Riazat Butt on Comment is Free:
“Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais can normally be seen leading prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, but this week he’s been charming the crowds of Banbury, Blackburn and Birmingham, where he attended a conference organised by the Ahlul Hadeeth Society called Unity of God: A Message Of Peace And Security. This evening, he will speak at the East London Mosque.
Rewind some years and he was describing Jews as “monkeys and pigs and worshippers of false gods”, Christians as “cross-worshippers” and Hindus as “idol worshippers”. His views were highlighted in a BBC Panorama programme on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Following the broadcast, the MCB sent letters of complaint to the corporation about the accuracy and editing of the show, queries that were dealt with at length by Panorama editor Mike Robinson.
Between the earlier media reports and the programme featuring the sheikh’s comments, al-Sudais led a sermon at the East London Mosque that was attended by the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and the Racial Equality Minister Fiona McTaggart. One would have thought that these two guests, given their respective roles, would have been aware of who the sheikh was and what his opinions were: but still they went.
Peter Tatchell has asked why the Home Secretary is allowing al-Sudais into Britain. “Is it because of the close business links between the British and Saudi establishments? Al-Sudais was appointed imam of the Grand Mosque by the royal leaders of the pro-western Saudi dictatorship. His continuing tenure as chief imam is a damning indictment of the Saudi regime’s toleration of antisemitism,” he writes.”
And on Peter Tatchell’s blog:
“The chairman of the East London mosque is Muhammad Abdul Bari. He is also the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
Although the MCB has condemned anti-Semitism, it has previously declined to criticise the anti-Semitism of al-Sudais and has continued to support him despite his anti-Jewish tirade.
“Al-Sudais has stoked religious sectarianism and anti-Jewish racism. He has never expressed any regret,” said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who is urging the East London mosque and the MCB to publicly condemn al-Sudais’s “shameful prejudice.”
“As a condition for him being allowed to preach, the East London mosque and MCB should insist that al-Sudais apologise for his anti-Semitism and publicly state his opposition to hatred, discrimination and violence against Jewish people.
“The East London mosque received $US1m from the Saudis towards its new London Muslim Centre. The mosque’s links to Saudi Arabia go back many years, according to the BBC.
“I don’t understand why the Home Secretary is allowing al-Sudais into Britain, given that similar hate preachers have been banned. Is it because of the close business links between the British and Saudi establishments? ” queried Mr Tatchell.
“Al-Sudais was appointed imam of the Grand Mosque by the royal leaders of the pro-western Saudi dictatorship. His continuing tenure as chief imam is a damning indictment of the Saudi regime’s toleration of anti-Semitism.
“I am surprised that the Jewish community in Britain has not kicked up a big fuss about him coming to Britain,” said Mr Tatchell.”
Coming from somebody outside the community, that must be good to hear. Read the rest.
It is a mystery that this hate preacher wasn’t headed off at the border. And if public funding for religious institutions should be contingent on anything, it should be on their not hosting haters.