Monday 27 May 2013

Theresa May needs to look beyond al-Mihajiroun for the real cause of the Woolwich murder

The search for what radicalised Michael Adebolajo (pictured) and Michael Adebowale to kill soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week is leading increasingly to the influence of al-Muhajiroun leaders like Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri Mohammed.

Al-Muhajiroun is an Islamist group fronted by the radical Luton-based cleric Anjem Choudary, which has been rebadged under a multitude of brands since being proscribed by the previous government.

Its founder, Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Lebanon-based preacher, who was banned from Britain and once ran courses in fighting jihad at a disused nunnery in Sussex, claimed last week that he had converted Adebolajo.

If Theresa May is to stop thousands being radicalised in Britain however she needs to look beyond al-Mihajiroun to the text that is radicalising that movement, the Qur’an itself.

As Jay Smith points out in a Pfander Films video published this week, Adebolajo and Adebowale were in fact just taking the Qur’an literally (See also Answering Islam here which makes the same point).

Smith asks why these two men killed this soldier, attempted to decapitate him, pulled him into the street and then, without attacking anyone else, waited around for the police to arrive before running into their guns.

It’s all in the Qur’an, he says.

Sura 5:32, which was ironically quoted this week by Nick Clegg in support of peace, was the very verse that Adebolajo quoted to the cameras to justify his action:

‘whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely’

Rigby was a British soldier in Afghanistan and some British soldiers have killed Muslims. But killing one Muslim is like killing all Muslims. It was British soldiers who killed Muslims so a British soldier and not British civilians had to pay the price.

So what should a Muslim fighting jihad do with such people? The answer in is Sura 47:4:

‘So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them’

And the reward for losing one’s life in carrying out such activity? Well, it’s Paradise, as explained in Sura 47:4, 5 & 6:

‘And those who are killed in the cause of Allah - never will He waste their deeds… He will guide them and amend their condition. And admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.’

By shooting them without killing them the police denied these two Muslims their actual aim, promotion to Paradise under the sight of the world’s media cameras.

Theresa May and Nick Clegg cannot of course ban the Qur’an, which is why they must seek instead to reinterpret it to claim that it is not saying what these men believed it was actually saying.

But if we don’t like what happened on the streets of Woolwich, it is perhaps the Qur’an itself, and not just al-Mihajiroun, that we should be calling into question.

Adebolajo justified his actions as ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.

By contrast Jesus, when one his disciples (Peter) took up the sword urged him to place it back in its sheath:

‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’ (Matthew 26:52)

And he urged them not to follow the ‘eye for an eye’ directive but rather to ‘turn the other cheek’:

‘You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.’ (Matthew 5:38, 39) 

The history of Islam began with bloody military conquest by Muhammad and his followers.

But Christianity began with the death of Jesus (on our behalf) and of his twelve disciples eleven gave their lives as martyrs in his service because they preached the word of God rather than taking up the sword. It was a peaceful revolution that conquered the Roman Empire through spreading love and the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection.

This is the same love and good news that Christians are called to spread today to all people whatever their age, sex, race, ideology or creed. And it is for this reason that I join many in condemning without reservation not only the Woolwich atrocity itself but also any violent reprisals against Muslims by any British citizens. 

It is true that since the first century others have taken up arms in the name of Christ. But this was never part of Jesus’ teaching. It was however, according to the Qur'an, part of Muhammad’s.


  1. Precisely! Very well put if I may say so.

  2. You're cherry-picking once again, Peter. Here's just a small taste:

    Luke 19:22-27

    In the parable of the talents, Jesus says that God takes what is not rightly his, and reaps what he didn't sow. The parable ends with the words: "bring them [those who preferred not to be ruled by him] hither, and slay them before me."

    Matthew 10:34-36

    Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has "come not to send peace, but a sword."

    Matthew 11:20-24

    Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn't care for his preaching.

    1. Your first example is a parable which you have misinterpreted. Your second is meant metaphorically. Your third talks about judgement after death.

      Jesus, unlike the Qur'an, nowhere suggests his followers should take up arms against unbelievers.

    2. Why would the prince of peace use such violent imagery and metaphors? Kinda defeats the purpose, wouldn't you say?

      Moreover, if your god is eternal, then his edicts from the OT should apply to the NT and today, which would include the proclamations to punish children for the wrongdoings of their ancestors, and slaughtering anyone who dares lead you away from the tribe's religion.

      Deuteronomy 13: 6-9 “Even your brother or your son or your daughter or the wife you love or your closest friend may secretly encourage you to worship other gods, gods that you and your ancestors have never worshipped. One of them may encourage you to worship the gods of the people who live near you or the gods of those who live far away. But do not let him or her persuade you; do not even listen to them. Show them no mercy or pity, and do not protect them. Kill them! Be the first to stone them, and then let everyone else stone them too.

    3. The violent imagery points to the seriousness of judgement and is intended to lead people to repentance and faith.

      But Christians are not called to spread their faith with the sword but through showing love and preaching the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection.

      Regarding the relationship between Old and New Testaments see

    4. Why the need for violent analogies in the first place, though? It defeats the purpose of fostering peace.

      You may not see the teachings of Jesus as an incitement to violence, but let's be honest - many Christian theocrats saw things differently throughout history. and the bible does command its adherents to judge people by their fruits.

    5. There will be no real and lasting peace until Christ returns and the judgement has taken place. The important thing is to be on the right side of that judgement.

      Jesus himself said that there would be people who claimed to be his followers but were not and that we would know them by their fruits. True Christian disciples obey Christ.

    6. That's rich. With all the mutually exclusive Christian sects pointing fingers and acting all sanctimonious against each other, how can you tell which version of Christianity is the true one?

      Why can't your god just come down and tell us?

    7. Ummmm.... he did
      That's the claim Christianity is built on.

    8. If he actually told his followers directly, why would he allow tens of thousands of splinter sects, each of which disagree with the others in many ways, some of them in fundamentally crucial ways?

      Why would he allow different versions of the 10 commandments for Catholics and Protestants?

    9. Because he allows people to choose to ignore and disobey him. It's called respecting free will.

      In fact he himself prophesied that 'false Christs' and 'false teachers' would appear and lead many astray.

      But there will of course be a day of judgement.

    10. So it wasn't important for Moses, Elijah et al to have free will? Your attempted rebuttal also collapses when we look at the role of Satan in your theology. He had absolute knowledge of god and still rebelled. So why can't we have absolute knowledge and make our choice based on that as well?

    11. No one has absolute knowledge apart from God. He asks us to trust him for the things we do not know on the basis of the things we do know.Moses and Elijah chose to believe and to follow. We are asked to do the same.

    12. Arguments from ignorance. Fundamentalism is very dangerous, especially since your own bible describes god as a liar. Would you trust a human who didn't give you evidence of his or her trustworthiness?

      Also worth watching:

    13. God is utterly trustworthy Winston and Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. We know he is trustworthy on the basis of his words and actions in history for which there is abundant evidence.

    14. Really? Here are some verses that indicate otherwise.

      1 Kings 22:23
      Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

      2 Chronicles 18:22
      Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

      Jeremiah 4:10
      Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

      Jeremiah 20:7
      O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

      Ezekiel 14:9
      And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

      2 Thessalonians 2:11
      For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

  3. Bravo for speaking out - the media certainly won't! GBU

  4. The tradition of this country is not Mohammedan, it is Christian. The only way we can reclaim our country is to assert that tradition, which alone allows others to stay here in peace, as distinct from being at risk from such injustice. If people come here and don't like our Christian culture, they are at liberty to go somewhere where they can live under another.

  5. As a fellow evangelical I fear you haven't done this topic justice. Far from dealing with the text and the ongoing interpretative debate going on throughout the Muslim world as they establish and further live out the deen of Islam, you have taken verses without any context and used them to justify a position you already hold. It would be far better if we dealt with these ayah as the majority of UK Muslims do (i.e. within their historic context) and applauded the efforts of moderate Imams to teach these difficult verses well and in a way that keeps potential radicals away from extremists. At a time where people need to hear peace and unity you run a big risk of stoking fear based on misunderstanding. Crucially, you also run the risk of putting Muslims off the wonderful, all powerful, all-loving Jesus of the Bible through you attitude to the Qur'an and by fulfilling (in their eyes) the stereotype of a Christian.
    I'll continue to pray for the CMF and the wonderful work they do, I just think on this topic you have missed a great opportunity

    1. I'm well aware of the ongoing interpretative debate within Islam and different approaches Christians have to evangelism amongst Muslims.

      My intention here however was to show that the Muslims who carried out this atrocity in Woolwich did so because they believed the Qur'an was pointing them in this direction. They were being true to their beliefs.

      Obviously most Muslims in Britain don't interpret the same verses in this way (nor do leading self-appointed contemporary Islamic scholars like David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg!) but throughout Islamic history many Muslims have. Some still do. But only a few would ever say so and even fewer would ever act on these beliefs in a Western context.

      Christians should of course love and respect Muslims as people (and I do) but this is very different from admiring or respecting their prophet or scriptures, both of which contradict the most fundamental tenets of Christianity such as the divinity of Christ, his death and resurrection and the authority of the Bible.

      Are you suggesting that Muhammad was a true prophet and that Christians should respect the teaching of the Qur'an? Or that Jesus would have taught this? Or have I misunderstood you?

    2. Mark, While peace and unity is desirable, it cannot and must not be won through appeasement. That is what is happening presently when we fall over ourselves to deny the plain teaching of the Qur'an. Of course many Muslims in our country, hopefully the majority, would never condone the terrible actions of these men in slaughtering soldier Lee Rigby last week but it does not help at all not to acknowledge that these men did this in the name of Allah, following teaching from the Qur'an. Be very careful of gaining peace at the cost of truth 1 Thes.5:1-3.

    3. Actually, some background on different interpretations would be helpful. I found this really confusing. At face value, I would have interpreted that verse the same way Cameron did.

  6. Wasn't Abraham commanded by God to slaughter his son?

    1. He was indeed. And Jephthah went through and actually slaughtered his daughter in exchange for a military victory.

    2. He was but God then provided a ram in Isaac's place and he was spared.

      This was an early pointer to the way we are spared judgement through the death of Christ (the Lamb of God) in our place but we have to respond in repentance and faith.


    3. Was God always going to provide a ram for Abraham to kill instead?

      I'd argue that following the example of a man who would willingly gut his own child could also lead to violent acts from people who take the Bible literally?

    4. Yes. He was testing Abraham.

      There are of course violent acts that God ordered people to carry out in the OT in the course of Israel's history under the Old Covenant.

      My point though is that Jesus never gave such orders to his followers under the New Covenant, whereas Muhammad did in the Qur'an.

      As many of these commands are in Medinan suras they have not been abrogated but are still in force. Adebolajo and Adebowale were thereby merely carrying out Qur'anic orders.

    5. My understanding was that child sacrifice was very common in the culture that Abraham came from, so he expected that a god would demand violence in exchange for supernatural help. It's a bit unrealistic to expect him to be a twenty-first century humanist. This was an early indication that this God was going to be different.

    6. OK, makes sense that Jesus is a good example of peace and Muhammad is not, i'd agree with you on that.

      But do Christians just follow Christ or the teachings of the entire Bible, and do Muslims follow the Koran rather than just Mohammed?

      Also do you count Judas as one of the disciples who became a martyr as you mentioned in the blogpost?

    7. Christians are under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ and not the Old Covenant which was made by God with ancient Israel - see

      Muslims follow the Qur'an which they believe was revealed through Muhammad and also the Hadith which allegedly records his actions and teachings.

      Judas betrayed Jesus and was not a Christian martyr but committed suicide. His place in the twelve was taken by Matthias.

    8. Jesus committed suicide by cop, Peter. So following your religious teachings, you should be pro-choice on assisted suicide.

      And despite being regarded as a "traitor" by the traditional four gospels, he should be lauded as a hero for allowing salvation to be possible (following Christianity's inane, ludicrous and self-contradictory teachings).

    9. Suicide is killing yourself. Jesus was killed by others so he did not commit assisted suicide.

      Salvation comes through Jesus' death and resurrection on our behalf, not through Judas' betrayal.

    10. God is omnipotent, correct? So why can't he simply forgive us without torturing and murdering his son (and himself)?

    11. If Jesus was killed by others, but willingly went to be sacrificed for our sins, is that not euthanasia instead?

    12. He didn't ask them to kill him and they didn't kill him out of mercy. So it was not euthanasia. He just didn't stop them killing him because God had a higher purpose through his death and resurrection.

    13. Wrong, Peter. He provoked the state into killing him, which is no different from suicide. And for an omnipotent deity, any "higher purpose" such as forgiveness could be accomplished without having to rely on human sacrifice.

    14. You make the state sound like a victim. Jesus spoke the truth and lived love and compassion. He was killed because he was hated for dong this and they wanted to silence him.

      But his death and resurrection had the higher purpose of securing our forgiveness, a goal not achievable by any other means.

    15. If god couldn't forgive us without a barbaric blood sacrifice, then he isn't omnipotent.

  7. What's wrong, Peter? Facts got your tongue?


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