The New York Times ran a rather shocking article on British Muslim calls to violence. The hook is that the Antiterrorism Act of 2006 makes it a crime to glorify or encourage political violence but that some Muslim leaders are doing just that without government reprisal.
One of them is Atilla Ahmet, leader of the Islamist group Supporters of Shariah. In meetings with supporters and in interviews, the British-born Mr. Ahmet speaks freely about what he considers the necessity for violent action, both here and abroad, to avenge what he considers unjustified attacks on Muslims abroad.
“You are attacking our people in Muslim countries, in Iraq, in Afghanistan,” Mr. Ahmet said, referring to the British and American governments. “So it’s legitimate to attack British soldiers and policemen, government officials, and even the White House.”
Mr. Ahmet, a 42-year Briton of Cypriot descent, went on to include bank employees as legitimate targets “because they charge interest,” which he says is in violation of Islamic law.
There’s a lot to cover in an article about violent religious threats, ranging from legal issues to civil rights. And I think it’s a great article with a lot of juicy quotes — about killing people.
Everyone knows that there is a major religious component to the current terror headlines. So stories like this one should be all over the place. Reporters shouldn’t need a law punishing violent speech to report on what’s happening inside mosques and on websites. How about more articles on Muslim finance and how it compares to Christian and Jewish beliefs regarding usury?
Let’s see more stories on the sermons in Sunni and Shia mosques in Iraq, American Muslim sermons, etc. How do Muslims choose which mosque to attend? What are the major doctrinal divides in the religion?
Photo of a British Muslim protest via lakerae on Flickr.