These misguided Muslim ‘Sharia squads’ are playing right into the EDL's hands

The vigilantes exposed by YouTube are as repugnant to ordinary Muslims as the EDL are to ordinary Christians; don't let them give Sharia a bad name

Share
Related Topics

Now here’s a news story to inflame the prejudice of internet Islamophobes... No wait, I’m a practising Muslim and this gets my blood boiling too; a string of videos under the name ‘Muslim Patrol’ recently surfaced on YouTube, showing Muslim vigilantes on night patrols in London streets. In an attempt to rid our streets of the perceived evils of democracy and secularism, one video (which has since been taken down) shows a disoriented, young man, harassed by the Sharia squad and cowed into giving alcohol as the reason for his sorry state.

Others show a non-Muslim couple warned from coming too near to Whitechapel’s East London Mosque and a woman hustled away from a ‘Muslim area’ because her attire contravened Islamic dress codes. In the words of one of the culprits, this was an example of “vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks”. Another clip, (posted some months ago and, it should be noted, apparently by an English Defence League member) features a group of Muslims on a prostitution purge. One man in a warden uniform tries to apprehend a female passerby, calling her a whore after a brief altercation.

Britain is already one of the most spied upon nations on earth, and this culture of surveillance is now being parroted by one of its most infamous imports: Muslim demagogues. I doubt the Government ever had this in mind; a Muslim street army of crime-stoppers monitoring public spaces. Forget the "Big Brother" state, if these videos are anything to go by, the EDL's much-ridiculed warnings of #CreepingSharia begin to look prescient.

Except, contrary to the fevered fantasies of racists, these kinds of activities are limited to to a few oddballs in the British Muslim community; roughly the same proportion as the white Christians who follow the teachings of the EDL. Anjem Choudary, former spokesman of the radical Islamist group Islam4UK, is the only prominent muslim who has called for the UK-wide implementation of Sharia law. In my experience, far from advocating Sharia squads, most ordinary mosque-goers would be sickened at the sight of co-religionists pontificating about morals to non-Muslims. A very insightful response to these antics came from Islam Channel’s Sheikh Shams Ad-Duha, who made good use of the pulpit by reminding his audience of the degrees of freedom granted to non-Muslims under Sharia law.

However rare these incidents may be, if ordinary Britons are becoming casualties of this kind of morality police, surely it’s the duty of civic-minded Muslims to protect their neighbourhoods from all the clerical bullying? Like the men in the videos, there are millions of Britons, religious and otherwise, who are concerned about the moral decline of our society, from the epidemic of binge drinking, to the sexual exploitation of women and other disturbing trends, but that’s no justification for the ‘faithful’ to sanctimoniously harass ordinary citizens going about their daily business. The sight of co-religionists pamphleteering, forcefully 'chaperoning' others to safety and importing Mutaween-like lynch mob tactics is something that makes me and like-minded Muslims cringe. The notion that non-Muslims are bound by a particular set of moral commitments or otherwise risk drawing flak from Sharia squad busy bodies is as offensive as it is absurd. 

I also can’t help but think that there is another, unintended casualty of this misguided anti-obscenity drive: Sharia itself. The Sharia - that is the rich legal corpus that enshrines the principles of fair trial and due process in civil and criminal proceedings - might raise some difficult questions about its application, but it is by no means the brainchild of barmy puritans, prying on indecencies whilst claiming to serve the public interest. From the cradle of civilisation that was Mesopotamia, to Andalusia-Muslim Spain, the archives of history includes numerous examples of how the implementation of Sharia on a state-level could nurture an oasis of science and cultural florescence, that was later inherited by European Renaissance traditions.

Populist tropes reduce this highly sophisticated legal system to the antics of misguided Muslims, masquerading as security guards and there’s no way of giving these crackpots any appearance of sophistication, but we don’t help the situation by kindling misinformation about a legal system which brought civilisation to many societies in the past.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Female PE Teacher

£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Fifi Geldof (left) with her sister Pixie at an event in 2013  

Like Fifi Geldof, I know how important it is to speak about depression

Rachael Lloyd
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering