The Policy Exchange, a U.K. think tank, has published the results of its year long investigation into the literature available in mainstream sites of Islamic religious instruction in the UK. The investigation found that radical material, much of it from Saudi Arabia, was available in 25% of the mosques visited including some of the most important mosques in the U.K. According to the report summary:
On the one hand, the results were reassuring: in only a minority of institutions – approximately 25% – was radical material found. What is more worrying is that these are among the best-funded and most dynamic institutions in Muslim Britain – some of which are held up as mainstream bodies. Many of the institutions featured here have been endowed with official recognition. This has come in the form of, official visits from politicians and even members of the Royal Family; provision of funding; ‘partnership’ associations; or some other seal of approval. Within the literature identified here, a number of key themes emerge – many of which focus around the twin concepts of ‘loyalty’ and ‘enmity’. Simply put, these notions demand that the individual Muslim must not merely feel deep affection for and identity with, his fellow believers and with all that is authentically Islamic. The individual Muslim must also feel an abhorrence for non-believers, hypocrites, heretics, and all that is deemed ‘un-Islamic’. The latter category encompasses those Muslims who are judged to practise an insufficiently rigorous form of Islam. Much of the material is thus infused with a strident sectarianism, in which many Muslims – particularly the very large number of Sufis in this country and around the world – are placed beyond the pale. More widely, Muslims are urged to separate themselves from people and things that are not considered Islamic; a separation that is to be mental, emotional, and at times, even physical. Western society, in particular, is held to be sinful, corrosive and corrupting for Muslims. Western values – particularly concerning the position and rights of women and in the realm of sexuality generally – are rejected as inimical to Islam.
The Hijacking of British Islam’ plumbs new depths in the ongoing and transparent attempts to try and delegitimise popular mainstream Islamic institutions in the UK and replace them with those who are subservient to neo-conservative aims. The report cultivates an insidious programme of generating sectarianism amongst British Muslims by preferring some traditions of Islam over others.
Many of the mosques identified in the Policy Exchange report are members of the MCB.
(Note: A video exchange between a Policy Exchange official and head of the MCB can be seen here.