Leyton: mosque hits back after extremism claim

Masjid al-Tawhid 2A report claiming that extremist literature was being distributed through a mosque in Leyton was based on forged evidence, according to the mosque’s imam and the BBC. Masjid al-Tawhid, in Leyton High Road, was named in The Hijacking of British Islam – published by the rightwing Policy Exchange think-tank in October.

Imam Dr Usama Hasan says the researchers bought the books from Tayba, an unaffiliated book shop next door, then faked a receipt to suggest the shop and the mosque were the same organisation. He said: “We’re furious about this and we’re considering taking legal action against Policy Exchange unless they correct their errors. The shop is nothing to do with us. It is an independent commercial enterprise. We never promoted these books at all. We’re involved in interpreting the Quran and understanding it in a modern British context. The only message this mosque promotes is tolerance and co-existence.”

The books in question, including Justice Is In The Law of Islam And Not In The Acclaimed Democracy, advocate a strict, literal interpretation of Shari’a law and instruct Muslims not to associate with non-believers. They also include misogynistic and anti-semitic views. Among their authors is Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz – a Saudi cleric who helped found Masjid al-Tawhid in 1984 with a large cash donation. However Dr Hasan says he rejects bin Baz’s teaching on women and non-Muslims, saying he has little experience of life outside Saudi Arabia.

Leyton Guardian, 20 December 2007