NSS refers religious charity to regulator over extremism concerns

Posted: Mon, 25th Sep 2023

Sermons at Islamic Centre Leicester suggest those who use 'blasphemous' phrase should be executed and Jews fear punishment from Allah

NSS refers religious charity to regulator over extremism concerns

The National Secular Society has referred an Islamic charity to regulators over concerns about extremism and antisemitism.

The NSS referred Islamic Centre Leicester to the Charity Commission in July after seeing a sermon recorded at the centre which suggested 'blasphemers' should be executed.

Another sermon said Jews have "greed of long life" because they fear punishment in the afterlife.

Both sermons, delivered by mufti Muhammad Shakir Patel Misbahi (pictured), were uploaded to Misbahi's YouTube account in June.

According to the charity's newsletter, Misbahi joined the Islamic Centre in 2008 as head teacher of the madrassa – the centre's religious school for children aged four to 13.

The centre is registered under the charitable purpose of "the advancement of religion" and says it exists to "promote the spiritual teachings of the Islamic religion".

The Charity Commission has told the NSS it had "decided that on this occasion the best way forward is to engage with the Charity, to put the concerns raised to the trustees, and provide them with regulatory advice and guidance as needed."

The NSS also reported Islamic Centre Leicester to the Charity Commission in 2019, after finding statements on its website saying those who leave Islam should be punished with death.

Mufti: Punishment for dishonouring Muhammad is "execution"

In one sermon, Misbahi says Muslims should not use the term "ra'ina" (Arabic for "pardon") because Jews used it to ridicule the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

He says scholars agree that anyone who dishonours Muhammad (rasulullah) "will be out of Islam".

He then adds that scholars also say "there is only one punishment for that person and that punishment is execution" and they "should be killed because of what he did in terms of the honour" of Muhammad.

He adds that even if the person repents, this is "not accepted".

In another sermon, Misbahi says "yahood" (Jews) "are the most greedy when it comes to having long life" because "as a result of their deeds" they know they will "be punished for it by Allah" when they die.

He then tells a story of a 6th century rabbi who was rejected by his Jewish followers after converting to Islam and says it means "we cannot really trust their statements, even today."

He adds: "You have countries like UAE celebrating the festivals and everything with these Israelis and Zionists, who are we going to complain? We complain to Allah. We refer all of these matter to Allah because those so-called leaders of Muslim countries, we don't see them doing anything. In fact they are funding these people, Israelis. How? Look at their businesses."

Both videos have since been made private since the NSS's referral. Misbahi's account on X (formerly Twitter) has also been removed.

NSS: "advancement of religion" too often provides cover for advancement of extremism

NSS head of campaigns Megan Manson said: "We've reported this charity to the regulator before for apparently condoning the execution of those who leave Islam. Now it appears to be doing it again, as well as spreading antisemitic propaganda.

"Sowing division serves no public benefit. An organisation which repeatedly promotes extremist views should surely be stripped of its charitable status, and all the tax benefits that come with it.

"Unfortunately, it is registered under the charitable purpose of 'the advancement of religion', which all too often provides a cover for the advancement of extremism.

"If the 'advancement of religion' enables organisations which say blasphemers should be killed to register as charities, that charitable purpose requires urgent review."

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Tags: Charity