Mosque head: Tablighi Jamaat is harmless
Leading Glasgow Muslim says sect linked to terror plots victim of 'Islamophobia'
Glasgow central mosque
Tablighi Jamaat is active at Glasgow central mosque
A fundamentalist Islamic sect linked to a series of terror plots in Britain has been defended as “innocuous” by the head of Scotland’s biggest mosque.
Dr Shafi Kausar, the general secretary of Glasgow’s central mosque, said Tablighi Jamaat, which has been linked to the 7/7 London suicide bombings, was the victim of “Islamophobia”.
Two of the ringleaders of an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic flights, who were last week convicted of conspiracy to murder, were also members of the sect. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, the alleged ringleader, had been a Tablighi follower since his teens. Assad Sarwar, 28, its quartermaster, was also active in the movement. Mohammed Gulzar, 27, who was acquitted of all charges, claimed to be a Tablighi missionary when he was arrested.
Tablighi, whose European operations are based at a mosque in Dewsbury, west Yorkshire, has been branded a recruiting ground for Al-Qaeda by the FBI. The sect was also linked to 2001’s American Airlines flight 63 “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 London bombers.
However, Kausar, one of Britain’s most respected Muslim leaders, insisted that the movement posed no threat to British security and was being used as a scapegoat by the intelligence services. “It is the most innocuous group,” he said. “It is not political. It teaches people to be good, not to steal, to be kind to others. The feeling is that British and US intelligence have completely failed. They have to make their house in order.
“If they can blame Tablighi Jamaat then no-one is safe. They are the safest group of Muslims, no-one should feel threatened by them. Bush and Blair have disturbed the peace of the world unnecessarily. This is Islamophobia, but Islam is a divine theology and it will not be banished.”
Supporters of the movement — which was founded by scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas in India, in the late 1920s — claim it has no involvement with terrorism and simply encourages Muslims to follow the example of the prophet and proselytise (to convert someone from one particular religious faith to another) the teachings of the Koran.
However, in Scotland, senior police officers have confided that several Tablighi Jamaat followers are known to the local authorities.
“The feeling is that Tablighi Jamaat is being used as a vehicle, that some of its members are moderate but others are moving in a more radical direction and it can vary regionally, from mosque to mosque,” said a source. “In Scotland, yes, we know who some of the members are.”
The group’s links to successive terror plots in Britain have prompted calls for the government to “closely examine” the role of the movement in the radicalisation of young Muslims.
Patrick Mercer, the former shadow security minister, has urged the home secretary to launch an inquiry into the group’s activities.
“I hope that Dr Kausar is correct, but the fact remains that the name of this organisation keeps cropping up, time after time, in terrorist trials,” Mercer said recently.
“It’s overdue for this organisation to explain its aims and why radicalised individuals have associations with it.”
Shabbir Daji, secretary and trustee of the Tablighi Markazi mosque in Dewsbury, said the group was active in Scotland, including the Central and Masjid Noor mosques in Glasgow.
“We are a peaceful organisation aiming to unite communities. Our activities are open and we are in local communities from mosque to mosque and town to town. We cannot be held responsible for individual acts,” Daji said.
---------- ------------------------ --------------
, I know these bans are meant to scare us but you have to laugth. I bet they are going to Arrest Salman Rushdi soon for being a Muslim extremist.