8 August 2016- JOINT STATMENT ON THE DAILY MAIL STORY
We, the undersigned, have a commitment towards working for the common good in Wales for those from all backgrounds. Towards this end, we have worked to build relationships between mosques, civic institutions and the government, believing a united Wales can help foster a society in which all forms of extremism and violence are rejected.
We, the Imams of all mosques in Wales condemn all forms of extremism and reaffirm our strong commitment to work together with all members of our communities, civic society and the Welsh Government to counter extremism and building a cohesive, unified and progressive Welsh society.
We are concerned by a recent Daily Mail article accusing a young Imam, Ali Hammuda, of promoting “sex slaves”. Not only is this slanderous and untrue, as Ali Hammuda has himself clarified clearly and unequivocally, it undermines mosques as spaces where counter-narratives to extremism can be delivered. All our mosques are open to all members of the society, and all Imams can be approached for any scholarly and academic discourse and understanding of Islam and its values. The journalist’s covert recordings were wholly unnecessary, as we are happy for anyone to attend.
One of our affiliates, the Al-Manar Centre of Glynrhoddna Street, has come under intense scrutiny since Nasser and Aseel Muthanna and Reyaad Khan were discovered to have joined the so-called Islamic State in summer 2014. Naturally, this news was a shock for all Muslims in Wales. The three individuals worshipped at a number of mosques in Cardiff, including the Al-Manar Centre. Some journalists considered this as enough evidence to incriminate Al-Manar as a centre of radicalisation, despite the mosque being a vocal and committed partner in both countering the ideology of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (Da’esh), and the social factors that lead to radicalisation.Moreover, it was in fact staff atAl-ManarMosque who first alerted the authorities with concerns about the three boys’ disappearance.
The leaflet, “What Islam Really Says,” produced and launched by the community-led Cardiff Prevent Stakeholders Group, is another example of an anti-radicalisation project which the Al-Manar Centre, along with the MCW and Imams from all Cardiff mosques, were involved in. The leaflet is aimed at young Muslims, challenging the messages of violent extremists.
This scrutiny of Al-Manar has continued sadly, with the Daily Mail and others insinuating that Shaykh Ali Hammuda is a “radical,” and even a persona non grata within Wales. This accusation is bizarre and certainly unfounded. He is a well respected young knowledgeable Imam. His vocal position against not only religious extremism but also political extremism, racism and bigotry is well known, recognised, and respected by those within the Welsh Muslim community and by all mosques.
Countering extremism requires all partners in society to work together, not just Muslim communities and mosques, but equally the government, statutory partners and indeed the media. Vital to neutralising the message of extremism is having the safe space to discuss sensitive issues which extremists exploit to bolster their message. These safe spaces must exist in mosques, schools, Universities and all institutions.
All mosques and Muslim institutions in Wales are committed to teaching morals and values of the Islamic tradition, compassion, forgiveness, the sacredness of all human life, and the equality and personhood of every individual, male and female. The work of Imams and religious leaders is to bring these values and teachings to the world.
We all affirm our rejection of extremism, which seeks political change through violence legitimised through a pseudo-religious rhetoric. All mosques, Muslim institutions and religious leaders are involved in protecting young Muslims from extremist influences.However,extremism is a social and political problem, not a ‘Muslim’ problem, and we extend our hand to the government and other partners to work with us in tackling this cancer.
The Muslim Council of Wales and its affiliates reaffirm their commitment to building a Welsh society free of hatred, based on respect, tolerance and proud of its diversity.
Qari Ghulam Nabi Saheb Masjid e Bilal
Mufti Taher Saheb Masjid Uthman
Mufti Bilal Saheb Masjid e Abu Bakar
Mufti Suhayl Khawer Saheb Masjid e Bilal
Shaykh Daoud Salaman South Wales Islamic Centre
Hafiz Muhammed Siddique Masjid e Abu Bakar
Molana Mushtaq Khan Dar ul-Isra
Shaykh Yaqoub Kutkut Dar ul-Isra
Dr Munir Ashi Dar ul-Isra
Molana Mohammed Abid Chishti Alnoor Mosque Newport
Dr Muzaffar Jilani Imaan Islamic Society Berea Mosque
Dr Mustafa Baig Abrahamic Faith
Molana Haider Zaman Madni Masjid
Qari Ferozuddin Saheb Madni Masjid
Shaykh Abdelati Fergani Al-Manar/ Al-Ikhlaas
Shaykh Morad Eladnany Taqwa Mosque Newport
Molana Arif Saheb Barry Masjid
Imam Kamal Idrisy HMP Cardiff Prison
Mohammed Afzal Madina Mosque
Shaykh Barak Al Bayaty Al-Manar Centre
Hafiz Ahtisham Ali Masjid Umar
Molana Tariq Zaman Masjid Uthman
Mohammed Saqib Dar ul-Isra
Molana Qasim Ali Masjid e Umar
Dr M Gaber ElSharoud MAB Wales
Dr Baba M Gana West Wales Islamic Centre
Mohammed Abdullah West Wales Islamic Centre
Mrs Amina Shabaan Cardiff University
Ali Akbar JP Shah Jalal Mosque
Mufti Javed Kachhalia Swansea Mosque
Abdur Rehman Mujahid Alnoor Mosque Newport
Arshid Rahman Jamia Mosque Newport
Saleem Bidat Iqra Trust Newport
Molana Ashraf Ali Port Talbot Mosque
Dr Meraj Hasan MBE Ihsaan Social Support Association
Abdul Azim Ahmed Muslim Youth Wales (MY Wales)
Saleem Kidwai OBE Muslim Council of Wales
27 June 2014- JOINT STATEMENT ON THE FIGHT AGAINST EXTREMISM IN CARDIFF
As community and religious leaders, and elected representatives in Cardiff, we are determined to work together to build a strong, cohesive and tolerant city, based on mutual respect. We reject extremism and together we will challenge those who want to destabilize and damage our communities and our young people.
Recent reports about young men from Cardiff who appear to have joined extremists fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq are of grave concern to all of us in this city.
We reject the words of these individuals, and we condemn those who have recruited these young and impressionable individuals with false promises and a twisted version of Islam.
Here in Cardiff we have a long history of respect and interaction between our diverse communities, among them some of the oldest Muslim communities in Britain. Only last week a publication was launched which spells out the true message of Islam with a clear message of peace and social justice – messages supported by Imams and welcomed by local and national leaders.
We all stand together to challenge those who preach hate - from whatever community, faith or denomination they come. And we are committed to redouble our efforts to act together to tackle those who seek to exploit and mislead our young people, and expose them to the siren words of manipulative extremists.
These people and their ideologies have no place in Cardiff - and they are not welcome here.
We call upon all members of our community to be vigilant against any suspicious behaviour or actions that might threaten the security and peace of our Cardiff community.
Saleem Kidwai OBE, KFO, FRSA, Secretary General Muslim Council of Wales
Stephen Doughty MP, Cardiff South and Penarth
Rt Hon Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner, South Wales Police
Kevin Brennan MP, Cardiff West
Jenny Willott MP, Cardiff Central
Jonathan Evans MP, Cardiff North
Cllr Phil Bale – Leader, Cardiff Council
Qari Ghulam, Nabi Saheb Qibla Masjid e Bilal, Severn Road, Canton
Shaykh Mohammed Abdi Dahir, Noorul Islam Mosque, Butetown
Shaykh Yaqub Kutkut, Darul Isra Mosque
Molana Mushtaq, Darul Isra Mosque
Dr Gaber El Sharoud, Muslim Association of Britain Wales
Shaykh Abu Basheer, Shaykh Ali Hamuda, Shaykh Kamal Idrissy Al-Manaar Mosque
Madina Mosque Crwys House, Crwys Road
Qari Ferozuddin & Shaykh Haider, Zaman Madni Mosque & Community Centre, 1-3 Dalcross Street
Shaykh Zain & Shaykh Daud Salaman, South Wales Islamic Centre Alice Street, Butetown
Masjid Omer, Connaught Road
Shah Jalal Mosque, Crwys Road
Jalalia Mosque, Machen Place
Masjid e Ikhlas, Broadway
Molana Dr Monsur Ali, Centre for the Study of Islam Cardiff University
Mufti Bilal Saheb Qibla, Hafiz Siddque Saheb Masjid e Abu Bakar, Grangetown
Mufti Tariq Saheb Qibla, Masjid e Uthman, Riverside
Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, Rabbaniah Islamic Centre, Clare Road
Vaughan Gething AM, Cardiff South and Penarth
Mark Drakeford AM, Cardiff West
Jenny Rathbone AM, Cardiff Central
Julie Morgan AM, Cardiff North
Cllr. Ali Ahmed Butetown and Cardiff Bay Cllr. Dilwar Ali, Llandaff North
Cllr Mohammed Javed, Plasnewydd
Cllr Manzoor Ahmed, Adamsdown
Cllr Ashley Govier, Grangetown
Cllr Lynda Thorne, Grangetown
Cllr Chris Lomax, Grangetown
Reverend Canon Aled Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Cytûn: Churches Together in Wales
Rev’d Caroline Downs, Priest in Charge, Parish of Cathays
Rabbi Michoel Rose, Cardiff United Synagogue
Association of Muslim Professionals
Ihsaan Social Support Association
Muslim Youth Wales (MY Wales