In all honesty I did not have any desire in writing about this individual as I do not think he is worth my time. Nevertheless, he seems to have a knack for attacking and provoking Muslims, so here are my thoughts on this weak character.
Secularism and liberalism encourage individual liberty and choice. Unless you are a Muslim of course in which case the argument will be constrained in such a way that “choice” will have to succumb to the grander Western religion of secularism, or more specifically, extremist secularism.
This was relevant when the sex-separation issue arose in Universities and organisations like the right-wing, neocon Student Rights fanned the flames of hate against Muslims. I articulated arguments which questioned whether liberal values were in fact being employed to make a case against sex-separation at universities or was it just a case of taking advantage of the “skin the Muslims” climate.
Chris Moos of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society contributed to the anti-Muslim with his interpretation of how liberal values should be used. In this debacle his article was posted on the notorious anti-Muslim extremist Harry’s Place.
Moos also wore satirical t-shirts depicting the Prophets of Islam and Christianity, Muhammad and Jesus (may peace be upon them), first Tweeted by Maajid Nawaz. In a typical secularist argument he claimed he was defending is right to freedom of expression which included offence, an untenable argument as this right is curtailed in domestic, European and International law on the basis of what can be construed as “offence”. I guess it again comes back down to whose “interpretation” one takes.
Moos has an obsession with the Muslim minority then, often of the negative variety.
His recent tirade includes a peculiar Harry’s Place-style article on the Law Society guidance. In his aim to really drive the anti-Muslim “the Muslims are taking over!” neocon-esque hyperbole he distorts, lies and tells Muslims what their religion should be and what it shouldn’t. Interfering with Muslims in determining their own religion – not very liberal is it Moos? And before Moos takes his own interpretation on this point, let’s establish what the manifestation of secular liberalism dictates on promoting minorities over other minorities within a minority. The Forum on Minority Issues, which has been authorised by the United Nations Human Rights Council states in its Draft Recommendations on the Rights of Religious Minorities that,
“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.” Para. 13
Thus advocating the notion of which position in Islam is “correct” and which isn’t especially by someone of no religion is grand. Enter the oxymoronic atheist Mufti of Islam!
The distortions begin early with his claims that the Sharia is not an immutable body of law and those that hold this view are either Islamists or the far-right. In categorising this understanding as such he in fact has set up the discussion as per his framework. Thus now if I reject his view on this, I am an Islamist or a member of the EDL. The reality is that the position of normative Islam is that the Sharia is most certainly immutable and those that differ on this are fringe elements belonging to the modernist and progressive “Muslim” camps who feel they are at liberty to distort, chop and change the sources of Islamic jurisprudence, without any certifiable legitimacy or academic understanding. The fact that he references the most widely disparaged organisation that is Quilliam on this point is revealing.
Usama Hasan is a case in point. In the link he references to prove his point, Usama Hasan highlights that we should adopt the Hanafi (legal school) position which encourages the right of the women to marry without a guardian. This is a blatant distortion of the Hanafi position. Any student of knowledge will be able to clarify from the Hanafi fiqh texts such as Qudoori and al-Hidayah that the implication of this position is that the legal contract of marriage is valid and not vitiated technically due to the lack of a presence of a guardian, however in the context of a woman who is getting married for the first time, it is incumbent for the guardian to be present, and not having so would be sinful. In fact, if the woman marries, and later the guardian determines lack of kufu (compatibility), between the two, the guardian can annul the marriage.
Sara Khan (who runs a PREVENT-funded feminist organisation which also seeks to counter extremism) is then invoked to bring forth the “literalist” dichotomies in Islam, pointing to the “Salafist” and “Deobandi” traditions. The descriptions used are again distortions against the reality. Majority of Salafis do not adhere to “literal” interpretations and in fact adhere to scholars between the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Furthermore the “Deoband” tradition is in fact a school in India which promotes… Hanafi jurisprudence – the preferred school of Usama Hassan and even the author of the infamous Rand Corporation Document, Cheryl Bernard! Distortions and yet more distortions. Come on Moos, your academic veracity is becoming questionable, and it seems to hide the colonialist policy of divide and conquer.
Moos, perhaps in his single-minded hate of normative Islam and religion, then proceeds to lie. In discussing the links and sources for the Law Societies guidance Moos highlights Islam Channel, giving the impression that it is a source for the Law Society, whereas in reality all the Law Society did was to provide links to Islamic inheritance tax calculators. Very sly.
However it gets worse. In his efforts to then malign by association the Law Society and the “literalist” interpretation of Islam, he then links to two reports, claiming that Islam Channel aired programmes calling for the killing of those who insult the Prophet and that
“Ofcom specifically stated the Islam Channel’s programme “was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime“.”
Both allegations were in fact referring to the DM Digital channel, not Islam Channel. This is a channel which has similarly leanings to the “moderate Muslim” Shaykh Tahir al-Qadri which Quilliam worked with. Looks like Chris Moos has been blindly following Quilliam’s work without actually checking it and in the process has discredited Quilliam!
Moos then resumes his anti-Muslim tirade in attacking the scholar through smearing his character. It has to be said, Shaykh Muhammad al-Jibaly is not the most eloquent in his speech in English, but then again English is not his first language. Mufti Moos, continuing to make this scholar out to be the most sinister there is, informs his readers that non-Muslims being referred to as “kuffaar” is derogatory. Sorry Moos, Kuffaar means exactly that – non-Muslims, rather like the Biblical term “gentiles” the Jews use. It is due to popular culture that the term has been determined as derogatory. From an Islamic jurisprudential perspective, it is a designation in this context and nothing more.
And it is from this perspective that Shaykh Muhammad al-Jibaly seems to be talking from.
Mufti Moos’ intellectualism on Islamic topics run out as he fails to identify the message the Shaykh is delivering and the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). The part of “hitting” is in fact the words of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon). The scholars of Islam have elucidated upon the intricate meaning of the Arabic text of the Hadith, and it outlines a sophisticated method to discipline children so as to bring them up as Muslims, as per the right of Muslim parents (enshrined in International norms no less). “Hitting” from a Western perspective brings about notions of abused children who end up in care. From the Islamic paradigm the restrictions placed on it are such that the intention of hitting becomes one of psychological enforcement (not causing physical harm), and this is after encouraging the child for three years. Even from Shaykh’s lecture it is apparent that his emphasis is on encouraging the child to pray or wear the Hijab early on, as opposed to “hitting” the child which he only quotes in his articulation of the Hadith.
In effect then Moos has attacked the Hadith of the Messenger in an effort to smear Shaykh Muhammad al-Jibaly and even then incorrectly from his Western epsitemological understanding. Perhaps Moos’ next target should be the removal of Jewish religious schools in which “hitting” of children actually occurs.
All this will of course fall on deaf ears for if there was a slightly more reasoned, but still intolerant mind, the first place to tackle “inequality” would be seeking the removal of the Beth Din courts in the UK which decide marital and inheritance issues in accordance with Jewish law. In both cases Moos would find perceived notions of inequality and discrimination.
For further details on this point I recommend reading Hajj Ahmad Thompson’s article (who as a Maliki in Islamic jurisprudence and mainly agrees with the guidance) on this which goes through some of the “inequalities” in the Judaic faith.
Chris Moos distorts, lies and then distorts again.
The fact that he has mentioned names (Quilliam, Usama Hasan, Sara Khan) which support a narrative counter-productive to the Muslim minority and are in fact rejected by the majority of the Muslim minority speaks volumes of his prejudicial treatment of the issue of the Law Society. In addition his calls for a progressive “British Islam” is the language which is often used by his reference Muslims, those who seek to reform Islam. Sorry Moos, your attempts are futile.
Finally, he ignores a critical point which happens to be a facet of secular liberalism – consenting adults. Men and women are not being forced to adopt an Islamic will. They are doing so by choice, however incompatible it is with Moos’ preconceived notions of rules and regulations. Ignoring this, the Beth Din courts and focussing his efforts on Muslims only highlights his own bigotry against Islam and Muslims.
If Moos really wants to still protest “bigotry”, he needs to start with the Beth Din courts in the UK which were founded over a hundred years ago.