A prominent British imam has backed UKIP’s “courageous” new policy to ban the Islamic face veil, saying “the major political parties do not have the foresight or fortitude to tackle this toxic gateway ideology”.
Dr. Taj Hargey, director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, did not comment on other elements UKIP’s new “integration agenda”, but echoed the party’s arguments by insisting veiling was a “cultural” rather than spiritual practice “imported” from “backward places”.
The imam’s backing of the veil ban counters suggestions in the press that UKIP had not consulted reformist Muslims, and that their policies were an attack on Muslim communities generally.
The imam even hit back at liberals seemingly defending radical Islam and Islamism, after the press sought to mock and trivialise UKIP’s integration policies. He slammed “liberal pandering to burgeoning Muslim extremism”.
Dr. Hargey said in a statement to the Oxford Times: “By banning the burka, Britain would belatedly follow the courageous lead of France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Morocco, Chad, Niger and other nations in outlawing this hideous tribal rag that has nothing to do with Islam, but only besmirches the Holy Qur’an.
“Instead of the liberal pandering to burgeoning Muslim extremism in the UK – which champions facial concealment as a religious requirement and ‘personal choice’ – the British public should be advised that there is no obligation for female facial coverings in Islam’s divine scripture.
“This nefarious Wahhabi-imported fad from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and other backward places, derives not from Islam’s sacred text, but from the highly-suspect patriarchal sayings, hadith, of the Prophet Muhammad that were compiled some 300 years after his death.”
He added: “If the major political parties do not have the foresight or fortitude to tackle this toxic gateway ideology that reflects a virulent and militant Sharia contagion that is gaining ground in this country, then UKIP should be saluted for doing so.”
Like UKIP, Dr. Hargey had also called for Sharia law to be rejected in the past, as well as urging Muslims to reform Islam and modernise more generally.
Announcing their integration agenda Monday, UKIP called for Sharia law to be outlawed in the UK, for a temporary ban on new Islamic schools, as well as a “zero tolerance” approach to female genital mutilation and “honour” violence.