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Focus on Islamism
Wednesday 28th April 2010
New al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK Front

ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS

FocusonIslamism has found new evidence which suggests that the banned extremist organisation, al-Muhajiroun (aka Islam4uk), is now operating in East London under a new name, encouraging Muslims to abstain from the upcoming general election.

Last week, the Spittoon blog reported that in Tower Hamlets leaflets bearing the name ‘Voting is Shirk' were being distributed:

The term shirk translates to polytheism, and presenting democracy as a form of worship (tawaghit) is one of the central aspects of Islamist ideology.  Islamist ideologues like Abu a la Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi wrote that voting for the leader of a country run by man-made law essentially amounts to idol worship, and is therefore an act of shirk.  Although not in itself a violent concept, this idea is central to all Salafi-Jihadis and is used to declare takfir (excommunication) on ‘unIslamic' leaders in Muslim majority countries, thus making them eligible to be killed (for more on this see Global Salafism: Islam's New Religious Movement).

Voting is Shirk has also begun to put up posters saying "voting for man-made law is apostasy" and set up a website - www.votingisshirk.tk - which is registered in the New Zealand territory of Tokelau in what is likely to be an attempt to avoid being shut down due to connections with a group banned in this country.  Apart from the almost identical messages of the two groups, the links between Voting is Shirk and al-Muhajiroun are also clear on their website.

The contact email given for the group is abu.rumaysah@hotmail.co.uk.  Abu Rumaysah is a former spokesperson for al-Muhajiroun and can be seen in this video (far left of panel) with Anjem Choudary, former leader of the group:

Abu Rumaysah is also in one of the videos on the Voting is Shirk site, where he reminds Muslims of their duty to reject democracy (17 seconds into video):

Two other former members of al-Muhajiroun can also be seen in this video: 10 seconds in, there appears a man with sunglasses and a large beard.  In the past, he featured regularly in al-Muhajiroun/Islam4uk videos such as this one:

At 32 seconds, there is also a man with long hair and a goatee beard.  Although he did not previously appear in al-Muhajiroun media, he was present as a member of the group at one of their last events, which I attended.  Worryingly, he was also providing the security for the event and is a licensed Security Industy Authority (SIA) security guard.At the time of the al-Muhajiroun ban in January of this year, the Government's Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) claimed that if al-Muhajiroun remained operational under different names (as they had done for many years), the police and Crown Prosecution Service could nonetheless still take action against them:

The use of an alternative name which is not listed does not prevent the police and Crown Prosecution Service from taking action against an individual for proscription offences if it can be proved that the non-listed name is in fact the same group as a proscribed organisation.

Voting is Shirk is almost undoubtedly the same group as al-Muhajiroun.  It preaches the same message of replacing democratic, secular government with sharia, and is made up of at least three former members of the banned group.  This is certainly worth further investigation, and the government should seek to take action against both the group and individuals associated with it.

UPDATE - For more evidence linking Islam4UK with this new front group click HERE

focusonislamism[at]standpointmag[dot]co[dot]uk

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Alexander Melea...
April 29th, 2010
11:04 AM
Well, in the first instance, I did not write the book, nor did i have a say in its title. I recommend it because I think it's one of the best collections of essays on salafism that I have come across. Indeed, the Salafi doctrine was formed by Ahmad ibn Hanbal around 800 AD, so not that new! But this book is not about the history of Salafism, rather it analyses it as in its new form as a global phenomenon.

dlp
April 29th, 2010
2:04 AM
What exactly is *new* about Salafism, Alex? Isn't this a creed, not a movement? And even if it was a movement, how is this radically new in a way that separates it from Islamic precedents?

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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

To contact the authors, click here

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