Excerpt of article originally published under the title "Hoodwinking the Kuffar."
Islamic Education and Research Academy founder Abdur Raheem Green is all about helping the needy. As well as fighting "Yehudi [Jewish] ... stench" and homosexuality.
... Many Salafi fundamentalist Muslims today engage in charitable and social work to assist their non-Muslim fellow citizens, stress their love for Jesus, and hold meetings to which they invite non-believers in order to learn what Muslims are really like. If you look at the community section of the website of the London-based Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA, as the acronym is commonly rendered), you will find links to the organization's several charity enterprises: "Helping the Homeless in London," "Warming up the Elderly in London," "Ongoing Neighbourhood Cleanup Efforts," "Good News from the 'Love Your Neighbour' campaign," "The Elderly Care Project: Winter Warmth Campaign," and "iERA at the Refugees Welcome here Rally."
My local Church of England vicar takes groups of his parishioners to visit Newcastle Central Mosque (a Salafi/Ahl-e Hadith institution), where they are regaled with warmth and good food. In return, members of the mosque have visited St. George's Church despite the presence of crosses and crucifixes and the vain images on the beautiful stained-glass windows. All buddies on the surface. But the real reason the Muslims are acting like this is in order to attract Christians to Islam. They do not, however, invite the rabbi and his congregation from the local Orthodox synagogue near where I live.
Islamists often present a seemingly friendly public face, while harbouring hateful beliefs.
The UK alone hosts a number of organizations that present a seemingly friendly face to the public while harbouring beliefs and supporting individuals whose hatred for non-Muslims is palpable.
I do not wish to condemn this charitable work: quite possibly they do much good. It is quite likely that many homeless, elderly, and refugee people benefit from what they do, or that local neighbourhood campaigners appreciate their cleanup efforts. Superficially, their devotion to the needy is commendable, and much the same as the devotion shown by Christian charities such as the Salvation Army. In fact, a 2013 poll by ICM found that Muslims are far ahead of Atheists, Christians and Jews in the amounts they give to charity, something they deserve to be proud of. At the same time,
JustGiving said religious charities such as Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief benefited most from money donated by Muslims, but many of their donations also went to the likes of Cancer Research, Macmillan and the British Heart Foundation.
Here, though, is the problem: Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief have been closely linked to funding Islamic terrorism around the world. Giving to cancer research is one thing, but giving to Hamas and other groups is quite another.
iERA, a British charity, was set up in 2009 by a Muslim convert called Abdur Raheem Green (formerly Anthony Green), and its purpose from the beginning was to carry out da'wa, or proselytization, to win converts for Islam. That remains its primary purpose. On their website, where you will find references to "Dawah Training" and "Dawah Campaigns." A range of visual images appears on the screen, showing various missionary activities, notably giving out literature to Christians, with a link to "Giving Dawah to Christians." There is a photograph of a group of iERA workers sporting bright blue hoodies with the name "Jesus" prominently displayed next to a large box containing the book Jesus: Man, Messenger, Messiah, part of a Prophetic Legacy Series featuring books on Abraham and Moses.
This is itself disingenuous. The implication is that Muslims too love Jesus -- an approach that is bound to attract Christian passers-by (including priests and nuns, as shown in photographs) if only out of curiosity. But the Jesus of the Qur'an is not the Jesus of the New Testament. For Muslims, he is not the Son of God, not one third of the Trinity, did not die on the cross, was not resurrected after death, and is not God incarnate. He is simply one of a long line of prophets, important -- yet inferior to Muhammad.
Some iERA-affiliated preachers are among the most hardline radical Islamists in the UK.
If the deceptions used in da'wa work were the only cause for concern about iERA, it might not appear worrying; but iERA has long been censured for its extremist Salafi/Wahhabi basis. The several preachers who sit or have sat on its advisory board or its board of trustees are among the most hardline exponents of radical Islam in the UK and abroad. Many have been banned from the UK and other countries.
Green himself (chair of the Board of Trustees) is an anti-Semite who urges the death penalty [pp. 12-13] for homosexuality and adultery, has stated that we should not argue with al-Qa'eda's methods because "terrorism works." Hamza Tzortzis, a co-founder of iERA, has said that "we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom." [And here, p. 16] He also wishes to criminalise homosexuality, which he compares to paedophilia and cannibalism. He was originally a member of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. He also supports the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy. [Also here, with a video; and here quoted by Nick Cohen.] He has supported child marriage under certain conditions. [Also here, with a transcript; here with a video.] In a Birmingham University debate, he refused to condemn shari'a punishments such as stoning and amputation.
Former iERA advisory board member Bilal Philips has been deported or banned from at least six countries because of his terror connections.
A former member of iERA's board of advisors, Bilal Philips, has been deported or banned from the US, Britain, Kenya, Germany, Australia and the Philippines for his terror connections, including his support for the Taliban and Hamas. He justifies child marriage, severe punishments including execution for apostates and homosexuals. It is worth adding that Philips is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and in the 1995 prosecution U.S. v. Omar Abdel Rahman, "in which almost a dozen people -- including Clement Hampton-El, an associate of Philips -- were convicted of conspiring to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels in New York City, among other terrorism-related activities."
Other well-known names include Haitham al-Haddad, Zakir Naik, and Hussein Yee, some of whom are on record for their support of terrorism, some for their advocacy of extreme punishments; and some for their hatred of non-Muslims. These men and others stand out among the most problematic hate preachers in the Western world and occasionally elsewhere. Their motives are thoroughly questionable.
It could not be clearer that the "good works" of iERA have not seemed to revolve around true motives of care for human beings in need. Those who ran and still run the organization were perfectly happy to throw homosexuals off high roofs, stone adulterers, order suicide bombings of Jews in Israel, wage jihad against non-Muslims in general, treat their own women badly, and preach violence to young Muslims and Muslim converts. Writing in London's Daily Telegraph in November 2014, Andrew Gilligan stated:
Others paid thousands of pounds of public money in Gift Aid [i.e. from the UK government] include IERA (sic), a charity closely linked to a number of the 'Portsmouth jihadis' - six young men from the Hampshire city who travelled together to fight for Islamic State (Isil) in Syria. At least two of the six, Mehdi Hassan and Ifthekar Jaman, and possibly as many as five, were members of the 'Portsmouth Dawah [Prayer] Team,' a group which proselytises in the streets of the port." Naturally, iERA denied this connection, but Gilligan added, "The group was last year described by Mission Dawah, part of IERA, as 'our team from Portsmouth.'
Many unsuspecting people, little understanding just what and who stand behind the movement but impressed by the appearance of disinterested good works on behalf of the needy, given handouts on Muslim love for Jesus, or invited to iERA barbecues and get-togethers, will take everything at face value. A number of them will convert, assuming they have joined a religion of love, peace and charitable works. Some sociologists of religion have pointed out that neophytes attracted by friendly faces and warm words convert with little or no knowledge of the cults or faiths they join. But once inside, they are introduced slowly to the new beliefs they must hold, the rituals they must perform, and the laws they must obey. This is one of the several paths that lead to radicalisation and all it entails. Charity may begin at home, but in instances such as these, it not infrequently leads to death.
Denis MacEoin, a senior editor at Middle East Quarterly, is a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.