He was captioned 'Iman and Scholar' rather than 'Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain'.
BBC Breakfast invited him to discuss the aftermath of Paris, especially its impact on British Muslims. The silky shaykh duly engaged in his usual slipping and sliding, inevitably shifting the focus onto the suffering of Muslims and the failings of Western foreign policy.
Towards the end, however, even the BBC's Roger Johnson sounded rather uneasy about Shaykh Ibrahim's sincerity...
...and that came after the following question and answer, where Ibrahim Mogra characteristically side-stepped what seemed to me to be an attempt (on the BBC presenter's part) to get him to speak about the suffering of the people of Paris and moved straight back to his preferred theme of the plight of Muslims instead:
Roger Johnson: But give us a snapshot of how Muslims are talking to you about what happened in Paris.Ibrahim Mogra: Well, there is solidarity with the Muslims.
Anyhow, for your interest, here are some extracts this morning's BBC Breakfast paper reviews:
Naga Munchetty: Ibrahim Mogra, imam and scholar is here to tell us what's caught his eye. Good morning.
Ibrahim Mogra: Morning.
Naga Munchetty: Before we start...we will go through the front pages, but you can imagine what's on them now is what happens with Syria, what happens in the battle against Islamic State - all of this, of course, just over a week on from Paris. Can you just give us your thoughts on how you feel...if you feel...the world has changed now in terms of interactions between groups and attitudes amongst people when it comes to Islamic State and how this has reflected on the Muslim community.
Ibrahim Mogra: It's been devastating for us on many fronts. I mean, as human beings we feel the pain of loss of innocent lives. And then to know that it's co-religionists, fellow Muslims, who have been responsible for these horrendous murders and killings. It's even more painful that they've falsely then claimed to have been doing it in God's name.
Naga Munchetty: Hmm.
Ibrahim Mogra: Far from it. This is the work of Satan. They're doing the Devil's bidding. So we distance ourselves from their evil actions. And sadly many of our innocent British Muslim citizens who go about their daily lives are now the target of bigoted people's inability to make a distinction between the 3 million plus law-abiding Muslim citizens of our country and maybe a handful...of course a handful too many...who have perpetrated these crimes.
Roger Johnson: Have you heard...sorry to labour the point, but as you mention it...have you noticed a noticeable increase in hostility towards your community in the last week?
Ibrahim Mogra: Right. I...to be fair, there is a mixture. I think the British public has been wonderful. And we saw that in the aftermath of the London bombings and how people really rallied around and stood with us in solidarity and made that distinction between us and these evil terrorists. And I think the same is happening. And this is one of the, if you like...I hesitate to use this phrase...but the silver lining on this dark cloud that looms over us - that each time these terrorists have perpetrated an act of terrorism it has actually brought us closer together, despite our diversities. So there's a lot of solidarity with Muslims. But at the same time we hear more and more cases of, for example, Muslims who are visibly Muslim, particularly women who wear the head scarf, have been spat at, have had bottles thrown at them. One's been pushing in front of a moving tube train, etc. So we need to be alert to these things and stand up against these bigoted people, otherwise we will be driving more and more people into the hands of the ISIS and terrorist recruiters.
Ibrahim Mogra: Where do we go from here? Well, we know where we've been before. The question is do we want to go back there again. And there is a big call once again to use bombers in Syria and, of course, we're already bombing in Iraq. We've done that before in Afghanistan, we've done that before in Iraq, and more than a decade later we know exactly where we are. Those places are still really in turmoil. So is bombing the right strategy? There is a lot of anger, for example, with regards to drone attacks. Drone attacks cannot be as precise as you want, and this horrible phrase 'collateral damage' is something that we, perhaps, sitting here can afford to use but for the people on the ground...the terrorists themselves have said, 'You kill one through a drone attack, you are creating a hundred others who will replace that one person you've killed'. And then whether we are willing to put boots on the ground, to use an American phrase, whether we will commit our troops to fight on the ground, because following a bombing campaign there's got to be something else done there. ....
Ibrahim Mogra: It's something strikingly different between Muslims and Christians. For example, many of my Christian clergy friends without any hesitation will say they doubted the existence of God and they questioned 'Where was God'?, etc. It's very different for us as Muslims. We have kind of this absolute faith in the presence of God, in good times, in bad times. For Christians...I guess many have said to me it's a sign of their faith if you like to be able to question this.
Ibrahim Mogra: Yes, we're really up against it because I've had young people say to me, "Shaykh Ibrahim, forget all the fatwas, all the rulings that you're giving us from your theological arguments. What do we do when we see innocent people also being killed?" So, in a way, the more force and violent means that we are using to tackle this problem the more we are alienating younger people. And just to add to this complex issue is the fact that we are beginning to see society turning on Muslims who've made this country their own and now are being seen as a threat or as an enemy within. And this can further alienate them and disenfranchise them.
Roger Johnson: Interesting point. And for those not watching an hour ago, we talked at great length about the experience of the Muslim community in the last week and as you say...backlash is too strong a word, but the way in which reactions have come your way, Just, if you can...you kind of touched on it...but give us a snapshot of how Muslims are talking to you about what happened in Paris.
Ibrahim Mogra: Well, there is solidarity with the Muslims, People I hope are finally able to hear our loud condemnation. We have condemned terrorism over and over again, despite the fact that many young people are saying to us "Why are you apologising for things we haven't done? Why are you taking responsibility for something that we haven't done?", but we do it as our religious duty. It is our obligation to condemn these things. At the same time we find alongside the solidarity of the British communities there are numbers of bigoted British people who are targeting innocent Muslims on our streets, on public transport, and that is totally unacceptable. This is yet another way in which these young people will feel that if they're not welcome here, if they're not trusted here, then they might as well go over there and fight.
Naga Munchetty: Again though, as you've said, it's a handful, and a tiny numbers of Muslims who have claimed it's in the name of Islam that they are committing these atrocities and again it's a handful of Britons who are turning on..,and not reflecting the bigger picture that actually there has been a show of solidarity and community in the wake of Paris.
Ibrahim Mogra: It's always a handful of people who spoil it for the rest. In all walks of life we find...I mean if you look at our football stadiums, it's always only a handful who give football a bad name.
Roger Johnson: Ibrahim, can I just pick you up on one word you used before? You said, "It's our duty to condemn it." You're not saying...you're not saying you're only doing it because it's your duty? You're saying it because it's a genuine heartfelt condemnation?
Ibrahim Mogra: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. As human beings...I mean before I'm a Muslim I'm first a human being, and I feel for the loss of life. And at the same time it's a duty to God. The Koran calls on Muslims to speak out against injustice, even if it's against ourselves, our parents and our relatives. So we do it not because there's an expectation from the government or an expectation from the British public or the world that Muslims will condemn this. We do it without being called upon.
Mogra : "One's been pushing in front of a moving tube train, etc."ReplyDelete
I had to check that this actually happened, and it did. But
1) It happened before the Paris slaughter
2) The accused, Japanese national Yoshiyuki Shinohara, 81, of no fixed abode, cannot be considered representative of the average Brit.
I felt I had to check it too, and was just about to update the post with regards to your second point. I hadn't noticed that the incident occurred before the Paris atrocities though, so well spotted.Delete
Both points makes a nonsense of his smear against British people.
I remember him from the days of Sharia TV on Channel 4. Just one of those industrious purveyors of gloss - several layers of varnish over the reality of Sharia. He never actually disagrees with traditional Islamic judgements. So he supports second hand treatment of non-Muslims, unequal treatment of women etc.ReplyDelete
So he says " ..I mean before I'm a Muslim I'm first a human being, and I feel for the loss of life." but you condemn him because you choose to talk about the 'gloss' that you will never belief or accept.. Because you too never actually disagree with traditional British views of Islam.Delete
He says....."there are numbers of bigoted British people who are targeting innocent Muslims on our streets." According to the PC brigade we are all British but on his own admission he admits there are two categories of citizen. British on the one hand and Muslim on the other.ReplyDelete