Birmingham mosque leader critical of hate speech

The leader of a Muslim society whose Birmingham Mosque supplied a platform for a preacher of hate said the address damaged good work there.

Sparkbrook mosque, run by UK Islamic Mission, hosted a meeting led by controversial Muslim militant, Dr Ijaz Mian, in June. In a TV investigation preachers were seen praising the Taliban, and saying of a British Muslim soldier who died in Afghanistan: “The hero of Islam is the one who separated his head from his shoulders.” Dr Mian was one of dozens of speakers and groups to hire out rooms at the UKIM complex on Anderton Road in Sparkbrook, which boasts a mosque and community centre.

Wolverhampton-based Mohammed Akhtar, Secretary General of UKIM, said UKIM was a moderate group which had never espoused extremist views, although it did disagree with Government policy. It has run an Islamic centre for more than 20 years and regularly stages inter-faith dialogues.

“We do disagree with a lot of policies by Government and the decision-making bodies but there are ways to address them, and we try to work alongside them through dialogue and peaceful protest,” said Mr Akhtar. “Something like this comes and destroys all the good work our group does. Islam teaches us to live in a non-Islamic environment as good neighbours. Multi-culturalism is part of Islam.”

Birmingham Post, 12 January 2007