Islamist networks in the West are blaming British Hindus for clashes between Muslim and Hindus in the British city of Leicester, in which 47 have so far been arrested and 25 policemen injured.
The violence is making international news, prompting statements from the governments of both India and Pakistan that call on British authorities to take action.
Videos posted widely on social media show mass brawls, and attacks on passers-by and police officers, and mobs approaching Hindu temples.
Global Islamist media has been quick to denounce “Hindutva” (an Indian nationalist movement) as the cause.
The Qatari regime-backed outlet Middle East Eye quickly picked up on the allegation, claiming “The ugly events in Leicester cannot be explained without taking into account the rise of the Hindutva movement in Britain.”
Such rhetoric was picked up in other publications, with New Lines Magazine (a reputable outlet, although founded by a former leading official of IIIT, an important Islamist thinktank) publishing an article with a near-identical headline.
Indeed, Western media adopted this Islamist narrative, with the Guardian reporting that the “rightwing extremism” of “Hindutva” had “[reared] its head” and had sparked events by using “a Hindu greeting that has become a clarion call for Hindutva mobs and perpetrators of anti-Muslim violence in India.”
The role of Islamism, meanwhile, has stayed curiously out of the spotlight; or even explicitly discounted as a cause. On Monday, for instance, Barnie Choudhury, editor of Easterneye, told the BBC’s “World Tonight” that there is no evidence that the violence was instigated by “Islamists.”
Notwithstanding the actual extent to which Hindu youth are responsible for events in Leicester, Islamists have at the very least exerted a considerable effect.
One important local activist seemingly involved in the troubles is Majid Freeman. A hardline radical once connected to a number of terror finance charities, Freeman serves as a “protestor” while also writing on the violence for the Islamist publication 5 Pillars.
Reporting and social media claims from Freeman about events in Leicester have received enormous attention within British Muslim circles, finding public endorsement from leading Islamists such as Moazzam Begg, a former “jihadist recruiter” who “attended three al Qaeda terrorist-training camps in Afghanistan, and … was armed and prepared to fight for the Taliban and al Qaeda against the U.S.”
Freeman was once part of a number of organizations connected to jihadists in Syria. He has encouraged European Muslims to “do jihad in Syria,” and posted “tributes” to the Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, killed in a drone strike in 2011, on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Freeman has also posted tributes to convicted Al Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui, stating: “Not a day goes by when we don’t think of a our sister Aafia Siddqui. … Allah, unite the Ummah and remove the backstabbers … and use us as a means to help the oppressed.”
Despite his open support for terrorists, Freeman has been accompanied and publicly praised by a journalist for one of Britain’s leading newspapers, the Guardian, reporting from Leicester.
Half of those arrested, it has emerged, were not from the city at all, but had traveled from farther afield.
One of those traveling to Leicester, seemingly to stir up trouble, is Mohammed Hijab, an Islamist preacher and activist widely condemned in media outlets for his previous efforts to target Jews.
Hijab once declared: “The difference between us and [Israelis] is that for them, they think life begins. For us, we believe that death begins. We believe that life begins at death. We don’t care about death. We love death”
Videos in Leicester show Hijab encouraging Muslims to use violence against “Hindu fascism.”
National Islamist groups in Britain have also sought to fan the flames. MEND, which British media reports has “legitimised the killing of British troops and promoted conspiracy theories,” has blamed the violence in Leicester on “ balaclava-wearing, hindutva-inspired, youth.”
The U.K. branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, meanwhile, has published press releases of its own, stating: “Muslims need to be aware of the wider Hindutva plans, in order that we do not walk into their traps and inadvertently serve their aims. Islam teaches us to defend ourselves, the weak and oppressed, but it forbids attacking ordinary citizens for revenge.”
Hizb ut-Tahrir is perhaps one of the most seasoned Islamist movements active in the West, and today still openly advocates for jihad against the non-Muslim world, and the establishment of a theocratic Islamic state.
The events in Leicester are even receiving some attention among American Islamists, with the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) organizing a “congressional briefing” with “peace activists,” including one activist from the British Islamist group MEND.