Before I begin I would like to make it clear, that this is not an attack on Tassawuf, or the people of Tassawuf, or Shaykh Ibrahim Osi Efa. May Allah Almighty protect and support all the upright Ulama of this Ummah, including Shaykh Ibrahim.
Years ago I wrote extensively about how the PREVENT-funded organisations were using the Sufi Ulama to deliver an agenda. An agenda to divide the Muslim minority and systematically strip them of their unique characteristics, practices, and beliefs in contravention to Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I maintained that PREVENT was a manifestation of the infamous RAND Corporation Policy document to tear down Islam into an ineffectual formaldehyde of inactivity. One of the mechanisms to achieve this was to use minorities within the Muslim minority against one another. In the context of the Sufis, the author, Cheryl Bernard, said:
“Sufis are not a ready match for any of the categories, but we will here include them in modernism. Sufism represents an open, intellectual interpretation of Islam…. Through its poetry, music, and philosophy, Sufism has a strong bridge role outside of religious affiliations.” (p.62)
Quite clearly she ignored the fact that most of the Jihads against the colonialists were led by Sufi scholars. Ulama such as Shaykh Abu Hassan ash-Shadhili, Shaykh Ibrahim Dessouki, Shaykh al-Qannawwi, Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, Shaykh Imam Shamil al-Daghestani, son of the great Sufi, Shah Walliyullah al-Dehlwi, Shah Abdul Haq Dehlwi, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio and Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Somali were all Sufi Shuyukh (May Allah’s mercy be upon them all) who were at the forefront of the resistance against British, French and Russian colonialists.
The Sufis would then provide a bridge to modernists who should be, according to Bernard, given preference in destroying Islam:
“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam.”
The next time the Muslim minority are told that the West are not attacking Islam, it would do us well to keep the above firmly in mind.
My point however, is that initially the brothers and sisters in Hizb al-Tahrir were being targeted as extremists, then the Salafis were targeted and, as per the Bernard’s recommendations, and after the exhaustion of the usage of Sufi scholars through PREVENT-funded organisations such as the now ineffectual and oxymoronically named Radical Middleway, the Sufis are now not being spared.
Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa in a lecture stated that:
“When the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wassalam spoke about reality that maybe we face in this day and age, reality where the Muslims are humiliated, with all this nonsense, where they say that they are not targeting Muslims, that we are targeting extremists, from amongst the Muslims, that’s a blatant lie… I came from Andalus, from Spain, we entered from France, and we entered the St. Pancreas Station [London]. Immediately we were taken, we were detained under the Terrorist law. Terrorists? And we had our DNA taken, our fingerprints taken, for what? You see we got ask the question, for what? You see that is the age that the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wassalam spoke about, that the nations of the world will play with you, they will descend upon you and ravage you, in the same way you see hungry diners can descend and ravage a great meal.”
An experience not uncommon to many Muslims. It is interesting to note that the respected Shaykh as well as his teachers in Yemen, (the Habaa’ib of Tarim) were abused by the same policy (PREVENT and Counter-Terrorism) which was driving the organisations for whom they were asked to deliver lectures for and which has now also resulted in Shaykh Ibrahim being detained and treated as a terrorist. This slippery slope beyond HTs and Salafis brothers and sisters, was visible a few years ago too when the Barelwi brothers started being targeted, despite being abused as the “moderate, peace loving” darlings of the government in the broader aim to deconstruct Islam and inhibit Muslim dissent.
This unethical use and abuse of minorities within a minority must stop. It is completely against the values which Britain herself propagates in that it violates International norms. The United Nations Human Rights Council authorised Forum on Minority Issues made recommendations in this regard in November 2013 stating:
“The diversity that exists within religious minority groups must also be recognized. The rights of every single member of such minority groups must be respected fully.” (Sixth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, A/HRC/FMI/2013/3, 26–27, para.13)
The minorities within the Muslim minority must awaken to the fact that they are being used and abused with an aim of pushing an agenda to deconstruct Islam which will eventually affect all the Muslim groups. The beliefs and practices which are universal to all the normative Islamic groups within the Muslim minority, such as inter alia the belief in the brotherhood of Islam and the primacy of the Shari’ah are at a policy level being regarded as “extreme” and require “tackling” at a local government level through PREVENT-funded organisations. Other beliefs such as the sinful nature of homosexuality, and practices such as the hijab and niqab are being attacked through the media machine which is associating such beliefs with extremism. Therefore, the attack is no longer on the so-called “extremists” be they HTs, Salafis or now seemingly Sufis, but rather normative Islam. The only way to counter this clandestine neo-fascist threat to Islam is to respond as the Muslims and their faith are being treated. As one block. As a Muslim minority.