Muslim clerics will say no prayers for London terrorists
A group of 130 imams and religious leaders have refused to perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the London Bridge attackers, identified here as – from left – Youssef Zaghba, Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.
The leaders said they would not carry out the ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim, regardless of their actions.
In a statement on social media, the group said:
Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege.
The statement added:
This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam.
Religious leaders of all backgrounds have condemned the attack which killed seven and injured 47 on Saturday evening when three men rammed a rental van into pedestrians then randomly stabbed revellers in bars and restaurants near Borough Market.
A panel of speakers at the East London Mosque said they would work to combat extremists’ “twisted narrative and their perversion” of religion.
Said the chairman of East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman:
Once again we come together, to stand united against those who try to divide us. The cold-blooded murder of innocent people in London on Saturday evening will not succeed in driving us apart.
I have a clear message to those who perpetrate terrorism: you are against the very core teaching of Islam and of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Your misguidance will lead you to destruction, and God willing you will utterly fail in your evil aims. We stand apart from you and your corruption of the religion of Islam. Terrorism has no faith.
But on his LBC radio show, Maajid Nawaz, above, founding chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank that seeks to challenge the narratives of Islamist extremists, insisted that terrorism and religion are undeniably linked.
Responding to a caller called Muhammad, who phoned in to say “Islam has nothing to do with violence. How can somebody say that Islam has anything to do with violence?”, Nawaz replied:
Well it has something to do with it, doesn’t it Muhammad? Not everything, not everything, but something. When the prophet Mohammed said: ‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger’, that’s clearly got something to do with violence doesn’t it?.
Muhammad said he would need to know the context of the sentence before he could fully agree.
Maajid explained why the link between violence and Islam must be first acknowledged and then understood.
When listeners hear Muslims like yourself say it’s got nothing to do with it, they think that you’re trying to shirk responsibility and sidestep the very important task that faces all of us to challenge extremism within our mosques and our communities.
Of course, that may not be what you intended, but it sounds like that to listeners who are not Muslims, it sounds like you’re making excuses so as to not go about doing the work that all of us have to do, which is to challenge extremism.
Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said that throughout history religious scriptures have “been twisted and misused” by people to justify acts of violence – and that politicians should not just say:
This is nothing to do with Islam. I don’t think it is getting us anywhere, just like saying Srebrenica had nothing to do with Christianity.