London attack: 130 imams condemn attackers and refuse to perform funeral prayer for them

Religious leaders would not carry out traditional prayer that is reserved for all Muslims regardless of their actions

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The Independent Online

A group of 130 imams and religious leaders have refused to perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the London Bridge attackers.

The leaders said they would not carry out the ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim, regardless of their actions.

In a statement on social media, the group said: “Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege.

The statement added: “This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam.”

Religious leaders of all backgrounds have condemned the attack which killed seven and injured 47 on Saturday evening when three men rammed a rental van into pedestrians then randomly stabbed revellers in bars and restaurants near Borough Market.

A panel of speakers at the East London Mosque said they would work to combat extremists’ “twisted narrative and their perversion” of religion.

”Once again we come together, to stand united against those who try to divide us,” said the chairman of East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman.

“The cold-blooded murder of innocent people in London on Saturday evening will not succeed in driving us apart.

”I have a clear message to those who perpetrate terrorism: you are against the very core teaching of Islam and of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Terrorist Khuram Shazad Butt features in Channel 4 documentary

“Your misguidance will lead you to destruction, and God willing you will utterly fail in your evil aims.

"We stand apart from you and your corruption of the religion of Islam. Terrorism has no faith.“

Worshippers at a mosque attended by one of the attackers condemned the “evil” atrocity as investigations continue into their background and links.

Leaders of the Jabir Bin Zayd Islamic Centre in Barking, a few minutes walk from Khuram Butt's family home, said their thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families.

“As a community, we denounce this abhorrent criminal act, for which there can never be any justification,” said a statement.

“We understand that in the current climate there is much fear, confusion and anger in the country and people are looking for answers.

"That is why we will continue to assist the police and the relevant authorities with any investigation to ensure that justice is achieved.“

khuram-butt-rachid-redouane.jpg
Khuram Shazad Butt, left, and Rachid Redouane, who were shot dead by police after the London Bridge terror attack (Metropolitan Police)

Butt, who gave his name locally as Abz, was reportedly thrown out of the mosque after ranting about elections and claiming voting was ”un-Islamic“.

He is said to have returned for Friday prayers the day before the London Bridge attack and one worshipper said he believed the mosque's imam knew the attacker's identity.

But officials would not confirm Butt had attended and asked The Independent to leave.

A man coming out of prayers on Monday said he hoped the local Muslim community would not be demonised.

"He had nothing to do with these people [at the mosque]" he added.

"They [attackers] are deranged, mentally disturbed."

Another worshipper leaving the mosque said the terrorists were ”not Muslims“.

"I don't believe they are Muslims who are doing this," said Mukhles Chowdhury.

"Islam doesn't allow for this. This isn't religion - it is terrorism and we must come together to stamp it out.

“We have to find these people and hand them in.”

The sentiment was echoed by Theresa May on Sunday morning, who said the terrorists were “perverting the truth” of Islam. 

She declared that “enough was enough” and pledged to reform legislation around internet activity. The Prime Minister also said there should be “embarrassing conversations” about Muslim communities in the UK that have failed to integrate, but did not specify further detail, despite of many Muslim leaders condemning the attacks.

Police have named two of the attackers as Butt and Rachid Redouane.

The former was known to MI5 and police but authorities said there was no evidence he had planned an attack. 

Redouane was not known to police. The third attacker has not yet been named.

A total of 12 people were arrested during a police raid in Barking, London in the hours after the attack.

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