The “Experts” are at it Again …
October 31, 2007 3 Comments
Much thanks to brother AbdulHaq for bringing a couple of things to my attention. The first was a report titled The Hijacking of Britsh Islam. Penned by Denis MacEoin, a so-called “expert” in Islamic Studies, and published just a few days ago (October 29, 2007 according to the document’s properties) by Policy Exchange, a British think tank, the report is being dubbed (by Policy Exchange themselves, no less) as,
[a]n authoritative new report by Policy Exchange, the UK’s leading centre-right thinktank, entitled The Hijacking of British Islam: How extremist literature is subverting Britain’s mosques, reveals the worrying extent of extremist penetration of mosques and other key institutions of the British Muslim community. The report is the most comprehensive academic survey of its kind ever produced in the UK and is based on a year-long investigation by several teams of specialist researchers into the availability of extremist literature and covers more than a hundred mosques and Islamic centres throughout the UK. (Source).
Those who know me fairly well will know that I have a general loathing for things Orientalist and the basic driving force behind Orientalism (to present the East—or rather, their vision of the East (Islam included)—to the West because Easterners cannot do this for themselves). If this report succeeds at anything, it’s at reinforcing the loathing I have for this field of “study”, although admittedly, it is rather sad in comparison to other Orientalist type works I’ve come across. Aside from the ridiculous suggestions made within it for policy changes in the way British authorities deal with Muslims and Islam in general and British Muslim institutions and Saudi Arabia in particular, the report’s author, true to Orientalist aims, obviously tries to pass off his vision of Islam as the correct and authentic Islam (which, judging by his biography linked to above, is probably a cocktail of Sūfism, Shî’ism and Bahai’ism—the last not even being a sect within the fold of Islam, at all!); I’ve touched on the attitude displayed by the author before in another post.
As is usually the case with these types of presentations, the author takes several books (80, to be exact) and presents one or two isolated quotes from each without any sense of context whatsoever, and based on these very few quotes, brands the books they’re being quoted from as being “separatist and hate literature,” “extremist” and “radical”. The author also tries to bunch a number of very different groups and sects under the same umbrella, among them Jamaat-e-Islami, the Deobandîs and the “Wahhabites” (the last of which is also really a number of sects and groups which these so-called “experts” have mistakenly bunched together into one, among them the Salafîs, Ikhwânîs, Khawârij, and some others – to see a perfect example of this mistaken understanding see Anatomy of the Salafi Movement by Quintan Wiktorowicz). And despite the fact that British police filed a formal complaint with Ofcom against C4:Dispatches for “completely distorting” statements from at least three of the accused preachers (including Abu Usamah Atthahabi) in their programme titled Undercover Mosque back in August of this year, the author of the report (published just a few days ago!) fails to edit his mention of the incident, leaving his readers to assume that the investigation is still in progress and that the claims made in the programme are legit!
One amusing thing I found with the report, though, is that despite their attempts to implicate Green Lane mosque, Abu Usamah, and some of the other Salafî individuals accused in the programme as deviants and extremists, distancing themselves from them in wake of the C4:Dispatches programme, Salafi Publications ended up making the report’s list of Islamic institutions in which this alledged hate literature was found anyhow (see pgs. 29 & 110-117 of the report).
The second thing brought to my attention by brother AbdulHaq was an article in the UK’s Mirror titled The Truth About the Savage House of Saud by Kevin Toolis (it will only get brief mention here on my blog). The article, along with others like it (such as the article recently written by Robert Fisk for the Indepentdent), is one greatly misinformed diatribe—especially with regards to Salafism/Wahhâbism. SalafiManhaj.com has published a reply to Toolis’s article (as well as Fisk’s) titled, The UK’s Resentful Elements Unite Against Saudi Arabia. Although I feel it a bit rushed, the article does cover some very important points and misconceptions mentioned in the aforementioned articles and report; may Allah reward them for their efforts.