By: OnIslam & Newspapers
CAIRO – Appalled by a video of vigilantes forcing people in East London to give up alcohol and women to cover up, Muslim imams are leading condemnations of the practices as running against the Islamic teachings.
“When things like this happen Muslims tend to privately voice their opposition,” Sheikh Shams Ad Duha, a young British imam who runs the Ebrahim College in Whitechapel, told a sermon at East London mosque and cited by The Independent.
“But nobody wants to address this perspective from an Islamic or Shari`ah point of view to simply articulate that this is actually wrong Islamically.”
A Video of hooded men calling themselves “Muslim Patrol” appeared on YouTube two weeks ago, showing them while forcing residents in East London to abide by morals.
The video showed the men walking London’s streets and forcing a passerby to put a can of lager away, telling him they are the Muslim Patrol and that alcohol is a ‘forbidden evil’.
The video also filmed a cyclist being treated after a road accident, saying he was injured because of alcohol.
Five people have been arrested, including two teenagers, by the police and an immediate investigation was launched into the incident.
The video has invited the ire of the Muslim community in Britain, slamming the practices as running against the Islamic teachings.
Sheikh Shams denounced the hooded men in the video as “complete bigots” who were contravening Islamic Shari`ah, not enforcing it.
He said Muslims, even in Muslim countries, are not permitted to damage “the wine and pork stocks” of a non-Muslim, according to key scholars from Hanafi school of thought.
“Islam was celebrated for allowing [non-Muslim] people who lived in an Islamic state to live according to their principles, their religion, their Shari`ah,” he said.
“This is in the Muslim lands, in the time of the Caliphate. And we saw this video where, in the streets of Tower Hamlets, in the streets of England. Enough said right?”
Sheikh Shams’ sermon was placed on the YouTube and garnered 20,000 views in less than a week, attracting praise from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“I’m not a Muslim,” wrote Andy Harely in comments underneath the YouTube video for the sermon.
“But I have to say that this outstanding sermon has done a lot to create a better understanding.”
Another Muslim commentator wrote: “We can only apologize to our non-Muslim brothers and sisters for what these idiotic people have done.”
The sermons condemning the practices have also won praise from British Muslims.
Fiyaz Mughal from Faith Matters, a conflict resolution charity which works in the area, was one of those Muslims who praised the chorus of opposition from Muslim leaders as so “quick and unanimous.”
“I think it’s something of a turning point because this could have turned into something much worse,” Mughal said.
“Local leaders weren’t afraid to tackle the problem head on while the press did a pretty responsible job of recognizing that these guys are such a minority.”
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
The majority of the multi-ethnic minority has Indian, Bengali and Pakistani backgrounds.
In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.