Extremist Islamist Group in Pakistan was Promoted in a Birmingham Election Meeting

In an exclusive to Faith Matters, we can today highlight how an Islamist extremist group, Tehreek-e-Labaik, was being promoted in Birmingham in the run up to the Pakistani elections, the results of which are expected tomorrow.

Faith Matters has been at the vanguard of ensuring that Facebook pages of the Islamist extremist group, Tehreek-e-Labaik, were taken down, though recently, a whole host of Facebook pages supporting and promoting the extremist cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, have gone up again. This also demonstrates the weakness of social media platforms who cannot stop new accounts being opened up by extremist individuals or groups.

After a tip-off from a concerned member of the public, we came across mobile phone footage which clearly shows two clerics promoting Tehreek-e-Labaik in an electioneering meeting in Birmingham, which also fuses in religious incantantations in order to build up interest from the crowd. We have highlighted the extremist nature of this group before and we have also pointed out the failures in Twitter to remove the social media account of the spiritual leader of Tehreek-e-Labaik, Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Rizvi has repeatedly inflamed tensions in Pakistan in November 2017 when he rallied his Islamist followers in the tens of thousands against perceived changes to a piece of statute law called Ordinance Twenty. Introduced by the military dictator, General Zia-Ul-Haq, it stripped Ahmadis of their rights to call themselves Muslims. Rizvi mobilised his Islamist followers in an attempt to stop any perceived changes to Ordinance Twenty, culminating in a humiliating set of pleas by the Pakistani military for demonstrators to leave, whilst handing out money to them. Rizvi’s call to maintain the status quo and keep the isolation of the Ahmadis literally shut down Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

Furthermore, the primary campaigning theme of Tehreek-e-Labaik is ‘Death to Blasphemers’ and Rizvi has repeatedly praised the murderers of the late Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, and the Glasgow based Ahmadi shopkeeper, Asad Shah, who was brutally murdered in March 2016. He has referred to the killers, Mumtaz Qadri and Tanveer Ahmed, as ‘ghazis’ or Islamic warriors, even highlighting in graphic detail in one mosque based sermon, how many times Ahmed stabbed the defenceless Shah on a street in Glasgow. Rizvi is adept at using the concept of blasphemy to whip up his audience into a frenzy, further demonstrating the dangerous rhetoric of the man and his political party in Pakistan.

Facebook Posting

The following Facebook post from ‘Rivi Media’ clearly shows two clerics speaking to what seems to be a meeting of Barelwi Muslims in Birmingham. The first cleric starts off by saying that he has been with and has served Rizvi for 8 years and that Rizvi has worked tirelessly for the ‘deen’ – the faith of Islam. This is followed by cries of ‘SubhanAllah’, (God is perfect), by the young audience. It is clearly a sales pitch for the youth who have come to listen, and who may well be able to vote in the Pakistani elections.

The young preacher then asks the audience to come to Pakistan to know more about Tehreek-e-Labaik and engage with them. What he forgets to tell the audience is that the whole basis of the political party has been to lionise murderers of ‘blasphemers’ meaning that anyone deemed to be a blasphemer, effectively has a target on their head.

Worst still the second preacher breaks out into anti-Hindu sentiment and states that a vote for Tehreek-e-Labaik is a vote for ‘martyrs’ in heaven like Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard of Salman Taseer who killed the Punjab Governor when he defended a young Christian woman, Asia Bibi, from the nebulous charge of blasphemy in Pakistan. The preacher is heard to say that a vote for Tehreek-e-Labaik blesses and honours individuals like Mumtaz Qadri. He clearly is pushing for support for Imran Khan and Tehreek-e-Labaik.

Deep Concerns

We have been deeply concerned as to how the extremism of Tehreek-e-Labaik is bleeding into Muslim communities of Pakistani heritage here in the UK. We have seen how some British Imams have cross-posted propaganda from this Islamist extremist cleric and we now have tangible evidence of campaigning by representatives of this group in places like Birmingham.

After the murder of Asad Shah and open calls for murder by Tehreek-e-Labaik, we call upon the Home Office to consider proscription of this group. The group has past form in promoting violent extremism, just because they deem that someone has blasphemed Islam. This is not politics, it is the behaviour and rhetoric of extremists. It really is as simple as that.

The post Extremist Islamist Group in Pakistan was Promoted in a Birmingham Election Meeting appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Birmingham, Blasphemers, Islamist extremists, Mumtaz Qadri, News, Opinions, Pakistani Elections, Tanveer Ahmed, Tehreek-e-Labaik