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Sharia Watch Response to Commission for Countering Extremism reply

Sharia Watch Response to Commission for Countering Extremism reply

Author(s):

[Covering letter]
Dear Ms Khan,
 
Thank you for your reply to our letter on 12th Oct 2019. Sharia Watch reject your assertions regarding the content on our site and our reasons are in the attached PDF. Our reply can also be found at:
 
To be clear, our content addresses the ideas in the Islamic belief-system, we do not characterise the Muslim community and in fact we cite several practicing Muslims in support of our case.
 
Nor have we "reductively characterised" sharia or Muslims. We are only the messenger for the reports from the ECHR and the Council of Europe plus statements by moderate Muslims like Yahya Cholil Staquf. The fact that organisations and individuals of their standing have succinctly and so bluntly expressed their concerns should tell you clearly that sharia or at the very least large portions of it are extreme.
 
As well as publishing this response on our website and social media, we will be circulating our response to as many journalists as we can plus we will be emailing it to the Home Secretary, No10 and all MPs.
 
We are fully confident of our position and are quite willing to subject our case to open public debate. Are the Commission equally open to publicly supporting their case?
 
Therefore we propose the following:
 
1. We would ask the Commission to publish your comments on your blog together with a link to our response. That way people can make up their own mind.
 
2. We could ask sites like The Article, Spiked Online plus newspapers to consider hosting an exchange of views between us based on two themes: Their columnists would of course also be welcome join the debate.
 
a. Do people have the right to question Islam as a belief system?
b. Do the reports from the ECHR and Council of Europe plus the statements from Islamic scholars prove sharia is fundamentally extreme?
 
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
Sharia Watch UK

[Main letter to Commission]

This article is in response to the reply  from the Commission for Countering Extremism to our letter to them back in October 2019.

Dear Ms Khan,

Thank you for your eventual reply to our letter of 12th Oct 2019 although we are extremely disappointed with the contents.

The continued refusal of the Commission and government to countenance even a debate regarding the role the Islamic belief-system, particularly sharia, plays in fostering Islamic extremism and consequent concerns amongst non-Muslims is something we find very concerning.

The strategy of the Commission seems to be that containment of public statements of concern about Islam and public statements of the more odious aspects of Islam-sharia doctrines constitutes success.

It might keep the lid on debate for a time but that will only frustrate people and disempower moderate Muslims trying to change Islam. It will do nothing to challenge the roots of extremism because both Islamic radicalism and the reactions it engenders amongst non-Muslims are rooted in Islamic texts and doctrines. What matters is what is written down, not nebulous ideas of 'not all Muslims believe X' and in the age of the internet non-Muslims can read what Islamic texts actually say. Consequently more and more people are finding them disturbing.

Add to that the window on to the world-wide Muslim mindset revealed by the Muslim demographics project, itself based on a massive survey by the PEW Foundation of circa 1Bn Muslims and you have growing concerns regarding Islam. Those concerns will not be squashed by a 'let's all play nicely children' approach from nanny state!

“There are other important conclusions regarding the survey population which have major implications for immigration. These are discussed in the full, project report:
 Devout Muslims are more likely to reject the legitimacy of Western laws and government.
 Converting non-Muslims and promoting sharia are religious imperatives for many Muslims.
 Intolerance of non-Muslims is widespread and continues to be taught.
 A significant minority of Muslims are conflicted about modern society
 A pre-scientific worldview continues to inhibit Islamic historical and scientific inquiry.
Many Muslims Reject Basic Universal Rights and Freedoms When taken together, about one-third to one-half of Muslims (274.0 million - 463.3 million) in the survey countries uphold beliefs and practices (in addition to support for sharia) that are contrary to many Western values and internationally recognized human rights, as shown in this table.

SURVEY QUESTION

 

NUMBER WHO AFFIRM

CONFLICT WITH WESTERN PRINCIPLES & VALUES

Favor sharia in their country

69.00%

741.8 million

Separation of religion and state

Religious freedom

Apply sharia to non-Muslims in their country

31.00%

274.0 million

Separation of religion and state

Religious freedom

Individual freedom

Freedom of speech

Equality of all persons under the law

Whippings and amputations for crimes like theft and robbery

44.00%

456.7 million

Cruel and unusual punishment

Stoning for adultery

45.00%

463.3 million

Cruel and unusual punishment

Death penalty for apostasy

35.00%

352.2 million

Religious freedom

Freedom of speech

Cruel and unusual punishment

Forced veiling of women

32.00%

349.4 million

Individual rights

Gender equality

Justify honor killings for women who commit pre or extra-marital sex

40.00%

361.8 million

Religious freedom

Individual rights

Gender equality

Conspiracy to murder

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZbCkQAgkfRYbDzOEvwrPgdVeM3PVb1-0/view

 

To draw an analogy with the current coronavirus outbreak, it is like trying to contain the spread of that virus by treating individuals who present with the virus but not instituting infection control procedures by deep cleaning areas that might contain the infection and tracing contacts who may be carriers spreading the virus.

Similarly, your strategy appears to be to play 'whack-a-mole' when someone, to use your examples, quotes sharia law as "non-Muslims must step out of the way of Muslims" which can be found in the Shafi'i manual of sharia, The Reliance of the Traveller, section o11.5 item 4 "non-Muslims must keep to the side of the street" = step out of the way of Muslims.

Or on the other side saying “Islam teaches these men that women are nothing and that they can beat and abuse them at will. They come here en masse and they do the same to us.

This is despite the evidence which shows these are exactly what Islam teaches, certainly in some Islamic faith schools and madrassa e.g. Panorama 2010 “British schools, Islamic rules” which highlighted Islamic madrassa teaching children:


“non-Muslims should step out of the way of Muslims”
“List the reprehensible qualities of Jews?”
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/panorama-british-schools-islamic-rule
he was taught that women were "worthless" at the Islamic faith school he attended, also claiming that he was not aware it was illegal for him to have sex with a child because his education had left him 'ignorant' to British law.
https://neonnettle.com/news/3675-pedophile-who-raped-girl-spared-jail-my-religion-doesn-t-condemn-child-sex-
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268395/Adil-Rashid-Paedophile-claimed-Muslim-upbringing-meant-didnt-know-illegal-sex-girl-13.html

To complete the analogy, you are addressing the symptoms but ignoring the infection control required to contain the actual virus which in this case is sharia and the extremism it propagates.

 

To claim that you want to put human rights at the centre of your work but then refuse to recognise a key judgment summary from the ECHR that clearly makes the case that sharia is extreme, to the extent that it is incompatible with democracy and human rights sufficient to cause the court to uphold the banning of a political party is something that we find, frankly, unbelievable.

We fully understand that recognising that judgment formally and promulgating that recognition will not be popular with some Muslims you work with, nor for that matter with politicians, although many Muslims in the UK do not support sharia if polls are to be believed, but it essential if we, as a nation, are to address the root problem of Islamic extremism on the one hand and the negative response that generates from non-Muslims on the other.

You state:

Our report describes the potential restriction of rights and freedoms that can occur from the enforcement of cultural or religious practices, but this is a separate concern from what we have identified as hateful extremism.”

It is not a separate concern from “hateful extremism” because in the case of Islam, Islamic radicalism stems directly from the sharia and the Quran. In turn, that then causes a counter reaction from non-Muslims who can read those Islamic texts for themselves.

That sharia is extreme is made abundantly clear in both the ECHR judgment summary (“concerns regarding the legal status of women under sharia”) and the CoE report para 13-15:


In Islamic family law, men have authority over women. Surah 4:34 states: ‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.’While wives clearly have a duty of fidelity, husbands do not. In Sharia law, adultery is strictly prohibited. Legal doctrine holds that the evidence must take the form of corroborating testimony from four witnesses to prove an individual’s guilt. These witnesses must be men of good repute and good Muslims. The punishment is severe and degrading, namely ‘a hundred lashes’. In the case of rape, which is seldom committed in public before four male witnesses who are good Muslims, punishing the rapist is difficult if not impossible. In practice, this obliges women to be accompanied by men when they go out and is not conducive to their independence. While divorce by mutual consent is enshrined in Islamic law, the application has to come from the wife, since the husband can repudiate his wife at any time. There is also the question of equal rights with regard to divorce arrangements such as custody of children
For division of an estate among the heirs, distinctions are made according to the sex of the heir. A male heir has a double share, whereas a female heir has a single share. The rights of a surviving wife are half those of a surviving husband.
In criminal cases, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments are authorised by Sharia law, including death by stoning, beheading and hanging, amputation of limbs, and flogging.
Apostasy results, firstly, in the apostate’s civil death, with the estate passing to the heirs, and, secondly, in the apostate’s execution if he or she does not recant.
Lastly, non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal [sharia] law, which is discrimination on the ground of religion within the meaning of Article 14 of the Convention. [Very similar in function to the Nazi Nuremberg laws in our opinion]
http://www.assembly.coe.int/Committee/JUR/ajdoc282016.pdf

Other examples of the extremism within sharia and the Quran are:

From the Religion of Peace site: https://thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/women-worth-less.aspx

Does Islam teach that a woman is worth less than a man? Absolutely. The only debatable point is by what degree.
Quran (4:11) - (Inheritance) "The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females" (see also verse 4:176).
In Islam, sexism is mathematically established.
Quran (2:282) - (Court testimony) "And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women."
Muslim apologists offer creative explanations to explain why Allah felt that a man's testimony in court should be valued twice as highly as a woman's, but studies consistently show that women are actually less likely to tell lies than men, meaning that they make more reliable witnesses.
Quran (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"
This is often taken to mean authority or responsibility - although it is not literally in the Arabic text.
Quran (5:6) - "And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it"
Men are to rub dirt or water on their hands to purify themselves, following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).
Quran (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will..."
A man has dominion over his wives' bodies as he does his land. This verse is overtly sexual. There is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse. If this is what Muhammad meant, then it would appear to contradict what he said in Muslim (8:3365).
Quran (4:3) - (Wife-to-husband ratio) "Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four"
Inequality by numbers.
Quran (53:27) - "Those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names."
Angels are sublime beings, and would therefore be male.
Quran (4:24) and Quran (33:50) -
”And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.”
“O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.”
A man is permitted to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage. Note that the verse distinguishes wives from captives (those whom their right hand possesses). [Verse 33:50 also provides a convenient exemption for Muhammad!!!]
https://thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/women-worth-less.aspx

 The last point on Quranic verses 4:24 and 33:50 is echoed in the Shafi'i manual of sharia law:
 

K32.1 Women and children of the land that has been conquered are considered booty of the war and they are considered slaves. Everything belongs to the Imam first and after he takes a fifth of the booty the rest is given to the soldiers who were involved in the war. If the slave becomes a Muslim this conversion does not set him free and he will stay a slave. Captivity is the absolute consequence of Muslims war with non-Muslims and is not exclusive to elementary Jihad or defensive Jihad, even in the presence of the prophet or Imam and with their permission. If Jihad was done without the permission of prophet or Imam, all the booty is given to the Imam.
K32.3 The master who owns a woman slave can use her in any way for his sexual pleasure; he can marry her if he wants. In intercourse the satisfaction of the female slave is not important at all. The female slave does not have to be Muslim convert. Even if she is pagan the sexual intercourse is Halal (permissible). A female Muslim is not allowed to have sexual relation with her slave without marriage. The male slaves are considered “mahram (impermissible, taboo)”.  The Koran has emphasized this point. The Mola (Master) not only has the right to marry his female slave without her consent but he is also allowed to lend her to another man without her consent to have sexual intercourse without marriage. He also has the authority to marry her to one of his male slaves.
https://mdharrismd.com/2015/03/03/translation-of-the-manual-of-islamic-sacred-law/
Similarly from the Maliki school of sharia:
32.6b. Women of the People of the Book It is halal to have sexual intercourse with women of the People of the Book if you own them as slaves or are married to any of their free women, but it is not halal for either a free man or a slave to have sexual intercourse with slave girls from among the people of the Book through marriage to them.
[This is based on the ayat of Allah, "or what your right hands own." We read in adh-Dhakira that because the People of the Book have been honoured by the Book and addressed by the Almighty Lord, their women and food are permitted. Others lack this honour by their deprival. It is reported from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that it is not permitted to marry a free Kitabi woman by evidence of the ayat of al-Baqara. He says, "There is no shirk greater than her statement that her Lord is 'Isa."]
https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/The%20Risala%20-%20A%20Treatise%20on%20Maliki%20Fiqh.pdf

Further, the aim of all jihadi groups is to impose Islamic sharia as the basis for Islamic rule. That includes the less noticeable cultural-jihad as well as the violent jihad attacks. That is why Sharia Watch defines jihad as “the imposition of Islamic values” which are encapsulated in the Sharia and covers all the forms of jihad described in the dictionary definitions of jihad. Note that Quran 4:95 clearly means armed struggle, otherwise the disabled would not be exempt!

Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] - other than the disabled - and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward 

What we are seeing described as 'hateful extremism' is on one hand Islamic proselytisers quoting Islamic texts and sharia and on the other a growing reaction by non-Muslims questioning those tenets of Islam.

If the Commission is truly impartial and evidence based as you claim, then you will look at the ideological basis of sharia which the driving force behind the action and reaction described above. Trying to be the thought police playing 'whack-a-mole' on the debate will not work, certainly in the long term.

Looking at that ideological base will also permit you to address a key theme that is mentioned by multiple writers in the article cited in your report:


“Fundamentalists impose their version of religion as the only valid one and stifle dissent by discrediting alternative interpretations of scripture and forbidding diversity in religious tradition or practice.”
https://journals.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/feministdissent/index

which is the political alliance of much of the left with Islamic radicalism. That alliance is rarely expressed in language that meets your definition of hateful extremism but it provides massive political cover for those promoting Islamic radicalism. That alliance is regularly commented on in social media posts and is part of the large schism current dividing political thought in the UK.

Further, that sentiment in your report regarding fundamentalists is expressed rather more accurately here by Dr Suurland:

As the writer Sam Harris stated:
“Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance."
Whilst this paper will not be able to answer this question, it will show that there is a large section of Islamic thinkers who would agree with this statement and which hold that the majority of the Islamic world is essentially in a state of unbelief, thereby pointing to the divide between the experience of religion and the actual principals and requirements of that religion.
https://www.academia.edu/727796/A_genealogy_of_radical_Islamic_theory_and_practice_in_Terrorism_Ideology_Law_and_Policy_A._Ellian_et_al_Dordrecht_Republic_of_Letters_2011?auto=download

Your claim is also somewhat at odds with the evidence from the PEW Foundation survey as analysed by the Muslim Demographic project quoted above. Given the figures in that survey, the fundamentalists seem to have garnered quite widespread support (69%) amongst Muslims for sharia as the law of the land!

Whether those in favour of sharia as the law of the land will be able to pick and mix as it seems many might like is rather less certain.

Also, that quote about “Fundamentalists impose their version of religion...” seems to be based on the anecdotal evidence of one, anonymous ESOL teacher's observations of the views of her students. There is no evidence as to what was actually said nor how much understanding of Islam that teacher possesses. The views of a small number of students with, very likely, a limited command of English given they were attending an English language course, possibly concerned about their immigration status and being careful of what they said because they would have been wary of a referral to Prevent can hardly be considered a reasonable basis for public policy.

That comment, like much of the left essentially ignores the hard truth which is that the fundamentalist version has a great deal of validity. Many knowledgeable and thoughtful commentators agree e.g.

Martin Parsons (these articles date back to 2011):

The essential problem for the government is to find a way of defining a specific point that very clearly delineates the start of radicalisation and that can be used as a touchstone to assesses when British Muslims and Islamic organisations have crossed it. Sharia provides that point. It is both wholly incompatible with a number of important historic British values and its implementation on Muslim and non-Muslim alike is central to the ultimate aims of both violent and non-violent Islamists. As such, it can be used not only to identify radicalisation, but also to draw a line in the sand in respect of British values that wavering young Muslims can be challenged not to cross.
http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2010/11/sharia-is-the-touchstone-for-recognising-and-combatting-radical-islam-part-2.html

Several other articles on the same theme by that author:
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=authors/martin-parsons

Hassan Radwan:

Is Islamic Reform Possible? 'Should We Just Accept That Quran Is Not Perfect, Infallible Word of God, If Nearly All Muslims Misundetstand It?'
My view is that the Qur’an is not perfect and I believe it’s time we Muslims admitted that the Quran and Sunna can indeed lend itself to very harsh and violent - yet perfectly valid interpretations. The solution is not to try and twist the texts to come up with a counter-interpretation but to simply accept the fact that the Quran is not perfect. It is not infallible. It can be wrong.
Even Liberal and Progressive Muslims of today who seek to bring about a more peaceful and inclusive form of Islam never claim they are reforming Islam. Instead they claim they are bringing Islam back to it’s true message. They accept the same starting point of a perfect divine Qur’an and so instead of simply rejecting problematic verses they are forced into absurd linguistic gymnastics in order to claim that God’s perfect word never actually said what it appears to have said - and what 1400 years of scholarship believed it said. Liberal & progressive arguments depend on tenuous nuanced readings of the Qur’an and forcing new meanings out of ancient words. They scrape the barrel of the ancient texts to find something that will support a more progressive view.
But by playing this game within the rules of a perfect divine Qur’an they only hand victory to the traditionalists and fundamentalists because it is the traditionalists who have by far the greater evidence to support their views. Any theological workarounds a liberal can come up with can be easily countered by traditionalists with a vast array of Qur’an and Hadith at their disposal.
http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/hassan-radwan,-new-age-islam/is-islamic-reform-possible?--should-we-just-accept-that-quran-is-not-perfect,-infallible-word-of-god,-if-nearly-all-muslims-misundetstand-it?-/d/111784

Majid Rafizadeh:

  • On the surface, for those who wanted to reform Islam, the only place to do so appeared to be the West. We all assumed that here in the West, it would be safe to question and criticize. Instead, so many institutions utilize a far more subtle method of silencing criticism.

  • The more you conceal or disregard constructive criticism of Islam, the harder you are making it for reforms to occur in the religion and the easier you are making it for Muslim radicals to prevail.

  • The reason I criticize the radical elements of my religion is not because I have hatred in my heart, but because I desire to protect those who have been abused and abandoned by their leaders.

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12944/islam-criticism

Raymond Ibrahim:

Conference on Islamic Reform
The problem is that some — many — of the worst teachings plaguing the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds are derived directly from those texts deemed entirely reliable. The Koran, for example, very clearly permits the sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women, the beating of one's wife, and polygamy. The Koran calls on Muslims to have hate for and when convenient to war on non-Muslims just because they are non-Muslims.
https://www.meforum.org/60446/islamic-reform-top-muslim-university-says-no

Tom Holland:


Over the past few years, Western leaders whose knowledge of Muslim scripture is scanty in the extreme have repeatedly been obliged to pose as experts on Islam. The atrocities currently being committed by jihadis in the Middle East have prompted them to a particular slew of commentary. John Kerry, speaking recently in Iraq, was typical. The Islamic State, he declared, “claims to be fighting on behalf of Islam but the fact is that its hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam.” A reassuring assertion, and one that almost everyone, including the vast majority of Muslims, would desperately like to believe – but wishful thinking, all the same.
The grim truth is that sanctions can be found in the Qur’an, in the biographies of Muhammad and in the histories of early Islam for much that strikes the outside world as most horrific about the Islamic state. “Kuffar are afraid we will slaughter yazidis,” a British jihadi tweeted recently from Syria, “our deen [religion/ law] is clear we will kill their men, take their women and children as slaves insha Allah.” That this reading of assorted qur’anic verses and episodes from the life of the Prophet is the most brutal one imaginable does not necessarily invalidate it.
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/how-do-we-prevent-islamic-radicalisation

Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf:

The way I see it, what ISIS did was that they want to force the reality of today’s living to be following what is in the source of Islamic teaching. Everything they [ISIS] did, they have the justification from the authoritative references of Islamic teachings.
http://islamandlibertynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Islamic-Civilisation-Four-Challenges-Kyai-Haji-Yahya-Cholil-Staquf.pdf
Maajid Nawaz (video):
From about 11mins: "...Islamists who want to impose Islam on society and jihadists who use violence....have a plausible reading of scriptures...."
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/sam-harris-and-maajid-nawaz-future-islam

 

Denis MacEoin:

"What seems not to be understood about "the religion of peace" is that "peace" comes only after the entire world has been converted to Islam so that a "Dar al-Harb", the "Abode of War," will no longer even exist."

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10723/uk-terrorists

 

It is more than ever necessary to educate the public and many of its leaders about both the benign and troubling facts of Islamic history, doctrine, and culture. Those leaders who must require a more solid grounding include the ones who deny that terrorism has genuine links to issues such as jihad warfare -- and who are constantly told that "real" Islam is above rebuke.
We must indeed paint a positive picture of what so many Muslims contribute to their host societies. We should, for example, celebrate the way in which Muslim-Americans in Philadelphia launched an appeal that raised over $100,000 to help repair two Jewish cemeteries that had been vandalized. Or the Muslim veteran in Arkansas who volunteered to stand guard with others at any Jewish site that was threatened with attack.
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13539/religion-free-speech

 

:

Peace in Islam means submission to Allah. The ultimate meaning of Islamic peace is all of us living in Dar-al-Islam -- the house of submission

Anjem Choudary, the British Muslim cleric who has a very large following clearly defines the meaning of peace in Islam. “Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.”

https://canadafreepress.com/article/submission-what-is-the-meaning-of-peace-in-islam

 

As Melanie Phillips has pointed out in this article “It’s all about the narrative. Who controls it, wins”:

“Moreover, anyone who points out that Islamic terrorism is part of a holy war being waged against both the west and the not-Islamic-enough Muslim world is denounced for “Islamophobia”.
This also undermines those courageous Muslims pressing for a reform of their religion, often at risk to their lives, who have the ground cut from under their feet by westerners maintaining that the problem doesn’t lie within the Islamic world but with “Islamophobes” who claim that it does. [See also Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf]
If we really are not to “go on like this”, the first thing that needs to happen is that this dishonesty must end and the truth must publicly be told.
The government should start saying what it has flinched from saying: that the west is the target of Islamic holy war. It should say that, although many British Muslims pose no threat to anyone, too many in the community either believe the extremist precepts on which the jihad is based or passively go along with them; that too many groups and individuals revere, for example, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi who has endorsed human bomb attacks; that even among those Muslims who oppose violence, too many endorse poisonous ideas about the non-Muslim world which create the sea in which extremism and terrorism swim.
It should state bluntly that Muslims must start to take responsibility, both at home and abroad, for this war being waged in the name of their religion – and that the government will take all necessary measures to defeat it.
You see, it’s not just a matter of passing stricter laws. It’s all about the narrative. The jihadists know that whoever controls the narrative, wins. So far, the ignorant, spineless, demoralised west has let them seize control of it. That’s what now has to end.
https://www.melaniephillips.com/all-about-narrative-who-controls-it-wins/
At its most basic, there are two competing narratives here, which can be summed up as:
1. “Islam is a religion of peace/nowt to do with Islam/not all Muslims”.
2. “Islam-sharia is incompatible with democracy and human rights” (see reports we quote from ECHR and Council of Europe and Muslim writers above).

Further, As Melanie Phillips states, the West is the target of of Islamic holy war, expressed by Dr Suurland as

In that sense I truly feel that radical Islam is not a novel phenomenon but a repetition of the totalitarian mass movements of the 20th century and should thus be accorded the same treatment. In the same vein as western societies have developed laws and jurisprudence against Neo-Nazi or Stalinist organizations and propaganda, so too should this be done with the Qutbist Da’wa organizations and the message they expound.

Quite literally if our society and the equality and human rights that so many have fought and died for over the years is to continue then the second narrative MUST prevail and those elements of Islam-sharia that are incompatible need to be challenged and rooted out. For that to happen successfully, we as a society need to create the space for a proper, robust debate about Islam and provide support to the likes of Majid Rafizadeh, Hassan Radwan and Yahya Cholil Staquf when they call for serious changes to Islam such as changing the view that the Quran is the 'perfect word of God'!

As the article by Raymond Ibrahim on the conference in Egypt last month shows, that will be no easy task. The will be fierce resistance within the Islamic world to any change to the fundamentals of Islam and our own criminalising of acts such as burning a Quran actually hinder rather than help these moderate Muslims by conferring an untouchable status on the Quran that we don't afford to texts like the bible. In effect, we have enacted the provisions of sharia:

When one fears that a Koran may burn, get soaked, that a non-Muslim may touch it,or that it may come into contact with some filth, then one must pick it up if there is no safe place for it, even if one is in a state of minor or major ritual impurity, though performing the dry ablution (tayammum, def:e12) is obligatory if possible.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reliance-Traveller-Classic-Manual-Islamic/dp/0915957728

Sections of the political left continuing to ally with unsavoury Islamic radicals, as the report you quoted shows is happening, is a major hindrance to tackling the roots of Islamic extremism and the counter reaction it provokes from non-Muslims.

 

If you won't listen to Sharia Watch UK, please at least give a hearing to a moderate Islamic scholar!
 

Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.

The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.
It is our firm view that, if Muslims do not address the key tenets of Islamic tradition that encourage this violence, anyone – at any time – can harness them to defy what they claim to be illegitimate laws and butcher their fellow citizens, whether they live in the Islamic world or the West. This is what links so many current events, from Syria to the streets of London. There is a desperate need for honest discussion of these matters. This is why it worries me to see Western political and intellectual elites weaponise the term “Islamophobia,” to short-circuit analysis of a complex phenomenon that threatens all humanity. For example, it is factually incorrect and counter-productive to define Islamophobia as “rooted in racism,” as proposed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims. In reality, it is the spread of Islamist extremism and terror that primarily contributes to the rise of Islamophobia throughout the non-Muslim world. That is why it is vital to challenge the prevailing “Muslim mindset,” which is predicated upon enmity and suspicion towards non-Muslims, and often rationalises perpetrating violence in the name of Islam. Otherwise, non-Muslims will continue to be radicalised by Islamist attacks and by large-scale Muslim migration to the West.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/24/prevent-another-christchurch-islam-must-confront-attacks-name/

 

Narratives are pushed into public consciousness not by wordy reports but by simple sound bites as any political campaign will show.

That is why we believe your focus on curbing simple messages that encapsulate complex underlying truths is both wrong and actually undermining the challenging of extremism at its roots.

 

Indeed you have it seems, explicitly ruled out looking at religious texts and practices as part of your 'Challenging Hateful Extremism'. That means the roots of the problem aren't being challenged and effectively it gives the appearance that you are siding with the Islamic radicals in protecting their narrative, provided they don't voice that narrative too publicly, at least in English. In the meantime you persecute those questioning Islamic doctrines.

Restrictions against "hate speech" often do not really ban hate speech; instead they may actually be protecting certain forms of hate speech against legitimate inquiry.
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/why-laws-against-hate-speech-are-dangerous

Yes, we need the messages to have a basis in fact and for discourse to be civil, not necessarily respectful as respect has to be earned, whilst being open, plain speaking about the issue of what extremism is and its roots.

In denying that the ECHR and Council of Europe reports:
 

The reports by the Council for Europe do not discuss extremism and I wonder why you have drawn this to our attention.

clearly show the extremism inherent in sharia and challenging negative descriptions of Islamic teachings, you are closing down the debate in favour of protecting the image of Islam and the narrative of Islamic radicalism. That is effectively little different to even 'moderate' Muslim states like Malaysia prosecute people for “Insulting Islam”!

https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=tags/insulting-islam

 

The truth is that sharia or at least portions of it meet the criteria you have set out for defining hateful extremism and we will address why we believe that to be the case later.

Also, you suggest we approach other government departments in regard to those issues that stem from sharia courts and whilst those departments and NGOs do sterling work, they are treating the symptoms NOT the root causes which lie in sharia doctrines and their teaching!

You say:

“I urge you to consider the real-world consequences of promoting these divisive narratives”

Question:

What negative “real-world consequences” do you expect to flow from a key ECHR judgment summary and supporting evidence being propagated?

Your report said:

“Fundamentalists impose their version of religion as the only valid one and stifle dissent by discrediting alternative interpretations of scripture and forbidding diversity in religious tradition or practice.”

which appears to be based on this:

“In 2016, there were two brutal hate crimes – both were murders of Muslims by other Muslims. Asad Shah, from the minority Ahmadiyya community, was killed for blasphemy in Glasgow (Carell, 2016). Jalal Uddin, a Rochdale Imam, was killed for practicing a traditional, syncretic form of Islam such as is practiced by many of the ESOL students in my classes (Pilling, 2016). Intolerance of pluralism, diversity, and of different interpretations of religious texts is one of the hallmarks of fundamentalism. The state has no monopoly on ‘othering’.”
https://journals.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/feministdissent/index

Note the similarity between “intolerance of pluralism, diversity” from the above and the ECHR judgment summary:- “It [the court] considered that sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”

The key point here is that the ECHR refers to sharia and a regime based on sharia, there is NO MENTION of an extremist version of sharia which is assumed by too many people. That continues through the CoE report:

“In this study I shall be looking at the general principles of Sharia law in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights”

and resolution 2253 (adopted by the UK government):

“The Assembly recalls that the European Court of Human Rights has already stated in Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and others v. Turkey that the institution of Sharia law and a theocratic regime are incompatible with the requirements of a democratic society. The Assembly fully agrees that Sharia rules on, for example, divorce and inheritance proceedings are clearly incompatible with the Convention, in particular its Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex or religion, and Article 5 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention (ETS No. 117), which establishes equality between marital partners. Sharia law is also in contradiction with other provisions of the Convention and its additional protocols, including Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 12 (right to marry), Article 1 of the Protocol to the Convention (ETS No. 9) (protection of property) and Protocols Nos. 6 (ETS No. 114) and 13 (ETS No. 187) abolishing the death penalty.”

The evidence above gives lie to the fact that the ECHR and CoE reports are irrelevant to extremism!

 

Anecdotal evidence from observations in a classroom are not a sufficient basis for formulating public policy. Especially, the kind of policing of thought and speech type policy you aim to produce.

The major failing of many of the analysis papers you use to support your definition, so far as the debate around Islam is concerned, is that they conflate Islam as a set of ideas and people (Muslims). Something that you do in your reply to Sharia Watch UK when you equate criticism of Islamic texts and doctrines with criticising Muslims as a whole.

“Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.”
What a crucial point! The greatest barrier to dialogue is our failure to separate people from their ideas. When that happens, people become afraid to challenge bad ideas because they feel like they’re demeaning the person who holds them. But people are not their beliefs—they have beliefs, but they are not identical with their beliefs. That’s a vital distinction, which Sheen helps us see.
https://brandonvogt.com/fulton-sheen-need-intolerance/

By definition, claims that most Muslims believe X or Y or don't support Salafism etc. are largely irrelevant even if true. What matters is whether or not the written tenets of Islamic texts used by Salafis are plausible and authoritative interpretations of Islam. The reports we quote on sharia clearly show that they are not only plausible interpretations but that the Salafis are largely adhering to the “general principles of sharia” and hence Islam. Also as we have said, the view of Sharia Watch UK aligns with Dr Suurland's report:
 

"I have no doubt that the majority of people who identify themselves as Muslim do not wish to change every society into an Islamic society ruled by Shari’ah law. To many it seems ‘being a Muslim’ has more to do with their family, their traditions and customs of their country of origin than with Islam as a belief system. The question however, is whether or not these people are truly aware of the requirements posed on them and their societies by Shari’ah law. As the writer Sam Harris stated: “Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance."

 

More compelling evidence of Muslim views can be found in this analysis by the “Muslim Demographic Project” based on a very large-scale survey (circa 1Bn Muslims) carried out by the PEW Foundation (also referenced above). Although we need to note that the majority surveyed live in countries that are 50%+ Muslim. However, views do not automatically change when people cross the UK border and as a large number of imams in the UK have been trained outside the UK, it still provides a reasonable insight. Of particular note is:

“Security, Terrorism, and the Potential Threat to Western Culture
 Many Muslims reject basic universal rights and freedoms.
 A pre-scientific world view continues to inhibit Islamic historical and scientific inquiry.
 Very devout Muslims are likely to reject the legitimacy of Western laws and government.
 Converting non-Muslims and promoting sharia are religious imperatives (Q15).
 Intolerance of non-Muslims is widespread and continues to be taught.
 Terrorism can be religiously justified to defend the integrity and reputation of Islam.
 Over 100 million Muslims can justify acts of terrorism in the defense of Islam.”

The conclusion that “Intolerance of non-Muslims is widespread and continues to be taught” chimes with Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf's view:


“The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict. “

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YxaidYQyDm7SQBVmyFLf_aExhBItXx2a/view

There is no reason to assume that the UK is uniquely spared its quota of Islamic institutions still teaching those elements!

 

Here are two commentaries on the data from the Muslim Demographic Project:

“Though Muslims are evenly divided over the belief that there is only one interpretation of sharia, 64% (581 million) believe it is the revealed word of Allah, rather than a form of law developed by men and based on Allah’s word.  69% of Muslims (741.8 million) in the countries surveyed favor making sharia the official law of their country.”
https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/new-global-metric-muslim-beliefs-and-practices-william-dipuccio/
Dr Bill Warner (video):
https://www.politicalislam.com/it-depends-on-the-interpretation/

In the context of that data on the views of a very large number of Muslims, what Islamic texts on sharia actually say is of great significance and for you to dismiss out of hand reports by the ECHR and Council of Europe on the factual nitty-gritty of Islamic texts that summarise Islamic extremism, whilst relying on jargon laden anecdotal evidence to formulate a public policy that threatens free speech in the UK is dubious to say the least.

 

On the other side, the real world consequences of sharia are being felt by people everyday. In the UK, we get away relatively lightly in terms of jihad attacks compared to places like Nigeria although in many cases the application of sharia impacts women as you indirectly acknowledge and others in the UK. [Shafi'i manual of sharia:- "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion" - that opening sentence sets the principle for the chapter on jihad!]

Especially apostates eg:

Nissar Hussain, an apostate who was beaten with iron bars and required an armed police guard to collect the family belongings after being forced from their home!
https://www.britishpakistanichristians.org/blog/nissar-hussain
https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/update/2016-11-09/armed-police-help-persecuted-christian-family-flee-their-bradford-home/
Shafi'i manual of sharia:

o8.0 APOSTASY FROM ISLAM (RIDDA) (O: Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst. It may come about through sarcasm, as when someone is told, ``Trim your nails, it is sunna,'' and he replies, ``I would not do it even if it were,'' as opposed to when some circumstance exists which exonerates him of having committed apostasy, such as when his tongue runs away with him, or when he is quoting someone, or says it out of fear.) o8.1 When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed.
o1.2 The following are not subject to retaliation:
(2) a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim;
(3) a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (O: because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences);

 

Young Muslims who quit the faith 'live in fear of violent revenge': Support group says some have been warned they will be killed if they abandon their religion”
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3820690/Young-Muslims-quit-faith-live-fear-violent-revenge-Support-group-says-warned-killed-abandon-religion.html?ito=social-twitter_dailymailUK
“Another Christian who fled to the West from the Islamic world in search of religious freedom was attacked and beaten senseless by Muslim men angered by the crucifix hanging from his car's rearview mirror. Tajamal Amar awoke five hours later in a hospital with a broken nose and several lacerations to his head...I fled from Pakistan to escape violence such as this, but more and more the same violence is coming into Britain. Freedom of religion should be the right of any British citizen but today I feel unsafe..." — Tajamal Amar, Derby, England.
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12161/why-do-they-think-islam-is-a-religion-of-peace#.WtYMHSjbrgI
A sinister British Sharia court and one girl's tireless hunt for her father's killer: How a brutal murder in Pakistan uncovered revenge killings in Lancashire
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/sinister-british-sharia-court-and-one-girls-tireless-hunt-her-fathers-killer-how-brutal
Sharia being practiced in shop basements
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/01/sharia-law-being-administered-in-shop-basements-mps-told/
Sharia Patrols harassing people on the street:
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=tags/sharia-patrols
Pakistani Islamism – Flowing Into The UK:
Will the UK become another Pakistan? The definitive answer is yes. The only question is when. In November of 2017, Islamists from the Sufi school of Islam laid siege to Islamabad for three weeks on the issue of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat ("finality of the prophethood of Muhammad"), a belief that is part of Islamic shari'a's blasphemy laws. The ideas articulated by Islamists in Pakistan are being preached in British towns and Europe – publicly and in mass rallies, as discussed below. In an earlier article, I have defined Islam as a movement of ideas, Islamism as the peaceful methodology of Islam and jihadism as the weaponised version of Islamism.[1]
In recent decades, Ahmadi Muslims, pejoratively dismissed by clerics as Qadianis and persecuted by the Pakistani state and society, have found shelter in the UK. Ahmadi Muslims will be at the receiving end of Pakistani Islamism flowing into the UK because they are accused, inaccurately, by Islamists of not believing Muhammad to be the last prophet. Ahmadis do believe that Muhammad was the last prophet, but also argue, much like the Sufis do, that God talks to and mediates with mystics. However, the Islamists – Deobandis or Sufis – have determined that Ahmadis are guilty of blasphemy by not believing in Muhammad to be the last prophet.
Jamaat-e-Islami Official Tells Crowd In Birmingham: "Unless Nizam-e-Mustafa [The Prophet Muhammad's System Of Governance] Is Established... There Cannot Be Peace"
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/pakistani-islamism-flowing-uk

Online video recently translated by Memri via Jihad Watch:

"What are the chances that this man will exhort his followers to be loyal, stable, productive members of British society? Right, about nil.

“Allah says: ‘We will strike terror into the hearts of the infidels.’ ‘We will strike terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.” That’s from Qur’an 3:151 and 8:60."
https://www.jihadwatch.org/2020/02/uk-muslim-leader-allah-sent-islam-to-be-superior-over-democracy-over-capitalism-over-communism-over-secularism

When such sentiments are being preached and sharia courts are operating from shop basements etc. do we really have any idea what is happening?

 

We certainly recognise that questioning Islam as a belief-system will be an unsettling experience for many Muslims and that widespread dissemination of things like the ECHR/CoE reports will likely cause some increase in negative sentiment towards Islam-sharia and Muslims.

However, given that polls show that 56% of the population already have concerns regarding Islam, the impact of formally confirming what many people already know may be less than you might expect. The 44% that currently don't harbour concerns about Islam or are unsure are unlikely to suddenly change to outright hostility. Rather they may join the debate better acquainted with the facts.

That is why it would be much better done formally by an arm of government such as yourselves who have the resources to manage the presentation of the information, including explanations and background information in the broadcast media.

As Melanie Phillips said:

If we really are not to “go on like this”, the first thing that needs to happen is that this dishonesty must end and the truth must publicly be told.
The government should start saying what it has flinched from saying: that the west is the target of Islamic holy war.”

That echoes Douglas Murray from 2015:

"In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’... All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent."
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/religion-of-peace-is-not-a-harmless-platitude/

 

Further, the Commission formally recognising the ECHR judgment on sharia would help in building trust with that 56% of the population who harbour concerns regarding Islam and the others who are undecided. It would help to reduce frustrations, such those that apparently inspired Darren Osborne to commit the Finsbury Park mosque attack.

As you have said, part of your remit is to challenge government orthodoxy where appropriate and challenging the “nowt to do with Islam” mindset is, we believe, the best thing you could do to properly tackle extremism in the UK, certainly as it relates to the debates around jihad attacks and Islam.

 

As we said previously in our response to your Leeds speech, you quite rightly want to build trust in and between communities and groups and that is something that we all would like.

However, trust cannot be built on deception and evasion. As we have previously stated in our letter to you, the elephant in the room remains the unwillingness to address the nature of Islam and Islamic doctrines and the evidence we have provided from unimpeachable sources to support our assertions that there are solid grounds for concerns regarding Islam-sharia.

As this article on the Gatestone Institute site points out there is a stark choice facing us between ever stricter suppression of free speech and freedom to try and mute criticism of Islam as a belief system or facing the truth honestly:

“Muslims in Britain and other Western nations are free to spread teachings that are hateful towards non-Muslims. Yet because non-Muslims such as Robert Spencer pointed out that some teachings are hateful and have inspired actual atrocities, UK authorities banned Spencer for spreading "hate."
One sees, then, that restrictions against "hate speech" often do not really ban hate speech; instead they may actually be protecting certain forms of hate speech against legitimate inquiry.”

That article on free speech really is one that both the Commission and the government need to consider very carefully:- https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15256/hate-speech-laws

As the reports on police Operation Augusta against grooming gangs in Manchester and the admission by South Yorkshire police that they ignored grooming gangs for decades have recently shown, the results of such denial can be the protection of criminal activity against children as well.

Despite the best efforts of the media and politicians to bury these issues, they are still known about and they do not engender trust and honesty in either Islam  as a belief system nor in the public services in this country.

Two different police forces, same story and there must be suspicions that the same fears prevented police action in the Sunderland case study in your report!

“A senior police officer admitted that his force ignored the sexual abuse of girls by Pakistani grooming gangs for decades because it was afraid of increasing “racial tensions”, a watchdog has ruled.”
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/rotherham-police-chief-we-ignored-sex-abuse-children
“The report added that officers were aware of many community issues around policing in South Manchester in 2002 and 2003.   It would appear the fear of race relations and community cohesion were seemingly more important issues than upholding the rule of law and providing protection to young vulnerable girls.”
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/manchester-grooming-gang-scandal-young-girls-groomed-plain-sight
" There was an educational issue – Asian males didn’t understand that it was wrong, and the girls were not quite there. They were difficult groups to deal with. We can’t enforce our way out of the problem.” - Constable B
https://shariawatch.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloadFiles/operation_augusta_january_2020_digital_final.pdf

This professor also makes the valid point:‘Hurling labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate.’

“What those of us in academia should certainly not do is engage in unreasoned speech: hurling slurs and epithets, name-calling, vilification and mindless labeling. Likewise, we should not reject the views of others without providing reasoned arguments. Yet these once common standards of practice have been violated repeatedly at my own and at other academic institutions in recent years, and we increasingly see this trend in society as well.
One might respond that unreasoned slurs and outright condemnations are also speech and must be defended. My recent experience has caused me to rethink this position. In debating others, we should have higher standards. Of course one has the right to hurl labels like “racist,” “sexist” and “xenophobic”—but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Hurling such labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify or educate. Indeed, it undermines these goals by discouraging or stifling dissent.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-cant-be-debated-on-campus-1518792717#click=https://t.co/rEmRMjIwWK

That is as true for labels like “hateful extremism” as “Islamophobe” or “racist” etc. Evidence based truth CANNOT BE considered hate speech. To do so is to enter a Kafkaesque world.

To sum up, trust is best built by talking openly about issues in our opinion but the problem is that no one in authority wants to talk about these issues!


The Sharia Watch view is:- “It seems that the climate of fear Islamic threats and jihad engenders causes politicians, police and journalists to surrender rather than face any possible confrontation between the values of Islam and our own.”

 

Also, to be perfectly frank, Sir-Humphryesque obtuseness in saying that because the reports we quoted didn't use the term “extremism”, therefore they have nothing to do with extremism doesn't engender confidence in impartiality or that the Commission are really listening to all voices in this debate.

Question:

Given the above, do the Commission recognise:

  1. The extremist nature of sharia clearly documented in the ECHR and Council of Europe reports? Given that the ECHR upheld the banning of a political party because of the nature of sharia, the exposition of the likely nature of a regime based on sharia shown in the Hizb ut-Tahrir draft constitution and the subsequent analysis of the general principles of sharia plus the evidence of what the Shafi'i manual of sharia actually says we feel that any rejection of that view must be accompanied by a significant body of evidence that would prove that initial judgment by the ECHR to be incorrect.
  2. The immense harm being done around the world by sharia and the extremism that sharia creates?

 

Sharia doctrines such as those against apostasy and blasphemy have very real-world consequences all around the world, including the UK and Europe.

https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=tags/apostasy

https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=tags/blasphemy

Consider the cases of Nissar Hussain quoted above or Salman Rushdie and Geert Wilders having to live under armed protection. As do people connected with the Danish cartoons and the remains of the Charlie Hebdo magazine staff. The Charlie Hebdo attack was also inspired by the example of Muhammad who had several people killed for mocking him according to hadiths generally considered reliable.

https://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/dead_poets.htm
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/misled-and-misleading-western-leaders-response-charlie-hebdo-murders

https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=search/node/hebdo

One of the people associated with the Danish cartoons:


“just this past October [2018], Norwegian police filed charges in the shooting of William Nygaard, the publisher of the Norwegian edition, who was left for dead outside his home (but survived)”
https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/02/14/the-chilling-legacy-of-the-rushdie-affair/

Similarly, the UK government felt unable to offer Asia Bibi sanctuary here following her 10 year ordeal due to the probable threat to her life here! We note the Commission did urge the government to offer her sanctuary, a move that we applaud, but could you put your hand on your heart and say she would have been free to live here undisturbed?
https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/abandonment-asia-bibi

 

Your report in October mentioned various YouTube videos etc. by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon as inspiring 'hateful extremism'. However, we contend that the teaching of sharia is far more damaging. If the Commission is to look at the videos etc. produced by SYL, to be impartial it must also look at Islamic texts, in particular sharia as highlighted in the reports by the ECHR and Council of Europe.

Public content such as the counter-jihad narrative can be and generally is challenged by those with different views. The teaching of sharia in madrassa and Islamic faith schools is far less likely to be questioned. I know from hearing of the experience of ex-Muslim relatives forced to attend madrassa when young that questions were not encouraged.

We did ask you specifically in our original letter:

 

Question:

Does the commission agree with Council of Europe resolution 2253 of January 2019 to which the UK government is a signatory?

http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=25353

In particular the following statements:

“The Assembly considers that the various Islamic declarations on human rights, adopted since the 1980s, while being more religious than legal, fail to reconcile Islam with universal human rights, especially insofar as Sharia is their unique source of reference.”

The request in paragraph 7 asking Greece to “to abolish the application of Sharia law in Thrace”? Although this is outside the UK and your remit, we are asking specifically because Sharia Watch would like to see both the teaching and application of sharia law banned in the UK.

 

Your response ignored those questions and tries to say that sharia has nothing to do with extremism despite the implementation of sharia being the aim of all Islamic jihadi groups.

“The reports by the Council for Europe do not discuss extremism and I wonder why you have drawn this to our attention.”

That is an very disingenuous statement because in fact. both the ECHR judgment summary and the Council of Europe report do discuss extremism as is obvious from the examples we have quoted. That is implicit in their highlighting the clearly extremist nature of sharia although they don't use that word.

A belief system such as sharia that is incompatible with democracy and human rights must be regarded as extreme, especially when the primary aim of all jihadist groups is to implement sharia law. It must be stressed again that both the ECHR and Council of Europe only refer to sharia not some extremist version of sharia.

That is something that is common to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, BokoHaram, al-Shabab etc. For example, this case before the ECHR concerning Hizb ut-Tahrir and the evidence presented to the court:

“One witness also stated that the first applicant had advocated the establishment of sharia on the territory of Russia....They also rejected democratic principles as incompatible with the rules of sharia    https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/case-kasymakhunov-and-saybatalov-v-russia 

See the draft constitution of Hizb ut-Tahrir below for details of how the Shariah discriminates against non-Muslims.

Council of Europe report:

“non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal [sharia] law, “
http://www.assembly.coe.int/Committee/JUR/ajdoc282016.pdf

Extremism doesn't exist purely in words/actions by individuals but it can also be part of a belief system such as sharia as the literature from Hizb ut-Tahrir very clearly shows.

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-117127

Either that organisation and jihadi groups plus al-Azhar university scholars etc have totally misunderstood sharia or sharia as a belief/legal system is extreme.

 

Question:

If you believe that these Islamic jihadi groups are misunderstanding Sharia in the way they implement it, then please can you provide us with solid evidence to that effect?

Evidence that disproves what the ECHR and Council of Europe have said about how the general principles of sharia are in contravention of human rights!

 

Also, the nature of sharia is something we will address later in regard to your definition of hateful extremism.

It was the nature of sharia that led the ECHR to uphold the banning of the political party Refah Partisi in Turkey, which we trust you will agree was an extremely serious ruling for that court to make.

 

Thus the ideology behind Islamic extremism is, in our view, far more important than the individual acts which are merely symptoms as David Cameron pointed out in this paper:

“We know that terrorism is really a symptom; ideology is the root cause.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470088/51859_Cm9148_Accessible.pdf

Sharia is the ideology and is a key component in defining Islamic extremism, as Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf has said:


“The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.”
http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/yahya-cholil-staquf/how-can-muslims-and-non-muslims-together--prevent-another-atrocity-like-the-one-in-christchurch?/d/118127

 

Next, your statement:

“I am concerned about Sharia Watch’s reductive characterisation of sharia and of Muslims. Portraying them as a monolithic and extremist community is dangerous and can be interpreted as amplifying hatred against Muslims ”.

We do not believe Sharia Watch has characterised Muslims as you claim nor amplified hatred against Muslims and our focus has always been on the Islamic belief system, not on Muslims as individuals.

The key phrase you use is “can be interpreted” which is nothing more than your opinion. To repeat, we are concerned with Islamic doctrines, and you are simply disagreeing with our opinion and that of many other people e.g.

Melanie Phillips etc. [links above]:

“Moreover, anyone who points out that Islamic terrorism is part of a holy war being waged against both the west and the not-Islamic-enough Muslim world is denounced for “Islamophobia”.

Douglas Murray:

"In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’... All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent."
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/01/religion-of-peace-is-not-a-harmless-platitude/

Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf:

The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.
http://newageislam.com/current-affairs/yahya-cholil-staquf/how-can-muslims-and-non-muslims-together--prevent-another-atrocity-like-the-one-in-christchurch?/d/118127

Attempts to criminalise people for holding a different opinion to your own or indeed the current government orthodoxy is a very dangerous and slippery slope. As we stated in our initial letter:


Reading your report, one wonders whether the real aim is combating extremism or suppressing dissent, particularly in regard to Islam.
Question:
As you are now questioning the integrity of Sharia Watch by claiming that:

" Portraying them as a monolithic and extremist community is dangerous and can be interpreted as amplifying hatred against Muslims "
we repeat the questions in our initial letter in that context because those reports are the keystone of the Sharia Watch UK's case against sharia in which we are questioning the ideology of Islam. The reports we quote clearly show that the general principles of sharia are extreme and as the implementation of sharia is the primary aim of all jihad groups, that is further evidence that sharia and extremism are inextricably linked!

 

    Does the commission agree with the 2003 ECHR judgment summary here?


    ECHR Judgment Summary: "sharia law is incompatible with democracy and human rights"

    Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.

    Source: “Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe”
    http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Annual_report_2003_ENG.pdf
    https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/echr-judgement-relating-sharia-law-2003

    Does the commission acknowledge that, given the 2003 ECHR judgment summary and the 2016 Council of Europe report below which clearly refers to “looking at the general principles of Sharia law “, that sharia law is clearly extremist and incompatible with British values?

       

      Does the commission agree with this 2016 report by the Council of Europe, especially paragraphs 12 to 15? http://www.assembly.coe.int/Committee/JUR/ajdoc282016.pdf

         

          Does the commission agree with Council of Europe resolution 2253 of January 2019 to which the UK government is a signatory? In particular the following statements:

          The Assembly considers that the various Islamic declarations on human rights, adopted since the 1980s, while being more religious than legal, fail to reconcile Islam with universal human rights, especially insofar as Sharia is their unique source of reference.”

          “The Assembly is also greatly concerned about the fact that Sharia law – including provisions which are in clear contradiction with the Convention – is applied, either officially or unofficially, in several Council of Europe member States, or parts thereof. “

          The request in paragraph 7 asking Greece to “to abolish the application of Sharia law in Thrace”? Although this is outside the UK and your remit, we are asking specifically because Sharia Watch would like to see both the teaching and application of sharia law banned in the UK.

          Also paragraph 8, especially “The Assembly is also concerned about the “judicial” activities of “Sharia councils” in the United Kingdom.”. Are the commission equally concerned about the “judicial” activities of “Sharia councils” in the UK given the 2003 ECHR judgment summary and subsequent follow-up quoted above?
          http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=25353

            It is notable that the Commission has singularly failed to answer ANY of the above questions, merely directing us to other government departments.

            Unless the truth, as expressed in the reports by international bodies, regarding Islamic texts and doctrines is to be described as 'hateful extremism', it is difficult to see how you can justify your assertion that “Portraying them as a monolithic and extremist community is dangerous and can be interpreted as amplifying hatred against Muslims” since Sharia Watch UK is talking about the doctrines of Islam and not the Muslim demographic.

            Further, criticism of Islam as a belief system cannot and should not be muted just because it might reflect badly on Muslims, just as criticism of the BNP, the Conservatives etc. should not be muted because it might reflect poorly on members of those organisations. Following Islam is a choice people make, it isn't a trait determined by their genes.

            To further clarify, the content on Sharia Watch UK consists of two layers, the Key-Documents which form the backbone of our case that the criminal and political components of sharia are extremist in their nature and totally at odds with British values. The second layer consists of supporting evidence from a wide variety of sources, quite a few of whom are ex-Muslims and in a few cases practicing Muslims.

            Our position can be stated as:
             

            “We believe that religious faith is a purely personal matter. As soon as it begins to impact in any way on other people it moves into the realm of politics.”


            This quote from an academic counter-terrorism paper produced in 2011 aligns well with our beliefs regarding Muslims as individuals and is a reasonable summation of our position.

            “When I began debates about Islam and Shari’ah with my Muslims students I found the same pattern; a general and severe lack of knowledge, but unlike Catholics, a deep identification with Islam as the founding principle of their identity and the object of their loyalty. Perhaps this is due to their experience as a migrant, but research indicates this is a universal element in Muslims attitude towards religion. I have no doubt that the majority of people who identify themselves as Muslim do not wish to change every society into an Islamic society ruled by Shari’ah law. To many it seems ‘being a Muslim’ has more to do with their family, their traditions and customs of their country of origin than with Islam as a belief system. The question however, is whether or not these people are truly aware of the requirements posed on them and their societies by Shari’ah law. As the writer Sam Harris stated:
            Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance."
            Whilst this paper will not be able to answer this question, it will show that there is a large section of Islamic thinkers who would agree with this statement and which hold that the majority of the Islamic world is essentially in a state of unbelief, thereby pointing to the divide between the experience of religion and the actual principals and requirements of that religion.....
            One should not want to criminalize thought or pacifistic religious expressions. These are guarded by the applicable UN and European human rights charters and guarantee Muslims the same freedoms as Christians and Jews whose history has far deeper roots in western society. And herein lies a problem. Christianity and Judaism, for an abundance of reasons, have been ‘pacified’. They are part and parcel of Western culture and as such form an integral and constituting part of its legal traditions that have spawned these human rights treaties and civil and political liberties. Yet, some choose to view Islam on an equal footing. All good intentions aside one should be very careful in asserting or accepting a priori that Islam is Christianity or Judaism by another name. It is not. Islam has its own legal tradition and the argument brought forth by the very same radicals that fund mosques, schools and Da’wa institutes in these western societies under the protection of said liberties is precisely this inequality. To these organizations, radical Islam has been watered down, corrupted and weakened by successive generations of emir’s and ullema, who sought to accommodate Islam to the demands of reality, to the demands of empire or to the demands of modern multicultural tolerance and inter-faith dialogue. As the National-Socialist and Stalinist before them, the radicals claim a monopoly on truth and engage in a program bent on purging their truth of all corrupting influences and subjugating the world to that truth. In that sense I truly feel that radical Islam is not a novel phenomenon but a repetition of the totalitarian mass movements of the 20th century and should thus be accorded the same treatment. In the same vein as western societies have developed laws and jurisprudence against Neo-Nazi or Stalinist organizations and propaganda, so too should this be done with the Qutbist Da’wa organizations and the message they expound.”
            https://www.academia.edu/727796/A_genealogy_of_radical_Islamic_theory_and_practice_in_Terrorism_Ideology_Law_and_Policy_A._Ellian_et_al_Dordrecht_Republic_of_Letters_2011?auto=download
            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/genealogy-radical-islamic-theory-and-practice

             

            Neither, we believe, has Sharia Watch “reductively characterised sharia” rather our Key-Documents have reflected the assessments of Islam-sharia as a belief system from the ECHR, Council of Europe, Islamic scholars (Yahya Cholil Staquf in particular) and the Shafi'i manual of sharia law.

            You may view those reports as reductive because they have clearly identified very serious issues with Islam-sharia as a belief system and succinctly expressed those issues in forthright terms. However, Sharia Watch UK is not responsible for the content of any those reports nor anyone having a perception that they are reductive in nature. If you believe those reports to be an inaccurate representation of sharia or Islam, we can only suggest that you address your concerns to the bodies that produced the reports. Sharia Watch UK would also be extremely interested to see any such concerns.

             

            Regarding the Shafi'i manual of sharia which we quote because the Shafi'i school is followed by circa 30% of Sunni Muslims and it is the best translation we have found, that translation and the contents were certified in 1991 by al-Azhar university as:

            we certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community”

            That manual states:

            • Apostates should be killed

            • Sodomy and adultery are punishable by death by stoning

            • Theft by amputation of the right hand and left foot for a 2nd offence

            • “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion”

            • It discriminates against non-Muslims in various ways.

             

            From the Muslim Demographic Project:

            Is there one interpretation of sharia as many Muslims believe? The four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali) agree in about 75% of their rulings. The remaining variances are “traceable to methodological differences.” So, in a broad, historical sense, one can speak of a single interpretation of sharia which has changed little since the Early Middle Ages.
            Reliance of the Traveler, trans. by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Amana Publications, 1991), vii. The endorsement pages of this translation (xiv-xxi) give added weight to the belief that there is one, Sunni interpretation. Reliance is endorsed by the International Institute of Islamic Thought, and certified by the highly respected, al-Azhar, Islamic Research Academy: “we certify that the above-mentioned translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community”
            https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YxaidYQyDm7SQBVmyFLf_aExhBItXx2a/view

            Lawyers from ECLJ:

            Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest and most historically coherent definition it is considered the infallible law of God as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws. [" If Islam “ordained a law” (Surah 5, verse 48) to every Muslim and “assigned a path” (id.) is sharia, then sharia becomes something consubstantial to Islam. A Muslim may not be a good Muslim if he does not apply the Sharia."] https://eclj.org/religious-freedom/pace/la-charia-est-elle-compatible-avec-les-droits-de-lhomme-

            Sharia Watch UK do endorse the view that there is a high degree of conformity across Sunni Islam in the interpretation of sharia and in the general principles of sharia [see Council of Europe report], however, to be clear, we do not see Muslims as a monolithic body and we cite several Muslims as part of our case against sharia. As previously stated:

            Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance."

            Some examples from Sharia Watch UK are:

            Maajid Nawaz:

            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=VideosByAuthor&field_author_taxonomy__tid=186

             

            New Age Islam:

            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=taxonomy/term/1297

             

            Muslim Debate Initiative:

            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=authors/muslim-debate-initiative

             

            Muslim Women's Network:
            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=authors/mwnuk

            Other:

            https://barnabasfund.org/en/news/worlds-largest-islamic-organisation-drops-legal-category-of-%E2%80%9Cinfidel%E2%80%9D-in-historic-decision

            http://www.sedaa.org/2017/10/the-burden-of-reform-and-why-we-do-it/

            https://quillette.com/2018/07/28/liberals-have-compromised-on-their-own-values-an-interview-with-ali-a-rizvi/

            “"Where does extremism come from? People, we must admit -- as our president has often said -- that there are elements in our books of heritage that incite to this. We must admit this." — Dr. Khaled Montaser”

            https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12341/khaled-montaser

            https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10629/germany-liberal-islam

            Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack, and the future of Britain’s struggle against radical Islamic terrorism.

            https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2017/06/08/zuhdi-jasser-political-islams-goal-evangelize-defeat-non-muslim-states/

            “Progress can never be made if we can't satirise Islam, says Maajid Nawaz.“

            https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/maajid-nawaz/reason-why-we-need-blasphemy/

            Question:

            In view of the above, we would like you to expand please on your concerns and state exactly why you view Sharia Watch UK in the manner stated in your letter?

             

            Next, your statement:

            “We stand by the inclusion of Anne Marie Waters’ words in our report.”

            The reports from the ECHR and Council of Europe are clearly relevant in showing, in part, how Islamic teachings demean women which is a factor in establishing the truth behind the statement:

            “Islam teaches these men that women are nothing and that they can beat and abuse them at will. They come here en masse and they do the same to us.”

            We are therefore reissuing the evidence we originally put in our response to your speech in Leeds on 5th November 2019:

            Your case study – Sunderland:

            The commission classes “Islam teaches these men that women are nothing and that they can beat and abuse them at will...” as 'hateful extremism', therefore we need to look at the evidence behind the original statement because we believe it to be a simple statement of the truth. This is something the commission have conspicuously failed to do. In particular verse 33:59 (Sahih translation):

            O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

            The implication of "they will be known and not be abused" being that Muslim women will be known by their mode of dress, whilst non-Muslim women who aren't dressed in an Islamic manner are open to 'being abused'!

            The author has little personal knowledge of the case in Sunderland so cannot comment on the specifics of that particular case but the wider narrative behind it is of some Muslim men abusing women. That has been noted in some of the more honest media outlets e.g. Daily Telegraph:

            “Men of Pakistani heritage treated white girls like toilet paper.”

            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11059138/Rotherham-In-the-face-of-such-evil-who-is-the-racist-now.html


            The logic behind your current approach would suggest that you class the Daily Telegraph and the columnist as 'far right' based on that commentary. To some extent we would class the comment as dubious because it refers to “Pakistani heritage” and not to predominantly Muslim men who happen to be of Pakistani heritage in the UK. Similar problems elsewhere in Europe have occurred with Muslim men of Arab and North African heritage.

            This quote from a court case illustrates the problem:

            was taught that women were "worthless" at the Islamic faith school he attended, also claiming that he was not aware it was illegal for him to have sex with a child because his education had left him 'ignorant' to British law.
            https://neonnettle.com/news/3675-pedophile-who-raped-girl-spared-jail-my-religion-doesn-t-condemn-child-sex-
            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268395/Adil-Rashid-Paedophile-claimed-Muslim-upbringing-meant-didnt-know-illegal-sex-girl-13.html

            Report on Operation Augusta:

            There was an educational issue – Asian males didn’t understand that it was wrong, and the girls were not quite there. They were difficult groups to deal with. We can’t enforce our way out of the problem.” -Constable B
            https://shariawatch.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloadFiles/operation_augusta_january_2020_digital_final.pdf

            Another incident, small but telling! These men are getting their ideas from the teachings of sharia: - Council of Europe - "In Islamic family law, men have authority over women"

            “Austria: Kosovar at police check says ‘I do not talk to women, they have no rights,'” translated from “Österreich: Kosovare bei Polizeikontrolle ‘Ich rede nicht mit Frauen, die haben keine Rechte,'” PolitikStube, December 4, 2019 (thanks to Searchlight Germany):
            https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/12/austria-muslim-migrant-at-police-check-says-i-do-not-talk-to-women-they-have-no-rights
            https://politikstube.com/oesterreich-kosovare-bei-polizeikontrolle-ich-rede-nicht-mit-frauen-die-haben-keine-rechte/

            The kidnap and forced conversion of non-Muslim girls is a regular occurrence, particularly in Pakistan but also in other places within the Islamic world (e.g. Chibok girls):

            “according to Aurat Foundation, around 1,000 women and young girls from religious minorities in Pakistan are forced to convert to the religion of the majority [Islam] and marry their kidnappers every year. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believes that more than 20 Hindu girls are kidnapped every month. “
            https://tribune.com.pk/story/2079363/6-bill-forced-conversion/
            https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=tags/forced-conversion

            The connection between Islamic doctrines and CSE/attitudes to women is briefly discussed here: https://shariawatch.org.uk/?q=content/link-between-cse-and-sharia-law

            Then there is the report by the Council of Europe quoted in our initial letter:

            In this study I shall be looking at the general principles of Sharia law in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights...

            In Islamic family law, men have authority over women.Surah4:34 states: ‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.’While wives clearly have a duty of fidelity, husbands do not. In Sharia law, adultery is strictly prohibited. Legal doctrine holds that the evidence must take the form of corroborating testimony from four witnesses to prove an individual’s guilt. These witnesses must be men of good repute and good Muslims. The punishment is severe and degrading, namely ‘a hundred lashes’. In the case of rape, which is seldom committed in public before four male witnesses who are good Muslims, punishing the rapist is difficult if not impossible. In practice, this obliges women to be accompanied by men when they go out and is not conducive to their independence. While divorce by mutual consent is enshrined in Islamic law,18 the application has to come from the wife, since the husband can repudiate his wife at any time. There is also the question of equal rights with regard to divorce arrangements such as custody of children.
            http://www.assembly.coe.int/Committee/JUR/ajdoc282016.pdf
            The ECHR judgment expressing concerns regarding: “its [sharia] rules on the legal status of women”
            http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Annual_report_2003_ENG.pdf
            Council of Europe resolution 2253:
            The Assembly denounces in particular the fact that in divorce and inheritance proceedings – two key areas over which muftis have jurisdiction – women are at a distinct disadvantage.
            The Assembly is also concerned about the “judicial” activities of “Sharia councils” in the United Kingdom. Although they are not considered part of the British legal system, Sharia councils attempt to provide a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby members of the Muslim community, sometimes voluntarily, often under considerable social pressure, accept their religious jurisdiction mainly in marital issues and Islamic divorce proceedings but also in matters relating to inheritance and Islamic commercial contracts. The Assembly is concerned that the rulings of the Sharia councils clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases.
            http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=25353&lang=en

             References in the Quran:

            Does Islam teach that a woman is worth less than a man? Absolutely. The only debatable point is by what degree.
            Quran (4:11) - (Inheritance) "The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females" (see also verse 4:176).
            In Islam, sexism is mathematically established.
            Quran (2:282) - (Court testimony) "And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not found then a man and two women."
            Muslim apologists offer creative explanations to explain why Allah felt that a man's testimony in court should be valued twice as highly as a woman's, but studies consistently show that women are actually less likely to tell lies than men, meaning that they make more reliable witnesses.
            Quran (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them [women]"
            This is often taken to mean authority or responsibility - although it is not literally in the Arabic text.
            Quran (5:6) - "And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it"
            Men are to rub dirt or water on their hands to purify themselves, following casual contact with a woman (such as shaking hands).
            Quran (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will..."
            A man has dominion over his wives' bodies as he does his land. This verse is overtly sexual. There is some dispute as to whether it is referring to the practice of anal intercourse. If this is what Muhammad meant, then it would appear to contradict what he said in Muslim (8:3365).
            Quran (4:3) - (Wife-to-husband ratio) "Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four"
            Inequality by numbers.
            Quran (53:27) - "Those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names."
            Angels are sublime beings, and would therefore be male.
            Quran (4:24) and Quran (33:50) -
            ”And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.”
            “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.”
            A man is permitted to take women as sex slaves outside of marriage. Note that the verse distinguishes wives from captives (those whom their right hand possesses). [Verse 33:50 also provides a convenient exemption for Muhammad!!!]
            https://thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/women-worth-less.aspx

             The last point on Quranic verses 4:24 and 33:50 is echoed in the Shafi'i manual of sharia law:
             

            K32.1 Women and children of the land that has been conquered are considered booty of the war and they are considered slaves. Everything belongs to the Imam first and after he takes a fifth of the booty the rest is given to the soldiers who were involved in the war. If the slave becomes a Muslim this conversion does not set him free and he will stay a slave. Captivity is the absolute consequence of Muslims war with non-Muslims and is not exclusive to elementary Jihad or defensive Jihad, even in the presence of the prophet or Imam and with their permission. If Jihad was done without the permission of prophet or Imam, all the booty is given to the Imam.
            K32.3 The master who owns a woman slave can use her in any way for his sexual pleasure; he can marry her if he wants. In intercourse the satisfaction of the female slave is not important at all. The female slave does not have to be Muslim convert. Even if she is pagan the sexual intercourse is Halal (permissible). A female Muslim is not allowed to have sexual relation with her slave without marriage. The male slaves are considered “mahram (impermissible, taboo)”.  The Koran has emphasized this point. The Mola (Master) not only has the right to marry his female slave without her consent but he is also allowed to lend her to another man without her consent to have sexual intercourse without marriage. He also has the authority to marry her to one of his male slaves.
            https://mdharrismd.com/2015/03/03/translation-of-the-manual-of-islamic-sacred-law/
            Similarly from the Maliki school of sharia:
            32.6b. Women of the People of the Book It is halal to have sexual intercourse with women of the People of the Book if you own them as slaves or are married to any of their free women, but it is not halal for either a free man or a slave to have sexual intercourse with slave girls from among the people of the Book through marriage to them.
            [This is based on the ayat of Allah, "or what your right hands own." We read in adh-Dhakira that because the People of the Book have been honoured by the Book and addressed by the Almighty Lord, their women and food are permitted. Others lack this honour by their deprival. It is reported from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that it is not permitted to marry a free Kitabi woman by evidence of the ayat of al-Baqara. He says, "There is no shirk greater than her statement that her Lord is 'Isa."]
            https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/The%20Risala%20-%20A%20Treatise%20on%20Maliki%20Fiqh.pdf

            The above, being part of the Quran and sharia law, is being reflected in at least some mosques in the UK:

            "Yes, boys, you CAN have sex slaves: Outrage as British Muslim cleric at mosque where Cardiff jihadis were radicalised tells teenagers that 'captives' are permissible under Islam in vile sermon"
            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3716280/Yes-boys-sex-slaves-Outrage-British-Muslim-cleric-mosque-Cardiff-jihadis-radicalised-tells-teenagers-captives-permissible-Islam.html

            Reflect on the above in the context of how ISIS treated the Yazidi people! Also, the Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram! Summing up the above in a speech or a tweet as “Islam teaches these men that women are nothing and that they can beat and abuse them at will...” is hardly extremism, more a reflection of a reality that too many wish to ignore. As Scruton said:

            “good philosophy is sceptical, with nothing to recommend it besides its truth, which is also its most depressing feature.”

             

            Finally we believe that Sharia meets your definition of "hateful extremism":

            Your definition of hateful extremism:

            “Behaviours that can incite and amplify hate, or engage in persistent hatred, or equivocate about or make the moral case for violence...That draw on hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group, and that cause or are likely to cause harm.”

            Question:

            Given the above on the clear way the manual of Shafi'i sharia law sanctions some of the most brutal acts of ISIS against the Yazidi people in the rape and enslavement of women and children and Boko Haram in the case of the Chibok girls plus the points below would the commission agree that sharia law does meet your definition of hateful extremism?

             

            Islamic scholar Yahya Cholil Staquf: “This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.” ["hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group" plus the aim of establishing a Caliphate is likely to require violence to achieve that goal.]
            https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/24/prevent-another-christchurch-islam-must-confront-attacks-name/
            Also available in this PDF: https://www.baytarrahmah.org/media/2019/telegraph_prevent-another-christchurch-islam-must-confront-attacks-name_03-25-19.pdf
            Abstract of an academic paper:

            "This work argues that Islamic law is not simply a collection of religious precepts and rules, but a comprehensive legal system styled to preserve the interests of Muslims ["hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group" - that is discriminate against non-Muslims] and to regulate their relations with the rest of the world in times of peace and war. In the light of Qur’anic injunctions, Prophetic tradition, and the doctrine of jihād ["make the moral case for violence" - see Shafi'i manual of sharia  below], Muslim jurists unanimously agree on the permissibility of concluding peace treaties with the enemy.  They also consent to diplomatic, commercial, and political ties with non-Muslim States, in order to protect the public interest of Muslims, whether they live in dār al-Islām, under Islamic dominion, or in other territories. These relations could be classified under so-called Islamic theory of international relations, in the modern sense of the term, namely: (a) al-mu‘āhadāt (treaties), which include al-amān (safe-conduct); al-hudna (armistice); and al-dhimma (pact, security); (b) al-mu‘āmala bil-mithl (reciprocity); (c) al-tahkīm (arbitration); (d) al-hiyād (neutrality); (e) tabādul al-wufūd wal-safārāt (diplomatic exchange); and (f) al-tijāra al-Khārijiyya (foreign trade). The implication of this theory will be the object of analysis in this work."
            https://www.academia.edu/13903139/Jihad_and_International_Relations?auto=download

            Council of Europe:

            "non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal [sharia] law, which is discrimination on the ground of religion within the meaning of Article 14 of the Convention." ["hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group" - that is discriminate against non-Muslims]
            http://www.assembly.coe.int/Committee/JUR/ajdoc282016.pdf

            Manual of Sharia (The Reliance of the Traveller/Umdat al-Salik):

            Your report already defines one aspect of sharia as hateful extremism. That is "non-Muslims must step out of the way of Muslims" which is expressed in the Shafi'i manual of sharia as "must keep to the side of the street;"

            o11.5 Such non-Muslim subjects are obliged to comply with Islamic rules that pertain to the safety and indemnity of life, reputation, and property. In addition, they:
            (1) are penalized for committing adultery or theft, thought not for drunkenness;
            (2) are distinguished from Muslims in dress, wearing a wide cloth belt (zunnar); [Is this requirement any different to the Star of David the Nazis required Jews to wear?]
            (3) are not greeted with "as-Salamu 'alaykum";
            (4) must keep to the side of the street; [= "step out of the way of Muslims"]
            (5) may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims' buildings, though if they acquire a tall house, it is not razed;
            (6) are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, (A: to ring church bells or display crosses,) recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public display of their funerals and feastdays;
            (7) and are forbidden to build new churches.

            Other aspects in that manual include non-Muslims should not look after Muslim children and the chapter on jihad which opens with:-

            "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion"  [That statement as the opening principle of the sharia manual chapter on sharia speaks for itself!]
            https://umdatalsalik.wordpress.com/186-2/

            The current PM, Boris Johnson has already branded sharia as "absolutely unacceptable in the UK".

            Sharia being implemented in prisons:

            Islamist extremists are presiding over Sharia trials, pledges of allegiance to ISIS and dishing out punishment beatings in UK jails, an ex-inmate has revealed. [Extremism flourishing in prisons]
            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7820353/Extremists-holding-Sharia-law-trials-prisoners-inside-British-jails-former-inmate-claims.html

            The key point here is that implementing sharia is the aim of all jihadi groups. That they continue to do that in prisons should be no surprise.

            Report by Danish Professor on lack of Islamic integration:

            ["hateful, hostile or supremacist beliefs directed at an out-group" - that is against non-Muslims]

            In the new report, Akkari (quoting Aarhus University professor of political science Mehdi Mozzafari) defines Islamism as the “religiously based ideology, which contains a totalitarian interpretation of Islam that seeks to conquer the world.” Akkari suggests that traditionalist interpretations of Islam wield a monopoly of power over Muslims. This monopoly prevents them from integrating into Western societies, because it prevents them from thinking and acting freely concerning Islam. Akkari writes:

            “Here my point is that Islam has never fully assimilated into any society and that Muslims have never fully adapted into non-Muslim cultures. With an increasing number of Muslims in the West, this will end in conflict.
            [Continued manifestation of the in-group and out-group mentality which this report attributes to Islam-sharia!]
            “Most conflicts result from Islamism’s control of the definition of ‘what it means to be Muslim’… Many Muslims do not really use the mosques in their daily lives and do not listen… to the imam’s advice and guidance. These are Muslims of culture and of background. Although they are many, they are unable to influence understanding or interpretation because cultural Muslims are not legitimate…
            “Islamism works against cohesion with the West — also when it preaches understanding and democracy — and it produces a counter-pressure that shows itself in terrorism, gangs and politicized groups. It shows itself in cynical speculation of influencing political power, not because it accepts democratic life, but because it thereby attempts to become strong enough to overcome it…
            “The problem with the Muslim minority in the West… is that it dare not be independent, when it comes to religious issues… because the strong religious and cultural elite governs… and posits itself as self-elected representatives of Muslims”.

            The other challenge, writes Akkari, is that:

            “As Islamists influence Western Muslim circles, Western political parties engage with them to win more votes, and therefore make unfortunate alliances with forces that really… reject the established system…The dilemma is that by seeking Islamist votes they allow those who wish… Denmark to become Islamized to be strengthened… the same sort of dilemma as if one sought the votes of a neo-Nazi, fascist or Stalinist group”.

            Akkari blames Islamism for the failure of Muslims to integrate into Western societies.

            “Islamism works against integration of Muslims with its active proselytizing and because Islamism with its palette of more or less fanatical and extremist groups creates a tumor in public society”. [See Suurland on the totalitarian (akin to Nazism or Communism) nature of “Qutbist Da’wa organizations and the message they expound”]

            Akkari stresses that Islamism should not be confused with Islam or Muslims in general. He names Islamist mosques in Denmark as a significant problem that works against integration.

            “Many mosques were formed to be a spiritual and religious space for believers, and not as places where violence, hatred and political agendas should dominate. Nevertheless, the leading mosques in Denmark are characterized exactly by a pseudo-Islamic influence under the control of small strong elites of Islamic leaders. In that world, influence, not numbers, counts, and therefore it is not possible to say that Islamism is weak, just because it only exists in one quarter of all mosques, which I estimate”.

            Akkari writes that the Islamic cultural and religious elite in Denmark, “… Uses its influence over Muslims to negotiate with typically the left-wing… ”

            “They use the support of the left to strengthen the grip on Muslims’ choices. They do so by standing as their representatives (often without having asked them for legitimacy of the representation)… The left supports the positions and representatives of the [Muslim, ed.] elite by helping them to stand for election or to have dialogue and cooperation with them during and after the elections. The left… shows good will for dialogue with the [Muslim, ed.] power elite. They increase their political votes with this relationship and use it actively…”
            [See https://journals.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/feministdissent/index and https://journals.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/feministdissent/article/view/13 for a similar phenomena in the UK]

            Akkari writes that up to one quarter of all Muslims in Denmark listen to the agendas of the Islamists in Denmark to some extent and that the latest election proved this, as the number of votes for the far-left Enhedslisten and the center-left Det Radikale Venstre went up significantly in areas with a concentration of Muslims.

            https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15294/denmark-integration

            We believe that the above in-toto clearly makes the case that sharia is extreme and that it provides the ideological basis for Islamic extremism of both the violent and non-violent strands.

            Yours sincerely,

             

            Sharia Watch UK

            Addendum:

            “E. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s literature

            http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-117127

            Hizb ut-Tahrir’s aims and principles, as well as the details of what an Islamic state would look like, are outlined in a range of literature produced by the organisation. In particular, it has prepared a Draft Constitution which sketches the major provisions of an Islamic State (wording as in the original):

            1. Basic principles and government structure

            Article 1

            “The Islamic ‘Aqeedah [creed] constitutes the foundation of the State. Nothing is permitted to exist in the government’s structure, accountability, or any other aspect connected with the government, that does not take the ‘Aqeedah as its source. The ‘Aqeedah is also the source for the State’s constitution and Sharia canons. Nothing connected to the constitution or canons is permitted to exist unless it emanates from the Islamic ‘Aqeedah.”

            Article 7

            “The State implements the aHkaam Sharia [divine rules] on all citizens who hold citizenship of the Islamic State, whether Muslims or not, in the following manner:

            a. The aHkaam Sharia is implemented in its entirety, without exception, on all Muslims.

            b. Non-Muslims are allowed to follow their own beliefs and worships.

            c. Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam. If they are born as non-Muslims, i.e., if they are the sons of apostates, then they are treated as non-Muslims according to their status as being either polytheists (mushriks) or People of the Book.

            d. In matters of food and clothing the non-Muslims are treated according to their religions within the limits allowed by aHkaam Sharia.

            e. Marital affairs (including divorce) among non-Muslims are settled in accordance with their religions, but between non-Muslims and Muslims they are settled according to the aHkaam Sharia.

            f. All the remaining Sharia matters and rules, such as: the application of transactions, punishments and evidences (at court), the system of ruling and economics are implemented by the State upon everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. This includes the people of treaties (mu’aahid), the protected subjects (ahludh dhimmah) and all who submit to the authority of Islam. The implementation on these people is the same as the implementation on the subjects of the State. Ambassadors and envoys enjoy diplomatic immunity.”

            Article 19

            “No one is permitted to take charge of ruling, or any action considered to be of the nature of ruling, except a male who is free (Hurr), i.e. not a slave, mature (baaligh), sane (‘aaqil), trustworthy (‘adl), competent; and he must [be a Muslim].”

            Article 21

            “Muslims are entitled to establish political parties to question the rulers and to access the positions of ruling through the Ummah [Muslim community] on condition that the parties are based on the ‘Aqeedah of Islam and their adopted rules are aHkaam Sharia [divine rules]; the establishment of such a party does not require a license by the State. Any party not established on the basis of Islam is prohibited.”

            Article 24

            “The Khaleefah is deputised by the Ummah with authority to implement the Sharia.”

            Article 26

            “Every mature male and female Muslim, who is sane, has the right to participate in the election of the Khaleefah and in giving him the pledge (ba’iah). Non-Muslims have no right in this regard.”

            Article 31

            “There are seven conditions needed in the Khaleefah... They are to be a male, Muslim, free (Hurr), mature (baaligh), sane (‘aaqil), trustworthy (‘adl) and able (qaadir).”

            52. The Draft Constitution further indicates that all highest Government officials, the chief judge and the judges of the Court of the Unjust Acts (the court which settles disputes between the citizens and the State) must be male and Muslims. Muslim women are allowed to become lower-level officials and judges (Articles 42, 49, 67, 69, 87). Non-Muslims may be appointed only to technical and administrative official positions (Article 97).

            53. The Draft Constitution further continues:

            Article 101

            “The members of the Majlis al-Ummah [people’s assembly] are those people who represent the Muslims in respect of expressing their views to the Khaleefah when consulted. Non-Muslims are allowed to be members of the Majlis al-Ummah so that they can voice their complaints in respect to unjust acts performed by the rulers or the misapplication of the Islamic laws.”

            Article 102

            “The members of the Majlis al-Ummah are elected by the people.”

            Article 104

            “Consultation (Shoora) and the mashoora are the seeking of views in absolute terms. These views are not binding in legislation, definitions, intellectual matters such as discovering the facts and the technical and scientific matters. However they are binding when the Khaleefah consults in other practical matters and actions that do not need scrutiny or research.”

            Article 105

            “All citizens, Muslim or not, may express their views, but Shoora is a right for the Muslims only.”

            http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-117127