The Economist review of Ed Husain’s Among the Mosques was headed A parallel society is developing in parts of Muslim Britain and wasn’t accessible. My immediate thoughts were what do they mean ‘developing’? Those of us who once lived in, and still travel through areas now highly Muslim saw the development 15 years ago.
The Times review was behind the paywall and having access to a subscription I could read it, mindful of their copyright. The Daily Mail has an accessible report this morning.
An author who visited mosques across Britain to investigate integration has revealed how parts of Blackburn are ‘no-go areas’ for white men, while ultra-orthodox parents in Bradford make children live under Taliban-like rules.
Author and political advisor Ed Husain, Professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service in Georgetown University, has penned Among The Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain in which he explores some of the UK’s largest mosques and the Muslim communities worshiping there.
The Muslim writer, who was himself radicalised in his youth and trained for Jihad by the same people as Omar Khyam, leader of the Bluewater bombers, grew up in a Bangladeshi family in Tower Hamlets, East London.
I have on occassion pondered his motives but I’m not arguing with his facts here.
In the book, which is set to be released next week, Ed details how he researched his work by ‘turning up unannounced’ to the communal Friday prayers at the central mosque in cities across the country.
BLACKBURN: WHITE MEN FEAR VIOLENCE IF THEY ENTER ‘NO-GO’ AREAS
Among the areas Ed visited was Blackburn, which has the highest Muslim population outside of London, the global hub for the Deobandis and the Tablighi Jamaat. Almost half the mosques in the UK are controlled by the Deobandis, the ultra-orthodox version of the faith, which created the Taliban in Afghanistan, while the Tablighi Jamaat espouses a return to ‘true’ Islam as observed by the Prophet Mohammed.
In the city, where Ed was told mosques grow ‘organically’, he was shocked to discover the levels of resentment between white locals and Muslim citizens. Two white men who were locals of Blackburn told Ed Whalley Range was a ‘no-go area’.
Upon visiting the area, Ed finds the supporters of the killer of Salman Taseer, and supporters of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, advertising their propaganda. He also saw are posters for al-Aqsa Mosque and a gathering about liberating Jerusalem from Israel. The high street was packed with shops for arranging Hajj pilgrimages, restaurants which provide gender separation, Islamic bookshops and a number of mosques.
One man tells him: ‘My son’s been jumped fi ve times, they were all Asian. Five times.’
‘You mean Asian kids?’ I try to clarify. ‘No, Asian men!’ he says, with emphasis. ‘Eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds. My lad’s only twelve. They battered him in broad daylight here.’
‘For what?’ I ask, astonished. They don’t look happy at my questions, and they both go quiet.
‘For being white,’ he says, slowly and deliberately. ‘Wrong area!’
‘No!’ I say, unable to stop myself.
‘Yes! Yes!’ he says. ‘You get it in Blackburn, mate. You go to certain areas of Blackburn, they’re no-go areas … no-go areas,’ says the larger man.
I still can’t believe them. ‘Look, this is what the media guys say, but is it really true?’
‘That is true, yes. There are no-go areas in Blackburn, mate, yes.’
I am shocked. How can it be ‘no-go’? ‘So what will happen?’ I ask.
‘If we go to Whalley Range, like, him and me at night-time, we’re guaranteed to get jumped. We won’t walk out of it. We won’t walk to the other end of the street.’
And yes, I am aware (as I expect Ed Husain and the men of Blackburn are also aware) that Muslims can also be white (converts, Bosnians, etc) and many POC are Christian, Sikh or Hindu. I suspect the men of Blackburn have reason for making the observation.
BRADFORD: LOCALS FEAR IT WILL BECOME AN ‘APARTHEID CITY’ WITHIN 30 YEARS
In nearby Bradford, Ed was amazed by the lack of white English people in the city, and asked a Muslim taxi driver ‘where they are’.
He was told they had all ‘gone with the wind.’
Ed learned that Muslim parents living in the area had forbidden their children from taking part in drama, theatre and dance classes as well as drawing. ‘Islam, as I am regularly told, prohibits figurative art and also bans dancing. So the children are not permitted to draw or dance, and their parents cannot allow them to come here,’ he’s told by the director of a theatre company for children with special needs and disabilities.
Ed was told: ‘[Disabled children] are hidden away. Many of the Muslim parents just don’t care about these children, and take their social benefit money and use it to support their families, open shops, back in Kashmir.’ Which considering how high a proportion of certain disabilites are Muslim children, due to the generation upon generation of cousin marriage is appalling.
He spoke to the director of a local theatre company dedicated to helping disabled children and those with special educational needs, Louise Denham, about how the communities could come together.
But she was pessimistic, and warned that Bradford could become ‘an apartheid city’ within 30 years. She predicted: ‘There’ll be more pushback against diversity. We’ll have parties like Nazi Germany organising against the immigrant and Muslim populations.’
That’s right – make it the fault of the indigenous population, not that of the hijrahants.
Ed concluded that while the community was physically in Britain, they are mentally living elsewhere.
What emerges is a disturbing glimpse of a type of Islam that has taken hold in the often closeted domains of mosques. He conveys all too well a claustrophobic world within a world, where Muslim clerics and others feel safe — licensed even — openly to voice and defend some strikingly obnoxious beliefs and ideas, for example about the inferiority of women or the evils of homosexuality.
In one mosque in Dewsbury — controlled (of course) by the Deobandis — he notices the absence of women; there are no spaces allocated for women to pray. When Husain asks a cleric where all the women might be (pointing out that even Saudi Arabia allows women into mosques) he is bluntly told: “You’re an intelligent man, but there can be no discussion of there being women in the mosque. This would be a temptation for many.” It is no comfort to know that the Deobandis play a significant role in the training of Islamic scholars in Britain.
Time and again the author comes across disturbing reading material in mosques and nearby Islamic stores. In an otherwise ordinary-looking shop in Blackburn, he finds copies of Bahishti Zewar, a book primarily aimed at women and girls. It insists that it is a sin to “enjoy dancing and listening to music” and to “like and be attracted to the customs of the kuffar [unbelievers]”.
DEWSBURY: FEELS LIKE A ‘DIFFERENT COUNTRY AND CENTURY
Ed stated that upon arriving in Dewsbury, he feels ‘as though he is in a different country and century’. The Markazi Mosque mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe with space for 4,000 people, is controlled by the Deobandis.
There were no spaces allocated for women to pray, with a cleric telling Ed: ‘There can be no discussion of there being women in the mosque. This would be a temptation for many.’
Local bookshops sold pamphets and books promoting the separation and suppression of women, with one even outlining how women shouldn’t leave the house without their husband’s permission. One read: ‘When a woman leaves her home without her husband’s consent then all the angels of the skies and the entire universe curse her for this act until she returns home.’
The mosque is also the central office for the Tableeghi Jamaat (about which regular readers of this blog will have heard, many times, in particular their attempts to build a mega-mosque, a new European HQ, in West Ham.)
Ed called it ‘the culture of caliphism’, explaining: ‘The Tableeghi Jamaat separates itself from secular society, and preaches from door to door, to create a Muslim society from which a caliphate is expected eventually to emerge.’
One of Tablighi Jamaat’s leading advocates, the scholar Ebrahim Rangooni, has proclaimed that the movement’s purpose is to rescue Muslims ‘from the culture and civilisation of the Jews, the Christians and other enemies of Islam.’
The group has been revealed in court as having links to some of the terror suspects, with several having passed through other mosques run by the group. . . .intelligence agencies have cautioned that its ability to radicalise young men could lead to jihadist terrorism.
DIDSBURY: SHARIA COURT WITHIN THE MOSQUE – WHICH WAS ONCE A CHURCH
During a trip to Didsbury, he visited the town’s mosque, which was a church before it was purchased in 1967 by Syrian Arabs.
He came across people hauling banners and Palestinian flags into the mosque and, once inside, found posters urging support for an aid organisation accused of links with extremists.
One of the books on display in the mosque was by Khurshid Ahmad, an ideologue of the Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamist groups in Pakistan who has advocated for the creation of an Islamic state. Ahmad has referred to members of al-Qaeda as ‘brethren’ and refused to acknowledge their role in the 9/11 attacks.
Among those who have worshiped at the mosque in the past is Salman Abedi, who detonated a suicide bomb killing 22 at an Ariana Grande concert in the city. Abedi and his family regularly attended the mosque and his father sometimes led the call to prayer.
BIRMINGHAM: MUSLIMS ‘SAY THEY ARE WAITING FOR SHARIA GOVERNMENT’
While visiting Birmingham, Ed met with two friends who had recently moved to the country from Saudi Arabia. They told him they ‘can’t change their religion to suit Britain’, with one, Ahmed, saying: ‘I have no government. We are waiting for our government of the sharia to return again, headed by a caliph.’
Nearby highstreets are lined with shops selling hijabs for young girls and books with extreme arguments, including one which states: ‘Women cannot be equal to men’ and another which insists: ‘The emergence of the woman from her home is like the emergence of Shaitaan [Satan] himself.’
There’s more, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester,
The Times concludes: Among the Mosques can feel a little uneven. For instance there are an estimated 2,000 mosques across Britain. Is it wishful thinking to imagine that not all of them are in the grip of the kind of imam we come across here? The Finsbury Park Mosque, for example, is now a moderate place of worship. It holds “open days” to which members of the public are invited.
This insightful book goes some way to explaining why the dream of a modern — by which we really mean moderate — western Islam still eludes us here in Britain.
There is nothing here which doesn’t confirm my several reports 10 years ago about areas I know well (Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Dagenham, Redbridge, Westcliff, my husband’s childhood home of Savilltown in Dewsbury) becoming Islamised. One of the top comments in The Times agrees.
* There is very little in this article that has not been reported by Tommy Robinson for several years, this is why we have 30,000 extremists on a watch list.
* The ongoing abuse of young girls in the UK is founded in this racist and misogynistic mindset. There is no hope of the Imams preaching against such immorality when their core beliefs do not see it as such.
* “Where are all the white English people of this city?” Husain asks his Muslim taxi driver on a journey through the streets of Bradford. “Gone with the wind,” the cabbie tells him.” Known as ‘white flight’ and has been denounced as racist.
* Known as “white flight” and has been denounced as racist. Yes; when white people move away from an area they’ve lived in for years, because they have become very uncomfortable or worse, it’s often regarded as their fault. A friend lived in Bradford all her life and became gradually surrounded by Muslims, many of whom were perfectly friendly. But not all were, and when she – a single elderly woman – had experienced too much hostility when out and about, mainly from younger men, she decided to move out while she was still fit enough to start again somewhere else.