Spotlight on Greenwich University Islamic Society in Wake of Murder

From the Daily Telegraph:

The Islamic Society at Greenwich University, where both the Woolwich suspects are thought to have studied, has hosted a series of radical Muslim speakers and distributed extremist literature, The Telegraph can disclose.

The group’s possible role in radicalising Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, is coming under close scrutiny after it emerged that the society had promoted extremist views for years.

…The Telegraph has learnt that a pamphlet written by a preacher who was banned from entering Britain by the Home Secretary in 2010 was distributed during a freshers’ fair at Greenwich University in 2011. Dr Zakir Naik, the author, said in the booklet: “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

The paper notes that the society has also hosted Khalid Fikry, who claims that “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman is the victim of a conspiracy, and that its Facebook page has promoted videos by Abu Usamah, who has expressed inflammatory anti-gay views and and expressed support for Osama bin Laden.

According to the Times Higher, Michael Adebolajo studied at Greenwich from 2003-05, although there are no records for Michael Adebowale.

Naik (last blogged by me here) is President of the Islamic Research Foundation, and a former student of the late Ahmed Deedat; Deedat was a prolific author of English-language tracts opposing other religions and attempting to prove the Koran through scientific arguments, and Naik follows the same method (here he is having a chat with Turkish creationist Harun Yahya and others). He’s also a 9/11 Truther.

Naik’s Wikipedia entry has a discussion of the “every Muslim should be a terrorist” comment, with links to original sources including a YouTube video where he discusses bin Laden:

If he is terrorizing America – the terrorist, biggest terrorist – I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist. The thing is that if he is terrorizing the terrorist, he is following Islam. Whether he is or not, I don’t know.

Apparently he later claimed this had been taken out of context, and the quote from the leaflet noted by the Daily Telegraph appears to have a rather different meaning:

Every Muslim should be a terrorist. A terrorist is a person who causes terror. The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly every Muslim should be a terrorist for the antisocial elements of society, such as thieves, dacoits [bandits] and rapists. Whenever such an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is generally used for a person who causes terror among the common people. But a true Muslim should only be a terrorist to selective people, i.e. anti-social elements, and not to the common innocent people. In fact a Muslim should be a source of peace for innocent people. 

The above is from Naik’s Answers To Non Muslims:Common Questions About Islam. Of course, it doesn’t even begin to explain away Naik’s original statement about bin Laden, but does put a rather less sinister light on the detail reported in the Telegraph.

As for Abu Usamah, the Telegraph notes that he featured in the 2007 documentary Undercover Mosque; while being filmed covertly, Abu Usamah expressed hatred of the “kuffaar”, and explained that although he rejected the “methodology” bin Laden, he regarded bin Laden as worth “a million George Bushes” because he is a Muslim, and that all non-Muslims are “pathological liars”. Bizarrely, West Midlands Police subsequently threatened the programme-makers with prosecution for supposedly stirring up racial hatred by “distorting” their footage, and when they received legal advice that this would have no chance of success they followed up with a complaint to OFCOM; according to Newnight journalist Peter Marshall, the police regarded Abu Usamah as the “the last buffer before radicalised people fall off into the abyss” because of his supposed rejection of terrorism.

According to the Times Higher, Greenwich is now investigating:

David Maguire, the Greenwich vice-chancellor, said its investigation would look at what links the two men had with the university and whether there had been any “past or present” extremism on campus.

It’s not necessarily the case that a group can be defined by the worst thing ever said by a speaker or writer to whom it has given a platform, but it is reasonable to put pressure on an organisation to explain itself when a discreditable association is revealed.

One Response

  1. Last paragraph – Yep!

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