The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the UK and Ireland has issued a statement condemning the decision by the Home Office to ban Dr Zakir Naik from visiting the UK. According to the FOSIS announcement:
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the UK and Eire today criticised the decision by the Home Office to ban Dr Zakir Naik from visiting the UK. Faisal Hanjra, President of FOSIS, said today, “This is an individual who is a widely-respected household-name for many Muslims in the UK. He has carried out a significant amount of work in India to reach out to both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities and he has a truly global following. Crucially here, his stance vis a vis terrorism is clear – he condemns it and has done so categorically. His banning by the Home Office is shocking.” He further added, “The campaign by right wing think tanks and media outlets has unfortunately paid off. For the Home Secretary this is a shocking own goal. We hear time and again the cry of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, this event strikingly illustrates once again that it is one rule for the Muslim community and another rule for everyone else. We will strongly oppose these moves to ban legitimate speakers from entering the UK, and we will work tirelessly to increase their profiles in our communities until our government starts acting with some commonsense. ”
Canadian media has reported on some of the incendiary comments that have been made by Dr. Naik who was also banned from entering Canada:
An Indian Muslim televangelist who was banned from Britain last week for “unacceptable behaviour” will not be allowed into Canada to speak at an upcoming conference in Toronto, sources familiar with the situation have told the National Post. Dr. Zakir Naik, who has said “every Muslim should be a terrorist” and that Jews are “our staunchest enemy,” was to headline next month’s Journey of Faith Conference — which is billed as one of North America’s largest Islamic conferences and is expected to attract upward of 10,000 people. Dr. Naik, the Mumbai-based founder of Peace TV and a widely respected lecturer in India, has a laundry list of views that could have led to his exclusion from the U.K. and Canada, both of which require an Indian citizen to obtain a visitor visa. The 44-year-old medical doctor recommends capital punishment for homosexuals and the death penalty for those who abandon Islam as their faith. He has said that a man is within his right to beat his wife “lightly,” though in a July 2009 YouTube video he cautioned against hitting her on the face or leaving a mark.The “Keep Zakir Naik Out of Canada” Facebook group, which was launched over the weekend, also points out his view that western women make themselves “more susceptible to rape” by wearing revealing clothing. Among the chief reasons, British Home Secretary Theresa May decided to quash Dr. Naik’s U.K. speaking tour later this month, however, were comments he made in a widely circulated 2007 video.“If [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him … If he is terrorizing a terrorist, if he is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him,” said Dr. Naik, who has delivered hundreds of talks in India, Canada, the U.S. and the Middle East. “Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
A report by the Center for Social Cohesion that outlined the Muslim Brotherhood ties of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the U.K. and Ireland (FOSIS), founded in 1962 and described as an umbrella grouping of most major university Islamic societies in the U.K. The report concluded that ISCC’s (campus Islamic societies) and FOSIS members are more likely to hold intolerant views:
Significant minorities of Muslim students – and particularly younger ones – support violence in the name of Islam, endorse punishing Muslim apostates “in accordance with the Sharia” and believe that men and women are not equal in the eyes of Allah and should not be treated equally. Comparable minorities, around 10 percent of Muslim students, also have little or no respect for Jews, atheists or homosexuals and support Islamist proposals such as re-creating the Caliphate, introducing Sharia law to Britain and establishing an Islamic political party. Sizable numbers, between 20 and 30 percent of Muslim students, also hold intolerant attitudes towards minority forms of Islam such as Shi’ism and Sufism. The report additionally suggests that active members of Islamic Societies are more likely than other Muslim students to hold such intolerant views – notwithstanding that active ISOC members are also more likely to believe that democracy and re-interpreting the Sharia are compatible with Islam. ISOC leaders and former members make up the membership of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). However, as only a minority of Muslim students are active members of ISOCs, FOSIS’ claims to represent British Muslim students should be treated with caution. Treating FOSIS as representative of all Muslim students risks disproportionately empowering a small number of highly conservative, and sometimes Islamist, individuals at the expense of ordinary Muslims. At the same time, a significant minority of non-Muslims polled had a hostile view of Islam, being less respectful towards Muslims than towards other minorities such as Jews, homosexuals and atheists. Non-Muslims are also more likely to believe that the narrow and intolerant interpretations of Islam promoted by Islamist and conservative groups represent the “true” Islam: for example, more than half of non-Muslims polled believe that Islam favours inequitable treatment of women and is incompatible with secularism. This strongly suggests that Islamist groups and the ideas they promote are partly responsible for the intolerance found on campuses towards Muslim students and their religion. The poll results also indicate that a large proportion of Muslim students, up to 40 percent depending on the question, are undecided on key issues such as the legitimacy of religious violence, respecting others and whether Islam is compatible with secularism.
It should be noted that as discussed in an earlier post, that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who has been charged with attempting to blow up a U.S. airliner in 2009, was President of the Islamic Society at University College London between 2006 and 2007.