Extremism in Waltham Forest: an update (1)

In recent weeks, various commentators on social media have questioned why a Pakistani preacher called Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman has been allowed into Britain to tour mosques.*

For Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman is a fervent supporter of Mumtaz Qadri, and the latter is a very controversial figure indeed.

The story starts in 2011. Qadri was a policeman guarding the liberal governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, when one day he shot him dead. Quadri’s motive was straightforward: he abhorred the fact that Taseer had advocated the reform of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

Subsequently, Quadri was tried and executed, events that for some have made him a martyr, a man who has given his life defending Islam from its enemies.

Reflecting on these facts, I wondered whether Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman planned to visit Waltham Forest as part of his current tour.

It turns out that, as far as I can see, he did not.

But a quick Google search shows that he has been here previously, speaking at Leyton Mosque in 2015, and the Lea Bridge Rd. mosque in 2015 and 2014.

Salman Taseer’s son, Shahba, quite understandably wonders what on earth is going on: ‘These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. It’s countries like the UK and the US that claim they are leading the way in the war against terror [and] setting a standard. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?’.

His views demand respect.

But leaving aside arguments about government policy, what of the mosque officials who again and again have allowed Muhammad Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman a platform?

Waltham Forest councillors, council officials, and boosters from other faiths take such people seriously, and do business with them, even promote them.

Perhaps it is time for a re-think?

* See for example:

http://hurryupharry.org/2016/08/18/red-carpets-red-lines/

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