illegal occupation is an honourable deed in Islam. The charge that he “fought the British” is not something to be ashamed of, but a badge of honour for defending the land, property and rights of the indigenous people against the tyranny of occupation. People in France that fought German occupation during WW2 are celebrated not criminalised, so why should Muslims be ashamed of the honourable Maulana?
Britain was in the wrong not those who resisted occupation. The 1857 Jihad was against an occupying force unlike the British slaughter in India, which was targeted at civilians and the ulama.
3. Maulana Motala is a “secretive figure” – the implication being that there is something sinister about him.
In reality, the Maulana is first and foremost a teacher of Islamic studies. He is not a politician, a leader or a public figure, and does not have to answer or justify to the BBC what he does.
4. The unsaid narrative of the program was staunch adherence to Islam is a danger to Britain.
This has been the ideological argument for successive British governments on what causes violence and terrorism since 9/11 and 7/7. However, numerous academic researches, crime statistics and security experts have stated that this far from the case. Every single evidence based study into this “conveyor-belt theory” has disproved this.
Violence is caused by an array of factors, which include the many injustices in the Muslim world. The West’s foreign policy has a great deal to answer for in relation to this. Islam has been on the planet for 1,500 years, yet “Islamic terrorism” has only been around since 9/11.
Maybe it’s not because of Islam, but because of illegal wars, occupation, and western support of brutal dictators. Rationally speaking, how does it harm Britain if Muslim women wear the niqab, or men grow beards, and don’t party or drink alcohol? How does that harm Britain and why is that a problem?
Unless the problem is Islam itself?