Letter: Al-Masari's Islamic beliefs, values and goals

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The Independent Online
From Professor Mohammed al-Masari

Sir: In her attempt to prove me a "viper" whom feminists and atheists like her can "tolerate" only through "gritted teeth", Polly Toynbee distorts my views, my character, misquotes and quotes out of context my remarks and thus misleads your readers ("Why Mr Masari is good for us", 18 January).

She shows me apparently admiring Khomeini - whom I admire only in as much as he mobilised 5 million people against the dictatorship - while I made abundantly clear to her that we oppose Khomeini-ism as a methodology and would never replicate his theocracy in our own country.

In an apparent picture of a rake's progress, she distorts my own family life in a most insulting way, for example accusing me of "creating" single- parent families around the globe. The truth is that my wives already had children when I married them, before I had children of my own.

As for the rest of her anti-Islamic prejudices - a shockingly acceptable form of racism among some Western liberals - our organisation is unashamedly Islamic and it follows that we wish to see an Islamic system of law in Arabia.

But I am fighting for an elected and accountable government in Arabia - chosen by men and women - which will make the laws of the country, which will be implemented by an independent judiciary and will be criticised by a free press, free labour unions and free associations.

The regime I fight by fax and by telephone is accountable to no one, elected by no one, loots its own country's wealth and implements its twisted arbitrary and repressive version of Sharia law without legal basis or moral legitimacy. Which should British liberals and progressives prefer?

Yours sincerely,

Mohammed al-Masari

London, SW1

18 January