Posted on June 8, 2021

British Towns That Are No-Go Areas for White People

Daily Mail, June 4, 2021

An author who visited mosques across Britain to investigate integration has revealed how parts of Blackburn are ‘no-go areas’ for white men, while ultra-orthodox parents in Bradford make children live under Taliban-like rules.

Author and political advisor Ed Husain, Professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service in Georgetown University, has penned Among The Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain in which he explores some of the UK’s largest mosques and the Muslim communities worshiping there.

The Muslim writer, who was himself radicalised in his youth and trained for Jihad by the same people as Omar Khyam, leader of the Bluewater bombers, grew up in a Bangladeshi family in Tower Hamlets, East London.

In the book, which is set to be released next week, Ed details how he researched his work by ‘turning up unannounced’ to the communal Friday prayers at the central mosque in cities across the country.

Husian, also chronicled conversations with taxi drivers, business owners, Imams and local white people about the mosques and the surrounding community, painting a worrying picture of divided communities – with white people in towns across the country admitting there are ‘no-go areas’ where they fear being physically attacked.

One man in Blackburn said ‘Asian’ teenagers repeatedly ‘jumped’ his 12-year-old son in broad daylight for ‘being white’.

Areas like Bolton, Dewsbury and Black are described ‘a different universe’, while he observes that in parts of the cities he has visited: ‘A Muslim can spend months with no contact whatsoever with mainstream ‘white’ Britain’.

Elsewhere, parents in Bradford Muslim parents have banned children from taking part in drama, theatre and dance classes as well as drawing, in echoes of rules implemented by the Taliban in Afghanistan and ISIS in Syria.

They are ‘physically in Britain but mentally living elsewhere,’ said Husain.

Among the areas Ed visited was Blackburn, which has the highest Muslim population outside of London, the global hub for the Deobandis and the Tablighi Jamaat.

Almost half the mosques in the UK are controlled by the Deobandis, the ultra-orthodox version of the faith, which created the Taliban in Afghanistan, while the Tablighi Jamaat espouses a return to ‘true’ Islam as observed by the Prophet Mohammed.

In the city, where Ed was told mosques grow ‘organically’, he was shocked to discover the levels of resentment between white locals and Muslim citizens.

A group of white men told him they are scared to go into ‘no-go areas’ in the town, such as Whalley Range, with one man saying a gang of ‘Asian’ teenagers repeatedly ‘jumped’ his 12-year-old son.

They told Ed the boy was ‘battered him in broad daylight…for being white’.

Another man in the group said the area of Whalley Range, which according to the 2011 census was 30 per cent British Asian and 38 per cent White, was a particular area they would avoid.

They told him: ‘If we go to Whalley Range at night-time, we’re guaranteed to get jumped. We won’t walk out of it. We won’t walk to the other end of the street.’

They also claimed the council for Blackburn with Darwen would ‘threaten you with eviction’ for flying the English flag’ and called it ‘racist.’

Meanwhile former councillor Saima Afzal told Ed that at one Muslim school in Blackburn the headteacher had withdrawn young girls from swimming lessons, saying it was inappropriate for them to wear swimming costumes.

As well as visiting the Central Mosque, Ed visited what he described as an ‘otherwise ordinary-looking shop’ in which he found several books detailing strict restrictions for women.

He discovered copies of Bahishti Zewar, which insists that it is a sin to ‘enjoy dancing and listening to music’ and to ‘like and be attracted to the customs of the kuffar [unbelievers]’.

He also uncovered Mukhtasar al-Quduri: A Manual of Islamic Law, which cites: ‘When a girl reaches puberty, it is not appropriate that any of her should be seen, excepting her face, and her hands up to the wrists.’

In nearby Bradford, Ed was amazed by the lack of white English people in the city, and asked a Muslim taxi driver ‘where they are’.

He was told they had all ‘gone with the wind.’

According to the author, there were mosques ‘on almost every corner’, with Ed writing: ‘Then there are houses that also serve as mosques and madrasas , banners affixed to their façades.’

Ed learned that Muslim parents living in the area had forbidden their children from taking part in drama, theatre and dance classes as well as drawing.

‘Islam, as I am regularly told, prohibits figurative art and also bans dancing. So the children are not permitted to draw or dance, and their parents cannot allow them to come here,’ he’s told by the firector of a theatre company for children with special needs and disabilities.

He also visited The Islam Bradford Centre and heard a sermon from an Imam who commands worshipers to avoid the ‘innovations of the modern world.’

Ed writes: ‘All new matters, he says, are deviations, and all deviations belong in hellfire.

‘He speaks from paper notes and delivers the entire sermon in English, again differing from many other mosques I have encountered where Arabic and Urdu sections are also delivered.’

Meanwhile another Imam in the city told him he was concerned about the ‘widespread abuse of disabled children in the Muslim community.’

Ed was told: ‘[Disabled children] are hidden away. Many of the Muslim parents just don’t care about these children, and take their social benefit money and use it to support their families, open shops, back in Kashmir.’

After visiting an Islamic bookstore he discovered works glorifying violent jihad by Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian godfather of Islamist terror and an acknowledged influence on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

He spoke to the director of a local theatre company dedicated to helping disabled children and those with special educational needs, Louise Denham, about how the communities could come together.

But she was pessimistic, and warned that Bradford could become ‘an apartheid city’ within 30 years.

She predicted: ‘There’ll be more pushback against diversity. We’ll have parties like Nazi Germany organising against the immigrant and Muslim populations.’

Ed concluded that while the community was physically in Britain, they are mentally living elsewhere.

Ed stated that upon arriving in Dewsbury, he feels ‘as though he is in a different country and century’.

The Markazi Mosque mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe with space for 4,000 people, is controlled by the Deobandis.

There were no spaces allocated for women to pray, with a cleric telling Ed: ‘There can be no discussion of there being women in the mosque. This would be a temptation for many.’

Local bookshops sold pamphets and books promoting the separation and suppression of women, with one even outlining how women shouldn’t leave the house without their husband’s permission.

It read: ‘When a woman leaves her home without her husband’s consent then all the angels of the skies and the entire universe curse her for this act until she returns home.’

Another stated: ‘Being in seclusion with a strange woman, and the reckless intermingling between men and women, is most certainly haram , forbidden in the religion of God. ‘

And a third read: ‘The woman was the strongest factor in destroying noble characteristics.’

The mosque is also the central office for the Tableeghi Jamaat, which was founded in India in 1927 to stop the dilution of Muslim identity in the cosmopolitan cities of British India.

Its founder’s slogan was ‘ Ai Musolmano, Musolman bano! ‘, meaning ‘O Muslims, become [real] Muslims!’

Out in the city’s streets, women were out shopping with their faces covered with black veils.

Ed called it ‘the culture of caliphism’, explaining: ‘The Tableeghi Jamaat separates itself from secular society, and preaches from door to door, to create a Muslim society from which a caliphate is expected eventually to emerge.’

Meanwhile he spoke to one elderly white couple in a pub who said ‘locals’ aka the Muslim community ‘don’t talk to them.’

During a trip to Didsbury, he visited the town’s mosque, which was a church before it was purchased in 1967 by Syrian Arabs.

He came across people hauling banners and Palestinian flags into the mosque and, once inside, found posters urging support for an aid organisation accused of links with extremists.

Meanwhile he also discovered a sign for the ‘Sharia Department’, which deals with divorces and marriages, and any disputes and other issues that Muslims want to take to sharia.

Under Islamic law, marriage is a legal bond and social contract between a man and a woman, but the marriages are not binding under UK law.

One of the books on display in the mosque was by Khurshid Ahmad, an ideologue of the Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamist groups in Pakistan who has advocated for the creation of an Islamic state.

Ahmad has referred to members of al-Qaeda as ‘brethren’ and refused to acknowledge their role in the 9/11 attacks.

Among those who have worshiped at the mosque in the past is Salman Abedi, who detonated a suicide bomb killing 22 at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

Abedi and his family regularly attended the mosque and his father sometimes led the call to prayer.

In the days after the attack an imam from the mosque came out an assured the public the mosque did not back the views of Abedi.

Later, Ed met with a long-time friend, Faiza, whom he had spoken to for years about issues in the Muslim community, including the decision to wear a full face veil.

However she felt she was unable to meet Ed alone without a chaperone, so her husband joined them for the meeting.

She stated that one of the University of Manchester’s two prayer facilities for Muslim students was dominated by a Salafi extremist preacher.

Meanwhile Ed also met with Mahfuz Alimain, a senior official at Manchester Council.

He told him refugees often struggle to adjust to life in Manchester because they are so accustomed to the violence of their own countries.

He explained: ‘Syrians and Libyans, Yemenis and Palestinians who come to British mosques have seen bombs and destruction daily. Killings are normal for them.

‘Peace in Manchester troubles them; they feel they need to seek revenge and justice for the wrongs done to them in their countries.’

Meanwhile Mahfuz said that in mosques, the community can see refugees are ‘constantly agitated against stability at every level’.

He said that the younger generation in particular ‘encourage this instability and trouble’, adding: ‘The elders understand the need to work with everyone, while the complaints of the younger ones then draw the attention of the war-torn Arab newcomers.’

Finishing his trip to Manchester, Ed met with two of his wife’s friends for dinner.

One told him: ‘In Bolton, Dewsbury, Blackburn, Preston, it’s a different universe. Women don’t work.

‘Most of my cousins are at home looking after their husbands, who are taxi drivers or postmen. The mosques there don’t allow women to pray.’

At Edinburgh’s Central Mosque, Ed found it was guarded by security wearing high-vis jackets.

He spotted a poster for a ‘Politics and Media Masterclass’, which promised to focus on who regulates the media, how to challenge it and how legislation is made.

It was sponsored by MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development), a controversial group.

The group is an NGO that aims to encourage British Muslim communities to be more involved in British media and politics.

The advocacy group also ardently opposes the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy. In 2017, it was accused of ‘promoting extremism’.

The founder, Mr Ismail has previously caused upset when he claimed, after MPs voted to recognise Palestine, that it was ‘the first vote lost by the Israeli lobby in parliament for 300 years’.

The author later travelled to Glasgow to visit several mosques, including the Central Mosque, in the city.

On the wall was an advertisement for a lecture by Shaykh Ahmad Ali, a British scholar of the Deobandi movement, which agreed with the theology of not allowing people to insult the Prophet.

Large sections of the school of thought in Pakistan have also been known to support the Taliban.

During his visit, Ed was told off and forbidden from taking photographs inside the mosque by a cleric.

On his way outside, he met a Muslim soldier, who said he would never talk about his role in the mosque because the ‘community wouldn’t accept it.’

Later, he visited Dawate-Islami madrasa, a mosque in another part of the city.

There, young girls were required to wear all black burkas as uniform to cover their ‘private parts’.

He wrote: ‘The group believe their historical mandate is to oppose any insult to the Prophet, and they use hadith, sayings attribute to Mohamed, to support this claim.

‘Pakistan’s blasphemy laws also support this interpretation and are often used against Ahmadis as well as Christians, with sanctions ranging in severity from fines to the death penalty.’

While visiting Birmingham, Ed met with two friends who had recently moved to the country from Saudi Arabia.

They told him they ‘can’t change their religion to suit Britain’, with one, Ahmed, saying: ‘I have no government. We are waiting for our government of the sharia to return again, headed by a caliph.’

Nearby highstreets are lined with shops selling hijabs for young girls and books with extreme arguments, including one which states: ‘Women cannot be equal to men’ and another which insists: ‘The emergence of the woman from her home is like the emergence of Shaitaan [Satan] himself.’

At the Birmingham’s Central Mosque, he found an advertisement for a ‘sisters only’ Summer Fayre at a nearby girls’ school which forbid boys from over the age of 10 to attend.