Fatwa publisher to release 'revised' Quran
Businessman challenges Muslim leaders despite safety risk fears
By: Carlos Alba Media
Pakistani-born businessman Paigham Mustafa was forced to seek police protection after a fatwa was jointly issued by 15 imams - senior Islamic clerics – accusing him of spreading 'sedition' and 'satanic thoughts' in magazines that he produced for the Muslim community in the UK.
He has spent more than a decade researching a new exposition of the Quran to highlight what he sees as widespread misrepresentation by religious leaders around the world, including in the UK.
The Quran – God's Message to Mankind corrects a number of 'falsehoods', including the belief that Islam condones violence against non-Muslims, domestic violence and polygamy, that it requires women to cover their faces and that murder, including honour killings, can be justified.
As a result of its publication, he has been asked to submit evidence to the Prime Minister's Community Engagement Forum and Extremism Taskforce and the Scottish Preventing Violent Extremism Unit (SPVEU).
In 2001, a written fatwa circulated among Muslims in Mustafa's home city of Glasgow compared him to Salman Rushdie, who was the subject of a fatwa declared by the Iranian government in response to his book, The Satanic Verses.
He was ostracised by family and friends and was forced to withdraw from social life, even missing his father's funeral, because he feared violent repercussions. With the help of his then local MP Des Browne, a former Labour Defence Secretary, he sought, unsuccessfully, to have the fatwa withdrawn and it remains in place.
The 58 year-old father-of-three, who was raised a Sunni, accepts that, by publishing the book, he is putting his safety at risk.
Earlier this year Asad Shah, a Glasgow shopkeeper, was stabbed to death by a fellow Muslim who accused him of 'disrespecting' Islam while Jalal Uddin, an imam from Rochdale, was battered to death by an Isis-supporting Muslim who accused him of practising a form of healing he deemed to be blasphemous.
"I'm doing this because I believe in the word of the Quran and it troubles me that it's being used falsely to justify, not only terrorism and violence, but a whole range of practices that are harmful and unnecessary and that are destroying people's lives on a daily basis," says Mustafa.
"Strictures regarding how women should dress and behave as well as the demonising of homosexuality, widespread practice of polygamy, the ritual of slaughtering animals for food and a ban on alcohol consumption are not justified according to the strict word of the Quran.
"Rather, they are constructs created by a conservative religious establishment aimed at ensuring social control and the subjugation of women. Until these issues are addressed by mainstream Islam, extremism will continue to flourish."
Mustafa added: "Governments in the UK and in other western countries are seeking to engage with so-called 'moderate' Muslim leaders to tackle extremism but, in many cases, they are part of the problem. These community leaders are shaking hands with politicians while, behind their backs, they are committed to doctrines of hate."
According to Mustafa, Sharia courts operating in the UK are routinely deciding on a range of issues based on a spurious interpretation of the Quran dating back to the ninth century.
They include punishing Muslims for behaviour that's permitted under British law, including homosexuality, gambling, drinking alcohol and freedom of thought, while condoning acts that are illegal, including polygamy, domestic violence and female circumcision.
"At the moment the people who operate the Sharia courts are speaking from behind closed doors," he says. "I want to bring this issue out into the open and so that people can see all the evidence and decide for themselves. Even issues like eating halal food and dress codes for women are being used as a means of social control, falsely attributed as the word of the Quran.
"Domestic violence is justified by Muslim leaders who point to a passage that apparently gives husbands the right to 'beat' errant wives. Traditionalists glean it from the root word 'daraba' which has been translated to mean anything from a tap on the shoulder to striking or beating. More correctly, it should be translated as 'to set forth' or 'to make clear, in this case, a statement or proclamation'."
He added: "Female Muslims are led to believe that they must wear a hijab or a burqa to comply with Islamic doctrine. The word hijab means 'curtain' and there is no mention of it in the Quran in the context of a face or head covering.
Carlos Alba Media