A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: June 2018

July 16, 2018

10 min read

Karam Majdi, a 19-year-old failed asylum seeker believed to be from Egypt, was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl he met online. Majdi claimed to be an unaccompanied minor from Syria when he arrived in the UK in 2016.

During the 2018 Quds Day rally in London, Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour of the Islamic Centre of England sent a message “to the Jewish people of Palestine”: “You can be sure that the resistance will come, free Palestine, and wipe Israel off the map.”

A protection order was issued in Sheffield for three sisters, aged one, four and six, deemed at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

June 1. Karam Majdi, a 19-year-old failed asylum seeker believed to be from Egypt, was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl he met online. Majdi met the girl and a friend at East Croydon train station in 2017 and raped her in a nearby youth hostel. Majdi claimed to be an unaccompanied minor from Syria when he arrived in the UK in 2016.

June 2. A group of up to five “Asian” males drove over a teenage rugby player and beat him with a golf club in an incident police described as a hate crime. Police said Littleborough RUFC player Matthew Hayden, 17, suffered a fractured skull in the unprovoked attack in Rochdale. Littleborough RUFC said that a car in which Hayden was riding was rammed by another car. When Hayden got out of the car, another car struck him; he was then hit on the head with a golf club. The attackers shouted racial abuses during the assault, which is being treated as a hate crime. Detective Mark McDowall of Greater Manchester Police described the attack as “brutal,” “unprovoked” and leaving Hayden with “life-changing injuries.”

June 3. Paigham Mustafa, a Scots-Muslim writer, was threatened with death after he wrote in a Facebook post that fasting between dawn and dusk during the month of Ramadan is not decreed by the Quran. In a series of threatening messages under the post, one critic said:

“Shut up or else you will get your head chopped off…shut up or else you will be beheaded…shut up you kafir [disbeliever] dog… you will get beheaded… we will kill you kafir.”

A message sent by another critic said: “Quran says kill people like you. You deserve to be killed. We will kill you.” Mustafa replied:

“I think it is important to emphasize that it is not Islam that I am against. I simply want to make people aware of those rituals that are not in the Quran. I did not say that it is wrong to fast, but ritual fasting is not decreed.”

Mustafa and his family were offered police protection.

June 3. Pubs across Britain removed Saudi flags during World Cup soccer games after offended Muslims complained that Islam bans drinking alcohol. The brewery giant Greene King supplied decorations featuring the national flags of all 32 teams to celebrate the World Cup, but because the Saudi flag features Arabic words from a sacred Islamic text, Muslims complained to the company that flying it outside pubs offends their religion.

June 3. London’s Southwark Cathedral hosted an iftar dinner — a meal after sunset during the month of Ramadan — as part of the program of events to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack. The Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, spoke about “a city of peace” and “a community of peace” before inviting those gathered at the cathedral to exchange a sign of peace with one another. A local community activist, Amir Eden, said:

“This event is another opportunity to bring people together, of different religions and of no particular religion, to celebrate our love and compassion for each other.”

In London, Southwark Cathedral hosted an iftar dinner — a meal after sunset during the month of Ramadan — as part of the program of events to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack. (Garry Knight/Wikimedia Commons)

June 4. Safaa Boular, an 18-year-old woman from Vauxhall, south-west London, was found guilty of plotting a jihadi in London. The plan made her one of the youngest females to be charged and convicted of terrorism offenses in the UK. Her older sister, Rizlaine Boular, 22, and their mother, Mina Dich, 44, both previously pled guilty to planning a knife attack in London. It was the first all-female jihadi cell in Britain linked to the Islamic State.

June 4. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that jihadis were “twisting their faith.” Javid said that after the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, he had a heart-breaking conversation with his 11-year-old daughter trying to explain what had happened:

“I had to explain that these murderers called themselves Muslims. That they were invoking the religion of my parents, and my grandparents, and countless generations of Javids before them.

“Of course, I know they are not true Muslims, but there’s no avoiding the fact that these people self-identify as Muslims.”

June 6. Home Secretary Sajid Javid lashed out at critics who said that he is “not Muslim enough” after he rejected claims of widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. He said he had been branded a “Coconut” and “Uncle Tom” and some people had even questioned whether he was “really Muslim or not.” Javid, a “non-practicing” Muslim, insisted that “Muslims come in all shapes and sizes.”

June 10. During the 2018 Quds Day rally in London, Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour of the Islamic Centre of England sent a message “to the Jewish people of Palestine”: “You can be sure that the resistance will come, free Palestine, and wipe Israel off the map.” He added:

“My message to the Zionist bunch, who are occupying Palestine, your days are numbered, either you go yourself or we will try, we will drive you away. We will kick you out of Palestine, that is a promise. I may be old, and I may not see that day, but I promise the young people who are here, you will one day see that day and you will march into Al-Quds.”

June 11. A protection order was issued in Sheffield for three sisters, aged one, four and six, deemed at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Detectives from South Yorkshire Police’s child abuse investigation and safeguarding department were granted the order for the three girls after they were identified as being at risk of being taken out of the country for the procedure.

June 12. Oxford Against Cutting, a female genital mutilation (FGM) charity in Oxford, launched a summer campaign across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to raise awareness among girls who may be at risk. Posters were displayed at bus stops, schools, hospitals, community centers, billboards and on buses. FGM was made illegal in the UK in 1985; the maximum sentence would lead to a jail term of 14 years but so far no one has been prosecuted for the crime.

June 13. Members of the Church of England clergy in Worcester East Deanery lent their support to an ambitious £3 million (€3.4 million; $4 million) bid by the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association to build a new mosque in the heart of the city. Under the proposals, the association wants to build the new mosque to cater to its growing number of worshipers. Senior figures from St Nicholas Church, St Barnabas with Christ Church, St Martin’s, St John the Baptist in Claines and All Saints Worcester all showed their support for construction of the new mosque to promote interfaith relations.

June 14. Non-Muslim police officers took part in an 18-hour fast for Ramadan to help boost relations with the Islamic community. Northamptonshire Police said the move was to “show unity” and “gain a better understanding” of the local community during the Muslim holy month. Chair of the Northamptonshire Association of Muslim Police, Sophia Perveen, said:

“When organizing this event, I didn’t expect officers or staff to fast, as it can be quite a shock to the system, however it was really encouraging to see them give it a go.

“This helped to send a powerful message to the local community that officers are willing to try different approaches to gain a better understanding of different communities, their needs and how it impacts their lives.”

June 15. Omar Mohamad, a 62-year-old man from Reading who hit a police officer in the face with a cane at a Tommy Robinson rally in Hyde Park, was spared a prison sentence. Sergeant Guy Rooney was severely bruised in the face in the attack. Passing a 26-week suspended sentence, District Judge Richard Blake said:

“While you do need that stick to walk with, you very much used it by wielding it around as a weapon. You brought the stick round and struck the officer in the face. There is no doubt that this was a very significant injury that you caused with your stick.

“You’re a man of sixty-two and of good character. You have got to sixty-two without committing an offense. Given your poor health and your previous good character it will be a suspended sentence.”

June 16. A security camera caught a fast food delivery driver for a Bangladeshi restaurant in Southgate, north London, ripping a Christian cross from a woman’s front door and throwing it on the ground before delivering her food.

Georgia Savva, a 48-year-old Greek Orthodox finance worker, had just been about to leave for work when she noticed the Palm Sunday cross that had been on display on her front door for years had been torn into pieces and left scattered on her doormat. She said:

“It doesn’t matter what your personal view is, you do not treat people like that. People are all too aware of things that are anti-Muslim, or anti-Semitic, but there isn’t even a name for things that are anti-Christianity.”

June 18. The trial began of Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, a 27-year-old man from Luton, for driving his car at a police van and reaching for a blade in London in August 2017. The court heard how he attacked police with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace out of hatred for the Queen. Chowdhury shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greatest”) as two officers grappled with him. The court also heard the contents of a suicide note he sent to his sister:

“Tell everyone that I love them and that they should struggle against the enemies of Allah with their lives and their property. The Queen and her soldiers will all be in the hellfire. They go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy. They are the enemies that Allah tells us to fight.”

June 18. Sikander Khan of Park Hill in Rochdale was sentenced to four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offense. The court heard how the victim was asleep at her home with her children and Khan went into the house without permission and made his way upstairs with the intent of sexually assaulting her. He went into the woman’s bedroom, but the victim woke up and confronted him. Police said he “fabricated a web of lies” to talk his way out of it.

June 22. Khawla Barghouthi, a 21-year-old who came to Britain from Tunisia a decade ago, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for failing to tell police that Britain’s first all-female jihadi cell was plotting an attack in London. Barghouthi was friends with Rizlaine Boular, 22, who had planned an atrocity in London with her younger sister Safaa Boular, 18, and mother Mina Dich, 44. Judge Mark Dennis QC said:

“You appear to be a caring and intelligent person. However, not only did you fail to report the matter or fail to raise the alarm with anyone in the days before your arrest, thereby helping to save others from harm including your friend herself, but you appear to have done little, if anything, actively to dissuade her from her violent course.”

Barghouthi was also told she faces automatic deportation when she completes her prison term.

June 22. Mustafa Musa, the principal of an Islamic boarding school dubbed the “Muslim Eton,” was fired after police uncovered weapons and more than £400,000 (€450,000; $530,000) in cash at his son’s apartment at the facility. Armed police were called to the Darul Uloom school, an independent Islamic school in Chislehurst, southeast London, on May 30 after reports of a man brandishing a firearm. Musa was subsequently arrested on suspicion of money laundering. The Department for Education filed a lawsuit to shut down the school, citing concerns over the safety of its 155 pupils. Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the school could remain open after agreeing that Musa and his son will have “no involvement whatsoever” with the school in the future.

June 23. The Mail on Sunday reported that up to 80 of the 193 people convicted of terrorism offenses between 2007 and 2016 will be eligible for release this year. Among them is Anjem Choudary, who is due for release in October after serving less than half of a five-and-half-year sentence for inviting support for the Islamic State. Choudary, 51, will be kept under curfew in a taxpayer-funded safe house in North London and prevented from preaching in person or on the internet.

June 25. Shamraize Bashir, a 34-year-old man from Bradford, avoided prison after he blamed an anti-Semitic tirade on smoking cannabis during Ramadan. Bashir was arrested at Manchester airport after disembarking from a flight from Tel Aviv. He reported reduced fellow passengers to tears with a barrage of anti-Semitic insults. A probation report read to the court said:

“He suggests cannabis use prior to the flight and particularly during Ramadan might have affected his behavior. But there is a low risk of serious harm and a low risk of reoffending.”

June 26. Khalid Ali, a 28-year-old plumber-turned-bombmaker from Edmonton in north London, was convicted of planning a terror attack in Westminster and making bombs for the Taliban. Prosecutors said Ali, who was arrested in April 2017, was caught carrying three knives for use in a “murderous attack” on politicians and police. Ali said he wanted to deliver a “message” to British authorities, but claimed that the knives were for protection. An Old Bailey jury convicted him of preparing an act of terrorism in the UK and two counts of possessing an explosive substance with intent. Ali will be sentenced on July 20.

June 27. Sameena Ahmed, a 47-year-old woman from Thornhill Lees, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and assault by beating. She said that she assaulted her pregnant neighbor because she was suffering from a headache due to fasting during Ramadan.

June 29. The Charity Commission, the charities regulator, announced that it had opened an investigation into the Fazal Ellahi Charitable Trust, which operates a mosque in Birmingham. An imam at the mosque was convicted of six counts of encouragement of terrorism and two counts of encouraging support for a proscribed organization in relation to a series of sermons and classes for children he gave at the mosque.

June 30. Mubarek Ali, a 35-year-old ringleader of a grooming gang in Telford, was released from prison less than halfway into a 14-year prison sentence. Ali was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 for running a “squalid” grooming gang targeting vulnerable young girls, some just 13-years-old, and selling them for sex around the country. Telford MP Lucy Allan expressed outrage over a decision:

“Victims and members of the public would have expected a 22-year sentence to mean that the community could have time to heal and victims would be able to get on with their lives.

“What we see in this case is that the one of the main perpetrators is being released into the community only five years after the trial.

“What is unacceptable that in this case there was no attempt by the authorities to reach out these young women and prepare them for this wholly unexpected event.

“Worse still is the prospect that this person may be returned to Telford and naturally this has caused huge anxiety to victims.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute

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