Abdul-Hakim Murad and Panorama
This is a response to the ridiculous comments that have ensued from the recent John Ware documentary — he appeared in Ware’s earlier Panorama in which Ware attacked certain mosques at which offensive sermons were delivered. Abdul-Hakim Murad appeared very briefly in that programme, alleging that mainstream Islamic bookshops were going under because they could not compete with propaganda material being given out for free with Saudi funding.
Before I proceed, I must say that this cannot be the only reason why bookshops are going out of business. Bookshops everywhere are going under because of something called “the Internet”. Online retailers can use out-of-town warehouses while bookshops have to pay for a retail venue, often in a prime location, with the related overheads. Bookshops of all stripes have been going under in recent years, including Wahhabi-run ones (such as one I remember in Walthamstow). Also, there is still a market for Islamic material of a traditional nature. Still, material being sold cheaply by Saudi-financed publishing houses is a fact.
That over, I find it puzzling that people who demand that we make dozens of excuses for the likes of Abu Usaamah in Birmingham, or Shaikh Sudais, or some other public figure of that stripe, will not do the same for a traditional scholar who criticises them publically. The Wahhabis, after all, did not make any excuse for anyone when they were tearing into each other during the self-proclaimed Inquisition, in the late 1990s. We are expected to assume that Abu Usaamah’s words were taken out of context, but they will make no such excuse for someone they do not agree with who appeared for less than a minute in an hour-long programme. Given that we have already heard claims that those who made this programme lied to the management of a school, and filmed girls without their consent or anyone else’s, what is to say that a long interview was not cut down to a few seconds? What is to say that he knew anything of what Ware intended to do with this documentary, particularly since it was his first? Nobody seems to be asking why he was not in this most recent one — did he refuse, knowing what Ware had done the first time round, or was he not approached?
I’ve had people trying to have a “debate” — I’m not sure what about, given that he last appeared in one of these programmes more than five years ago — but the fact that “neo-cons use AHM” is not a black mark against him as long as he is not actively feeding them inflammatory or untruthful material about Muslims. And they do not say that; they say “they use him”. That’s not proof. I’m not interested in hosting a debate in which mud is slung at a scholar (or anyone else) based on such claims, because it is all just pointless, juvenile backbiting without the slightest Islamic justification.
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