Islamic group accused of al-Qaida link wants to open second school

The Guardian

An Islamic missionary group accused of being a recruiting ground for extremists is planning to open a madrasa for 500 boys near London's 2012 Olympic village.

The school will form part of an 18-acre complex being developed by Tablighi Jamaat, the same movement behind proposals to build Britain's biggest mosque, with the capacity for 12,000 worshippers.

It will be the second madrasa in Britain operated by the group. Its Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, has more than 300 pupils. Teenage boys devote six mornings a week to Islamic history, theology, law, Qur'an recitation and Arabic. Afternoons are set aside for the national curriculum.


A 2005 Ofsted report praised the institute's "secure Islamic environment" but criticised the "unsatisfactory" teaching of secular subjects.

Tablighi members say students, who will be charged up to £3,000 a year, will be taught the national curriculum at the east London site and that staff will be recruited locally. About 40% of places will be reserved for boarders.

The FBI has expressed concern about Tablighi Jamaat, stating in 2003 that al-Qaida used it as a recruiting ground. The group denies involvement in terrorism.

Hafiz Malik, 45, who has been involved with Tablighi Jamaat for 30 years, told the Guardian: "We are Muslims and our belief is that for anyone to attain salvation, Islam is the only way.

"Christianity is a proselytising religion. They would say the same thing. But Tablighi does not go out of its way to convert Britain. Our focus and concern is for Muslims."

He rejected the idea that withdrawing from mainstream society encouraged segregation. Nor did he accept that incorporating Islamic principles into everyday life was a sign of fundamentalism.

"We have to change ourselves, to mould us into Allah's ways," he said. "We can't change Allah to suit us. Muslim youth are getting dissolved. There is nothing to show they are Muslim.

"Islamically, this worldly glamour is not what we are supposed to be. Muslims revert to Islam because it is their natural state, it is their alternative."

He said Tablighi Jamaat was increasingly popular with Muslims.

Abdul Rashid Bhatti, another Tablighi member, said: "Tablighi Jamaat has been the subject of many investigations but nobody has proved anything.

"We are not radicals, we are not extremists, we are not political. If anyone came here with radical views, they moved on because nothing we do resonated with them."

Tablighi does not have a registration scheme and there is no leadership or hierarchy. This open door policy makes the group vulnerable as no one, not even the most senior members, can vouch for someone's involvement with Tablighi or the extent of his participation.

Another member, Abdul Sattar Shahid, said: "People come and go at will. We have thousands passing through every week. You cannot control the movement of people, you don't know what's in their minds.

"If we found someone had extreme views we would disassociate ourselves from them. If people with radical views came here for long enough we might have been able to sort out their twisted brains."

Designs for the complex include a visitor and conference centre and a new entrance to West Ham tube station. A submission to planning authorities is some months away but the scheme has attracted much criticism, with more than 270,000 people signing a Downing Street petition opposing it.

Mr Bhatti said: "The figures have been blown out of proportion. We were never going to have a 70,000 or 80,000-capacity mosque - that's Wembley Stadium. This is 18 acres. It was never going to be funded by public money ... We feel threatened and saddened by the way the project has been hijacked."

2014 united copts .org
Copyright © 2023 United Copts. All Rights Reserved.
Website Maintenance by: