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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices