I blogged yesterday on Shaykh Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib who has been preaching thet Jews are the enemies of Muslims and that no woman should step out of her house without the permission of her husband.
I was expecting FIANZ to remove the Shaykh from the senior positions he holds with them. Sadly it seems they not only won’t do that, but won’t even censure him.
Their release is here. It is notable for what it doesn’t say. They say FIANZ is against hate speech, they say hate speech is against Islam, they say they condemn all hate speech, they complain about the media, they talk about injustice in the Middle East, they talk about racism from far right groups, they say they respect the right of others to not be Muslim and they say they will continue to promote moderate Islam.
But what didn’t they say? They didn’t even mention Sahib by name. They didn’t say whether or not his comments are acceptable. They did not say whether such comments are compatible with his senior leadership positions.
This is bullshit spin from FIANZ. I’m quite appalled by their reaction, and I’ve in fact been one of their defenders. I’ve often said we’re very fortunate that in NZ the peak Islamic body has been so moderate and constructive. I have referred top the fact that the previous head was an accountant at the post office as opposed to the fiery clerics who head up similar bodies in Australia.
But their response here makes me think they have changed. And this is a very bad change. Their response is a total cop out.
Sahib himself has also responded and says his comments were taken out of context. He seems to think that because he did not actively incite acts of violence against Jews, it is okay to refer ti them as the enemies of Muslims.
But bravo to one group who has condemned his comments. The Islamic Women’s Council have said:
The Administration Council of the Islamic Women’s Council would like to respond to the video containing clips of speeches posted online by Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib.
Firstly, regarding the comments directed towards Jewish people, these are totally inappropriate and we unequivocally condemn any divisive comments of a similar nature. While we may disagree with aspects of Jewish theology, and may have political disagreements, we see the Jewish people as closely connected to us through the Abrahamic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had good relationships with his Jewish neighbours & encouraged Muslims to do the same. We are permitted to eat their kosher food, and we offer them our respect. We regularly extend our hand in friendship to the Jewish community in New Zealand, and will continue to do so.
So unlike FIANZ they acknowledge the comments, say they are totally inappropriate and condemn them.
IWCNZ is particularly sensitive to the views represented by the comments towards women. The approach shown is a religious misinterpretation, in our opinion, and we are disappointed that certain religious leaders may encourage this damaging rhetoric.
So well done to IWCNZ for their response but a total fail to FIANZ for their response. Again I have been very supportive of FIANZ in the past, but they have totally misjudged this issue and it would be a shame for the peak Islamic body in NZ to end up as discredited as some of their overseas counterparts.
UPDATE: Pleased to report that FIANZ have now taken action. Stuff reports:
An Auckland Imam who was criticised for hate speech against Jews has been permanently stood down from the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ.
Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib was the Secretary for the Ulama Board, the Federation’s religious advisory board.
His employment was terminated on Wednesday morning, effective immediately.
That is a good start.