Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:06 pm on 7th December 2017.
My Lords, this Question is yet another attempt to start some sort of open discussion in this country about the nature of Islam. You can say what you like about the virgin birth, the miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but you get into serious trouble if you try to touch at all on the subject of Islam and what it really is. I repeat that I am in no sense an expert on Islam, but I am advised by four people who are.
I have been encouraged by what the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said in two speeches last autumn. He said that in order to defeat terrorism, we need to understand the mindset of those who perpetrate it; that if we treat religiously motivated violence solely as a security or political issue, it may prove impossible to overcome it; that it is wrong to say that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam; and that until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religions, we will see no resolution. I make it clear that the most reverend Primate was speaking not only about the darkness which is erupting within Islam, but about the Christian militia in the Central Africa Republic and the Hindu treatment of Christians in south India. No doubt he would now add the Buddhist persecution of the Rohingya Muslims.
Before coming to the detail of this Question, I suppose I should repeat some of the absolute basics of the Muslim religion. Islam does not, as so often averred, mean peace; it means submission to the will of Allah, the Muslim God. Islam and its sharia law are an indivisible legal, religious and political system, taking all authority from the Koran and from what Muhammad did and said in his lifetime. So it is a complete way of life, and does not sit easily with our western liberal democracies and our separation of powers between legislature, executive, judiciary and Church. Within this very broad generality there are a number of very controversial Muslim tenets, three of which I have put into the Question on the Order Paper, and two more of which I will mention. I very much hope that peaceful Muslim leaders do not accept any of them and that they will say so forcefully. The point is that the jihadists most definitely do accept them and take their evil inspiration from them.
The first is abrogation, which holds that the later verses in the Koran cancel the earlier peaceful verses—the verses of the sword cancel the verses of peace. So, for example, the much-quoted early verse, “Let there be no compulsion in religion”, is nullified many times in later verses. Taqiyya is more controversial but in its aggressive interpretation holds that Muslims living outside the Muslim world are encouraged to deceive their hosts in order to further Islam. A worrying example of Taqiyya took place on
“cannot be justified anywhere in the Quran”.
To back this up, they quoted from surah 5, verse 32 of the Koran as follows:
“Whosoever kills a human being ... it is as if killing the entire human race; and whosoever saves a life, saves the entire human race”.
The Taqiyya, or deception, becomes clear when you fill in the dots. The missing passage reads, “unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land”. So the Koran actually says you can be killed for spreading mischief in the land, which to the jihadist is doing anything that frustrates his evil purpose.
My third tenet is Al Hijra, which is taken from Muhammad’s example after he had accepted his multifaith hosts’ hospitality in Medina for five years and had become strong enough to force them to choose between exile, converting to his new religion or death. He ordered the death of several hundred people and Islam went on to conquer most of the known world. One of our so-called Trojan horse schools in Birmingham is actually called the Al-Hijrah School, so the tenet is alive and well in the UK today.
The two other Muslim tenets that I want to mention and ask our Muslim leaders to address are, first, the ambition to create a world caliphate and, secondly, the death penalty for leaving the Muslim religion, or apostasy. As for the caliphate, I can do no better than recommend a courageous article in the Daily Telegraph on
“Don’t blame the West, the terror won’t stop until Muslims reject the caliphate”.
The point about that article is that it was written by Mr Ed Husain, who was a militant Muslim for five years, so he knows what he is talking about. I will put a copy in your Lordships’ Library.
Death for apostasy applies in 13 predominantly Muslim countries but not here, so I trust that our Muslim leaders will have no difficulty in declaring it to be un-Islamic. Who are the Muslim leaders who the Government should encourage to re-examine these tenets? There is no Pope in Islam and its many sects and divisions make it very difficult to deal with. Presumably we will not be consulting the 119 imams who wrote to the Independent. There was a group of 130 leading Muslims who issued an unprecedented statement through the Muslim Council of Britain, refusing to perform the funeral prayers for the three terrorist attackers at London Bridge last June who were shot dead after killing seven people and wounding 48 others. Perhaps the Government could try them or the Muslim Council of Britain itself. I am advised that the Union of Mosques and Imams should also be approached. However, I do not have much doubt that the Government will not accept my suggestion and that, if they do, our Muslim leaders will not collaborate. This would be a pity because, if these tenets stand as part of the Muslim religion, Islam cannot possibly be a religion of peace and we should not go on pretending and hoping that it is.
We should instead be taking some initiative now which will help to avoid the eventual Muslim takeover of our society, at least in our major Muslim conurbations. You have only to look at the Muslim birth rate to see that that is now a real possibility. The latest figures I have from the ONS show that the Muslim population in England rose 10 times faster between 2001 and 2016 than did the rest of the population, by 107% compared to 11%. In six of our top Muslim conurbations, it rose by an average of 130%, and 33% of our Muslims in England are under the age of 15, compared to 18% of the rest of us.
The Government continue to tolerate sharia law here, whereby a Muslim man can have four wives, each of whom he can divorce by merely saying “I divorce you” three times. Of course, the Muslim wives cannot do the same.
Written Answers from the Government reveal that they do not have a clue what is being preached in sermons in our mosques or what is being taught in our madrassahs, or Muslim schools. What is more, they do not intend to try to find out.
Whenever some of us try to raise the issue of Islam, we are told that it is we who are undermining the Prevent programme or interfaith dialogue—dialogue with what faith?—even that we are spreading hate towards the Muslims and making them feel insecure. Speaking of the Prevent programme, it seems to me that our Muslim communities could be doing more to stand up to and expose their violent co-religionists, because only 8.6% of tip-offs to the programme or the police come from within those communities. If they co-operated more, they would be less distrusted by their non-Muslim neighbours.
In conclusion, as a leading Muslim said to a friend of mine recently: “We do not need to go on blowing you up. All we have to do is to wait until we can take you over through the power of the womb and the ballot box”. I hope he was not right.
I am very grateful to all noble Lords who are here to speak. At least we are talking about Islam. That seems to be a step in the right direction and I look forward to all other contributions, however much some contributors may disagree with what I have said.