Friday, September 29, 2023

Government Suspends Grant to UK Mosque after FWI Outcry

ResearchGovernment Funding of IslamismGovernment Suspends Grant to UK Mosque after FWI Outcry

The British government has suspended a grant of £2.2 million ($2.8 million) to a radical mosque in Birmingham, after FWI alerted authorities to the statements of its imams, who inform congregants how to “hate” non-Muslims and kill women, homosexuals, and apostates.

The award of £2.2 million to Green Lane Mosque on August 4 was one tranche of a £77 million grant earmarked for 44 youth centers across the United Kingdom, chosen by the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Youth Investment Fund.


Green Lane Mosque claims the £2.2 million grant is to build “a state-of-the-art youth centre, with modern facilities including open versatile spaces, a fully equipped teaching kitchen, and a creative arts area with a captivating digital tunnel installation.” Activities on offer will include “Leadership programs, critical thinking programs, arts and culture elements, staying safe online, and empowerment of minoritised communities.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer. (Photo by Richard Townshend, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said in a July 19 speech that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is working to “broaden the horizons of young people right across the country” by funding “mentors and role models” such as “trusted adults found in youth centers.” 

However, the “trusted adult” at the Green Lane Mosque is Abu Usamah At-Thahabi, an American-born imam, and one of Britain’s most notorious hate-preachers. Sermons by Thahabi, aired on the 2007 British TV documentary series Undercover Mosque, openly advocated violence, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia.  

In the documentary, Thahabi, a graduate of the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, warned of a “jihad” coming against the unbeliever, declaring, “We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of the kufr” (i.e., infidels).

Thahabi has also stated: “If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?” More explicitly, he has declared: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”

As for apostates, Thahabi advises, “kill him in the Islamic state.” Meanwhile, women “are deficient, even if they have a Ph.D. Her intellect is incomplete. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional.” Therefore, “it takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of a man.”

Officials had transferred £77,000 to the mosque before an anti-extremism group called Focus on Western Islamism (FWI) raised the alarm. The rest of the award was halted when FWI appeared to present evidence showing how the mosque’s clerics promoted hate speech.

The Daily Mail

Critics have previously accused public officials of covering up for the mosque. In response to the 2007 documentary, the West Midlands Police sought to punish the documentary makers, referring them to the broadcasting watchdog and falsely accusing the company of unfairly editing the footage, which was obtained undercover. The company behind the documentary, Hardcash Productions, sued the police for libel, eventually winning £50,000.

Thahabi has an international reputation. For example, he is banned from entering Denmark.

Thahabi is not the only extremist at the Green Lane Mosque. The current chief imam and head of education at the mosque is Zakaullah Saleem. In a recorded sermon published on the mosque’s TV channel GLMTV, Saleem offers explicit advice on how to punish a woman who has committed adultery: she must be stoned to death after she is buried up her up to her waist to preserve her modesty. 

A third imam at the mosque, Abu Mustafa Rayyan, sanctions marital rape, declaring in an interview posted on GLMTV that a wife must not refuse sex, but must be “obedient and respectful.” Rayyan also stipulates that Islam allows polygamy, whether women like it or not. Polygamy or bigamy is a statutory offence in the UK.

Green Lane Mosque also houses the headquarters of the Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e Hadith, a registered charity affiliated with a hardline extremist movement, widely accused of terror links in Pakistan. Today, it runs over 40 mosques and branches as well as Islamic schools and is an affiliate of Britain’s leading Islamist umbrella body, the Muslim Council of Britain.

On August 24, FWI contacted the British government to ask about the grant, providing evidence of Thahabi and other imams’ extremism. A spokesperson for DCMS told FWI that it had “paused the distribution of the grant to the Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre in Birmingham and is investigating the recent allegations.”

“Green Lane [Mosque] received a smaller pre-construction grant from the Youth Investment Fund, worth just over £60,000. However, to date none of the main £2.2m approved funding has been distributed to the organisation via the Youth Investment Fund.”

The Daily Mail has since reported: “Officials had transferred £77,000 to the mosque before an anti-extremism group called Focus on Western Islamism (FWI) raised the alarm. The rest of the award was halted when FWI appeared to present evidence showing how the mosque’s clerics promoted hate speech.”

British Islamist-run website 5 Pillars wrote on August 11 that government funding for the Green Lane Mosque was approved just a few months after Mercy Mission, a charity in the British city of Bradford, published the British Muslim Civil Society report, which argued that Muslim charities should benefit from government partnerships. 5 Pillars reports that Jehangir Malik, director of Mercy Mission UK, was “involved in the Green Lane Mosque’s bid.”

If true, further questions may need to be asked, as, on his LinkedIn page, Jehangir Malik also claims to be an “advisor” to the DCMS.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

In February 2023, Home Secretary Suella Braverman ruled that British counter-extremism efforts’ “first objective will be tackling the ideological causes of terrorism. We will work with other government partners to step up our approach to disrupt radicalisers and extremists who create a permissive environment for violence and who spread poisonous ideologies that undermine our values and our society.” 

She added “We will strengthen our oversight and decision-making of the civil society organisations we fund to ensure they challenge extremist and terrorist ideology effectively and that we do not, under any circumstances, work, engage with or fund extremists.”

Taj Hargey, provost of the reformist Muslim thinktank Oxford Institute for British Islam, who had warned about the danger of Saudi-inspired doctrines in the 2007 documentary Undercover Mosque, tells FWI: “It is all the more galling that the British government gives them a grant when their ideology was made public 16 years ago. They cannot give funds to wolves in sheep’s clothing. All of these people, when they meet government officials, they spout liberal and progressive rhetoric, but the moment you scratch the surface you find the fundamentalism and ugly fanaticism rearing its head.”

This unholy alliance of the trendy woke with religious extremists spells disaster for the UK.

Taj Hargey

“All of them are feeding at the trough of Saudi or Gulf petrodollars. All of them. They are all singing from the Wahhabi hymn sheet. They don’t have the intellectual argumentation on their side, but they have the economic might.  As reform-minded, open-minded, liberal pluralistic Muslims we have to keep exposing them. There is no stoning to death in the Qur’an. They base their Neanderthal, antiquated, archaic, irrelevant Islamic perspectives purely on the Hadith, the sharia and the fatwas, sources fabricated 300 years after the prophet’s death. That is not God’s law. It is medieval theology masquerading as divine law.” 

Hargey adds: “It’s totally scandalous when … government and law enforcement connive with right-wing Muslim fundamentalists. This unholy alliance of the trendy woke with religious extremists spells disaster for the UK.”

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