Taj Hargey launches fresh anti-Islam stunt

Taj Hargey is no stranger to long-time readers of this site: he is notorious for his anti-Shari’ah publicity stunts and for being able and willing to come out and attack Muslims in the press, first of all on the BBC’s Panorama in 2005 and since then mostly in the Times. Now, his so-called Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford has got some publicity (in the Oxford Times, albeit appearing on their website for anyone to read) for holding marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men, which is unlawful by consensus in Islamic law.

The article claims:

Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said he had performed about 36 marriages in the past two years between Muslim women and non-Muslim men.

More imams are happy to marry Muslim men to non-Muslim women.

Couples from Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, France and Norway have all come to Dr Hargey after failing to find someone locally prepared to carry out the service.

Most had spent months looking for an imam, and many found Dr Hargey after contacting American Muslim leaders via the Internet.

Dr Hargey, who believes he is the only imam in the UK who openly performs the mixed marriages, said: “We do it because there is no prohibition in the Koran.

“Islam allows Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women and such marriages are common, but I am one of the only people who will do it the other way round.”

Such marriages are actually not all that common, and certainly most Muslim men marry Muslim women. In fact, their usual choice is much narrower in many families; they want their children to marry spouses from the village back home, or the same caste, and inter-racial marriages among Muslims are probably not that common in large sections of the Asian Muslim community in the UK (among converts, it’s absolutely normal). Where Muslim men have married non-Muslim women, it has often proved to be a recipe for conflict as the man might well expect things of her that a husband from the same culture might not. There have also been numerous abductions of children of such marriages, often to countries which won’t return the children. Such marriages are, in my view, ill-advised for both parties. They were permitted because traditional Christian and Muslim values in the Middle East are, or were, similar. That isn’t the case in a Europe where Christianity is increasingly, where it’s held to at all, a matter of identity. Shared beliefs and values are, in my view, essential to maintain a happy marriage.

Hargey is a well-known proponent of “Qur’anic Islam”, but much as “it’s not in the Qur’an” doesn’t mean it’s not perfectly valid in Islam, the prohibition on Muslim women marrying outside the faith is definitely in the Qur’an, as the section which permits Muslim men to marry Christian or Jewish women specifically instructs women to marry Muslim men. So, Hargey’s “Qur’anic” emphasis is proved to be just an excuse; his real agenda is to erase any aspect of Islam which Europeans might not like, meaning that Islam is reduced to a mere “culture” consisting of names, stories and food. However, Islam is not conferred on the basis of a Muslim name and a taste for couscous or biryani, but on belief, affirmation and practice. What Hargey preaches is not Islam and Muslims have never taken it seriously.

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