The Ideology of Deoband
In the West, the Saudi ideology of Wahabbism is well known for its extremism and intolerance. Less well known is the ideology known as Deobandi. This ideology is equally insidious, equally extremist, for the Deobandi ideology is the ideology of the Taliban. Before taking power in Aghanistan, Mullah Omar and most of the leaders of the Afghan Taliban were educated at the Darul Uloom Haqqania madrassa in
North-West Frontier Province,
Pakistan. The Haqqania madrassa teaches the Deobandi form of Islam. Its head cleric, Sami ul Haq, is also a member of the MMA – the Islamist opposition in
Pakistan's parliament. He has said of his former students: "I was pleased they became the rulers of
Afghanistan. They restored law and order there. They respected human rights. They respected women's rights. They completely eliminated heroin and drug use."
The Taliban's assumption of power in
Afghanistan was barbaric: on September 27, 1996, they dragged former president Mohammed Najibullah from his refuge at a U.N. compound, and then publicly castrated, shot and hanged him and his brother. Beneath the swinging bodies, the Taliban grinned and waved their weapons. The Taliban had been formed with the assistance of
Pakistan's ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), a
Pakistan government agency which has frequently been headed by radical Islamists. The ISI, which has also been involved with attempted coups in
Pakistan, sponsored the Taliban up until 9/11.
The Taliban banned art, music, cinema, and prohibited children from flying kites or keeping pigeons as pets. Women were not allowed to venture outside without a male relative to chaperone them, and they had to be wrapped from head to toe in the burka, with only a woven grille to allow them to see. These austere rulings were violently enforced by thugs from the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, who beat women in the streets with sticks, wire cables and hose-pipes.
There was nothing in the brutal and violent behavior of the Taliban towards their fellow "moderate" Muslims that contradicted the teachings of Deobandi ideology. The Taliban's blowing up of the two giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in March 2001 because they were "un-Islamic" followed their religious creed. Eight months later, they destroyed the city of Bamiyan rather than let it fall to Shia Muslims belonging to the
Though a popular inspiration for Pakistani extremists, the Deobandi ideology gains its name from a town in Uttar Pradesh state in northern
India. It is here at Deoband that the second largest Sunni seminary in the world exists, called the Darul Uloom (House of Knowledge). It was officially founded on May 30, 1866, by two clerics, shortly after the British had destroyed the last vestiges of the Moghul Empire in 1857. Mohammad Qasim Nanautavi was the original leader of the seminary, assisted by Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi. Children as young as five enter the Darul Uloom and other Deobandi madrassas, and usually graduate when they are 25. 65,000 students had graduated from the Deoband Darul Uloom by 2001. Deobandis disapprove of Western "science" education, and frown on people who watch TV, unless they watch news channels.
Women are regarded as intellectually inferior to males. On the subject of educating women, the Deoband believe that formal education for a girl should end at the age of eight. A Deobandi scholar, Abdul Basit Hamidi Qasmi, has argued that "worldly knowledge is not good for women and can be destructive for them." It is not surprising that even after their official "downfall" in 2001, the Afghan Taliban have killed people for educating girls.
At the Haqqania madrassa near
Peshawar in North-West Frontier Province, both the 2,800 students and their principal refer to the seminary as the "University of
Jihad." The madrassa has been given donations by the Saudi kingdom, which is not surprising considering the similarities of Deobandi and Wahabbi ideologies. Mullah Omar did not complete his studies, but as one guide noted in 2001 that "we gave him an honorary degree anyway, because he left to do jihad and to create a pristine Islamic government."
One of the principle doctrines of the Deobandi ideology is that it is a Muslim's duty to wage war (Jihad) upon the enemies of Muslims, wherever they may be. National borders are inconsequential, and a student's loyalty should be to Allah before the country in which he lives. Boys at Haqqania are taught to memorize the Koran in Arabic, prevented from talking or looking at each other. They have no idea what the Arabic words mean.
In parts of NWFP, the "Pakistan Taliban" wield power, and like their Afghan counterparts they are hostile to women who appear "Westernized." On Friday last week, two women were found decapitated near the town of
Bannu, close to the Afghan border. They had been kidnapped the day before. A note left with the bodies claimed they were "prostitutes."
Britain's Deobandi Mosques
London’s Times and the Daily Mail newspapers carried the alarming news that followers of the Deobandi doctrine have taken over almost half of
Britain's mosques. In Lancashire in the north of
England, out of 75 mosques in Blackburn, Bolton, Preston, Oldham and
Burnley, 59 of these are now run by Deobandi clerics. There are 26 Islamic seminaries in
Britain – which produce 80% of homegrown clerics for mosques – and of these 17 are run by Deobandis. A police report claims that of the 1,350 mosques in
Britain, more than 600 of these are now run by Deobandis. In
London, about 170 mosques are said to be run by Deobandis
The man regarded as the most influential of
Britain's Deobandis is Riyadh ul Haq. He has written two books, “The Salah of a Believer in the Quran and Sunnah” and “The Causes of Disunity.” He was embroiled in a controversy last year, when he was due to talk to 1,000 young Muslims in
Canada. Ul Haq was scheduled to address them at the Youth Tarbiyah conference, held in
Toronto in early July. He had been invited by the Islamic Foundation of Toronto. He had also been booked to appear at the "Guidance" conference in
Montreal in late June, and his itinerary had also included
Ontario. His visit was cancelled when Monte Solberg,
Canada's immigration minister, decided that Ul Haq's extreme opinions might incite terror and hatred.
The Canadian Jewish Congress mobilized an unusual coalition of Muslims, Hindus, Jews and gay rights campaigners to lead the protests against Ul Haq's visit. He had visited
Canada four times previously, including addressing 15,000 people at a "reviving the Islamic Spirit" conference, held at
Rogers Center in 2005. Tarek Fatah, communications director for the Canadian Muslim Congress, who also hosts a weekly TV Muslim TV show, said at the time: "He's a nasty piece of work. All he will do [is] create doubt in the minds of young people [as to] whether
Canada, as a society, is a viable place for Muslims to live in." Ul Haq did address the Tarbiyah conference, but via a video link.
The campaign against Ul Haq's visit to
Canada had released extracts of his speeches, indicating a contempt for the West, for Jews, and women. In one speech, he had said: "Of the peoples of the Earth, the ones that hate Muslims the most, the ones who are bitterest of their enmity towards Muslims, the most unrelenting, unforgiving, are the Jews and the mushrikin (Hindus), idolaters in all their forms."
Ul Haq – full name Abu Yusuf Riyadh Ul Haq – was born in Gujarat in 1971, and when he was aged three he had migrated with his family to
Britain. He entered the Deobandi Darul Uloom Al-Arabbiyah Al-Islamiyyah at Bury, near Bolton in Lancashire, northern
England, at the age of 13, and graduated in 1991. This seminary was founded in 1975 by Yusuf Motala, another extremist immigrant from Gujarat in
India. Following his graduation, Ul Haq became the imam at
Birmingham's Central Mosque. He has since taught at the Madinatul Uloom Al-Islamiyyah in
Kidderminster, which was also founded by Yusuf Motala.
In August 2004, Ul Haq was named in a feud which cost the lives of two people. On July 29, 2004, 35-year old Azmat Yaqub (pictured) was shot dead as he worked out at a gym. A fortnight before he was shot several times at the gymnasium in Sparkhill, Mr Yaqub had become a father. Earlier, on March 17, 2003, Mr Yaqub had been hit by gunshot in his shoulder, a victim of a drive-by shooting. Shaham Ali, a companion who had been with him, was shot in the head and died. In the March 2003 killing, six people were arrested, and two were charged with attempted murder. The murder charges were rejected by a court, but one of the two accused was sentenced to two years’ jail. 31-year-old Mohammed Sharafit Khan was found guilty of false imprisonment and assault. Two others were found guilty of false imprisonment.
Khan had invited the secretary of Birmingham Central Mosque, Mr. Shockat Lal, to his home. There, the victim was kept captive and repeatedly beaten over a period of one and a half hours. The secretary had had an affair with a woman, and she had fallen pregnant. What incited the anger of young Muslims from the mosque was the fact that the woman was
Riyadh ul-Haq's wife. As she was Ul Haq's second wife, the marriage was not legal. Ul Haq had taken offense, and had sacked Shockat Lal. Others who supported the secretary were either expelled from the mosque or ostracized. In March 2003, Ul Haq was arrested from the home of his father, Mohammed Gora Pirbhai, who was an imam at a mosque in
Leicester. Ul Haq was questioned about the drive-by murder, but received no charges. The two men who had died were friends of Shockat Lal.
Ul Haq's arguments that women are inferior to men still appear on the website of Birmingham Central Mosque. The Mosque website also has articles extolling the virtues of Deoband and also the extremist missionary group Tablighi Jamaat. The shoe bomber Richard Reid, the American Taliban John Walker Lindh, and members of the ISI have links with this group. Two of the 7/7 bombers attended a Tablighi Jamaat mosque in Dewsbury. Dr. Mohammed Naseem has been the chairman of the mosque for 32 years, and he claims to be a "moderate." Naseem, who was Riyadh Ul Haq's boss for a dozen years, is convinced he is being targeted for MI5 surveillance.
Three weeks after the 7/7 bombings, Naseem tried to claim that the four bombers were innocent, despite DNA evidence. Speaking of 7/7, he called Tony Blair a “liar” and an “unreliable witness.” He has publicly questioned the existence of al Qaeda. Naseem runs the Islamic Party of Britain and has said that homosexuals should be executed. Naseem is a major funder to the "Respect" party, whose only MP is George Galloway. After the atrocities of 9/11, Naseem had said that "we are not convinced that those people who perpetrated these actions were actually Muslims."
In January 2006,
Britain's most senior civil servant was forced to withdraw an invitation which had been extended to Riyadh Ul Haq. The government had invited him to speak at a function marking the end of Eid ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) later that year. The decision was made after people had complained.
Riyadh Ul Haq is opposed to Muslims forming friendships with non-Muslims, whom he refers to dismissively as "kuffaar," claiming that the kuffaar exert an "evil influence." The Times quotes from one of his sermons: "We are in a very dangerous position here. We live amongst the kuffar, we work with them, we associate with them, we mix with them and we begin to pick up their habits."
The Mail quotes him as saying: "The Koran teaches Muslims not to follow in the footsteps of the Jews and the Christians, yet of our own choice we decide to live, act, work, behave, enjoy and play just like the kuffar...Allah has warned us in the Koran, do not befriend the kuffaar. The Jews and Christians will never be content with you until you follow their way."
Ul Haq praises the Taliban, as they share the same ideology, and he is contemptuous of Christians, Jews and Hindus. He openly and frequently ridicules "moderate" Muslims as evidenced in a sermon against "Jewish Fundamentalism." As they are classed as traitors by Ul Haq and his ilk, some moderate Muslims are understandably outraged by this aspect of Deobandi thinking.
Ul Haq also praises armed Jihad. He said in July 2001: "And no one dare utter the 'J' word. The 'J' word has become taboo. The 'J' word can never be mentioned and if someone mentions it, even Muslims look at one another. So much is happening and yet we are expected to remain silent."
On November 11, 2003, Ul Haq's "guru", Yusuf Motala, was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000 at Heathrow airport for seven hours, when he was preparing to fly to
Medina. His supporters were outraged. One of these, a graduate of the Bury Darul Uloom, said: "More than 75% of the English speaking Imams in the
U.K. are graduates from the Darul Ulooms. (An) attack on Shaykh Yusuf Motala is an attack on the entire Muslim community." The graduate claimed that the Deobandi seminaries provided imams for the prison service and for hospitals, and that the Bury Darul Uloom is linked to the
University of Preston.
Yusuf Motala was sent to Britain by a leading figure in Tablighi Jamaat, Muhammad Zakaria Kandhlawi (1898 – 1982). This man was a famous Deobandi scholar whose father had been renowned for his knowledge of the Hadiths (traditions of the prophet). Zakaria himself was a teacher of Hadiths. Zakaria urged Motala to go to
Britain to "light the candle of Islam in a land of darkness." Despite being widely praised as a scholar, there are critics of Zakaria who claim that he actually fabricated many stories which he passed off as "authentic" Hadiths. When Motala founded the Darul Uloom in Bury in 1975, he did so with funding from
The Times' reporting on the Deobandi movement in
Britain is not before its time. Deobandi ideas have led to the Taliban, and if the governing Labour party is serious in its attempts to defuse radicalism, it should have acted far sooner to quell Deobandi activities. Other sermons from
Riyadh ul-Haq, which the Times has reproduced, are: "The Globalized Suffering of the Muslims", "On Our Responsibilities as Muslims" and "Imitating the Disbelievers".
One of the world's leading Deobandi scholars is Muhammad Taqi Usmani, who was born in 1943 in Deoband. He attended the Darul Uloom in
Pakistan, and for 20 years served as a judge in the
Federal Shariat Court in
Pakistan. He is an adviser in Islamic banking, and is vice-president of his alma mater, the Darul Uloom in
Karachi. He teaches the Hadiths of Bukhari, Islamic law and economics. He has authored 43 books in Urdu, 6 in Arabic and 17 in English. Usmani is also the deputy chairman of the Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) Council at the 57-nation OIC. Despite all his scholarship and prestige within the Muslim world, Usmani argues that it is permitted for Muslims to wage violent Jihad, even in lands where Islam can be practiced freely.
Ghayasuddin Siddiqui belongs to
Britain's "Muslim Parliament." He said: "There is no doubt the Deobandi movement became more influential in
Britain's mosques in the Nineties and this went largely unchecked. The situation now is of great concern as almost all Islamic extremism originates from the Deobandi thinking."
Khaled Ahmed, an expert on Pakistani extremism, stated: "The
U.K. has been ruined by the puritanism of the Deobandis. You’ve allowed the takeover of the mosques. You can't run multiculturalism like that, because that's a way of destroying yourself. In
Britain, the Deobandi message has become even more extreme than it is in
Pakistan. It's mind-boggling."
The arrival of Deobandi ideology into
Britain's Mosques began in the 1990s. It was around this time that the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was co-founded by senior Muslim Brotherhood member Kemal el-Helbawy in 1996. In May 1997, the Labour Party came to power, and this party shows no signs of leaving the political stage. Under Labour, extremist groups and radical preachers have been allowed to proliferate. The MCB, which has leading members who were influenced by Maududi (founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami), has condemned any attacks upon the Deobandi ideology. In 2003, Iqbal Sacranie condemned the seven hour detention of Yusuf Motala at
Heathrow Airport. This individual, who famously said of Salman Rushdie's death fatwa that "death is too good for him," was knighted by Tony Blair in June 2005, a month before the 7/7 attacks. The MCB has acted as official adviser to the Labour party on Muslim issues.
It is no surprise that Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain has condemned the Times for exposing the extent of Deobandi influence in
Britain. Bunglawala is an open anti-Semite, who has praised Osama bin Laden as a freedom fighter and has said that Omar Abdel Rahman was "courageous." Writing in the left-leaning Guardian newspaper, he described the Times' reporting as a "toxic mix of fact and fiction". The Guardian also carried a second critical comment on the Times' exposure by an individual called Ajmal Masroor.
Tony Blair supported the notion of taxpayers funding Muslim "faith schools," even though surveys of the public have consistently found these to be unpopular. In September 2005 leading Catholic and Anglican clergymen said that they would not want to see Christian children educated in Muslim "faith schools." At that time there were only five state-funded Muslim schools in
Britain. There are now seven, soon to be eight. When the
High School for girls opens in
Leicester, even non-Muslim pupils will be forced to wear the hijab or Muslim headscarf. Under Gordon Brown, the Labour party now intends to create more Muslim state schools. Even though such moves are bound to increase segregation, the topsy-turvy logic of the leftist Labour party maintains that such institutions are needed, to encourage integration.
Britain is rapidly losing any notion of its own identity. In state school classes, children are indoctrinated with Islam, which shares equal time on the school curriculum with Christianity, even though 70% of people in
Britain see themselves as Christian and less than 3% are Muslim. There are a few parts of the National Curriculum which deal with Judaism, but Sikhism and Buddhism are totally ignored.
Last week, the Center for Social Cohesion reported that libraries in
London were becoming "inundated" with extremist books. Tower Hamlets council libraries were found to have multiple copies of books by Abu Hamza al-Masri and Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, who were both jailed for "soliciting to murder." Tower Hamlets libraries had 40 copies of books by Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, which supported armed Jihad. Out of 580 titles on Islam, 8% were by extremist authors. A spokesman for the council argued that as the material itself has not broken any laws, they refused to remove it from their library shelves. Works by the Marquis de Sade that extol torture are not illegal, but I know of no public libraries where these are loaned out.
The extremist literature was found at libraries in
London, Blackburn and
Birmingham. Douglas Murray, one of the authors of the report, said: "This is akin to going to the history section of your local library and finding the shelves covering the Second World War only containing copies of Mein Kampf and books by Hitler's inner circle and only one general history book to balance things out. This warped view of Islam being presented is a major threat to public safety. It's shocking that the collections are so imbalanced."
The imbalance has spread far beyond the libraries. The Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, supports Tablighi Jamaat's intentions to build a "mega-mosque" in east London, adjoining the site of the 2012 London Olympics, even though a quarter of a million people have signed a protest petition on the government's website. No one asked for multiculturalism when they voted for Labour. Most people were happy to see an end to racism and segregation. Multiculturalism, by its very nature, is a policy of segregation, where multiple ghettoes sit beside each other in urban communities, but not integrating. Labour has promoted this divisive policy, encouraging it by continually swamping
Britain with new waves of uncontrolled immigration. Multiculturalism has never featured on any campaign manifestos.
It is the Labour party and its leftist cronies in the media who are the ones who are slowly turning parts of
Britain into Talibanized ghettoes. All too eager to please the "sensitivities" of new arrivals on
Britain's shores with its policies of multiculturalism, the government has neglected the sensitivities of those already here. The Islamists only do as they please because
Britain's weak-kneed authority figures have allowed them to. The Islamists at least have an ideology, something that is apparently lacking in