Radical preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed that all Muslim MPs and voters are “apostates” as the general election approaches.
Writing on Twitter that voting is a “sin” against Islam, he argued that Parliament violated religious law because Allah is “the only legislator”.
Mr Choudary wrote: “The only excuse is for a new Muslim or someone totally ignorant about voting and also what's known from Islam by necessity.”
In a stream of messages using the #StayMuslimDontVote hashtag, the cleric called Muslims who vote or run as an MP are “apostates”, meaning they have abandoned their beliefs.
Anyone doing so does not believe that Allah is the “only, exclusive legislator and commander” and is therefore a “kaafir” (disbeliever), he claimed.
Mr Choudary, who has headed banned groups including Islam4UK and al-Muhajiroun, instructed his followers not to follow any imams who tell them voting is religiously permitted.
It comes after his group released a series of videos as part of the campaign discouraging British Muslims from taking part in the democratic process, while other organisations encourage them to vote.
The Muslim Council of Great Britain declined to comment but member Talha Ahmad told Al Jazeera last month: “Almost all major Muslim organisations say it is a civic obligation for us to participate in the electoral process because we have an opportunity to make our societies better, not just for Muslims but for everyone.”
Posters claiming democracy “violates the right of Allah” were spotted in Cardiff at the weekend as part of what seemed to be a grassroots campaign called #DontVote4ManMadeLaw.
They were swiftly taken down by members of the public in the Welsh capital and the council said it would remove them.
Akmal Hanuk, from the Muslim Council of Wales, told the BBC: “It is not representing the view of the majority of Muslims. I think the majority of Muslims want to vote and will.
"From a Muslim Council of Wales perspective, we encourage them to vote and to have a say in the democratic system."
Eight Muslim MPs were elected in the 2010 general election, including former Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan and Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.
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