Imam says Muslims should not celebrate Xmas
March 12, 2023 at 6:53 PM GMT+1
“When it comes to the honour of the Quran we will stand and defend the honour of the Koran no matter what it takes.”
….“Your love and your hate should be for the sake of Allah.”
An imam involved in the row over a damaged Quran that led to a 14-year-old schoolboy receiving death threats, spoke about punishing Muslims for celebrating Christmas, The Telegraph can reveal.
Imam Hafiz Muhammad Mateen Anwar, of the Jamia Masjid Swafia mosque in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, warned worshippers not to wish others a merry Christmas, described homosexuality as “barbaric” and music as “toxic”, and also made sectarian remarks about more liberal followers of Islam.
The revelations came just days after he hosted a community meeting at the mosque alongside police and council leaders with the mother of an autistic Year 10 schoolboy who pleaded for forgiveness for her son after he brought a Koran into Kettlethorpe High School as a forfeit for losing a Call of Duty video game.
However, the Islamic holy book – which Muslims are taught to handle with respect and care and, in some cases, perform ablusion before touching it – was dropped on the floor, causing a tear on the cover and scuffing to some pages.
‘Defend the honour of the Koran’
Imam Anwar appeared on a panel with Chief Insp Andy Thornton and Insp Glen Costello of West Yorkshire Police, two teachers and the boy’s mother, where he told the meeting: “When it comes to the honour of the Quran we will stand and defend the honour of the Koran no matter what it takes.”
However, sources alarmed at what they described as “a session for ritual humiliation and threatening language” have now shared with The Telegraph evidence that they said showed the imam had preached “harsh social separatism”. Experts have also criticised the police for failing to do their “due diligence” in researching the imam’s comments.
The evidence bundle reveals that in a sermon three days before Christmas last year, Imam Anwar said that in an Islamic state, Muslims would be punished for taking part in the festivities of another religion. “It is very important who you conform to, whose lifestyle you adopt,” he said. “If you conform to them you are becoming part of them.”
‘That person should be punished’
Quoting a Muslim scholar, he added: “The one who conforms with the disbelievers on the days of their celebrations should be given “tazir”, a punishment… Anyone from the religion of Islam, claims to follow Islam, anyone who begins to take part in the celebration of disbelievers, that person should be punished.”
He said that he lived in the UK, where there was not Sharia law, but said: “What I’m trying to explain to you is how important these scholars took the subject of copying the disbelievers, of following their celebrations. One who congratulates a non-believer on the day of their celebration is also to be punished.”
Imam Anwar said that Christmas was not religious and told the congregation not to take part in Christian traditions, saying: “The disbelievers, in reality we can’t really call them Christians anymore because they don’t even follow the actual religion of Christianity. Christmas is a festivity, there is no link to it with religion. Having a family meal is perfectly fine, feed people, spread peace, but to call it a Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, don’t go snapping away [on] Instagram to show people that you are multicultural. Who are you trying to impress?”
He added that Muslims “should have no link with Christmas trees or Christmas lights either” and said that those who rarely gave food to neighbours but did so on Christmas Day were “acknowledging their celebration”, saying: “You are not permitted to do that.”
Children not allowed to sit on Santa’s lap
Imam Anwar also said that parents should not allow children to sit on Santa’s lap, not to be part of nativity shows and that if worshippers greeted someone on the day of a Muslim celebration “the first thing he is going to do is dial 999. We’ve got a terrorist, please come quickly. Why do you need to say merry Christmas back? What are they going to give you? You want to be multicultural, you want to fit into society, then when someone says merry Christmas, say thank you, have a nice holiday. You don’t need to turn around and say merry Christmas.”
In another sermon, he urged Muslims saying: “Your love and your hate should be for the sake of Allah.” In a similar talk he used the word “rafidhis” for Shia Muslims, a derogatory term meaning rejectors, and also criticised “closet Shias” for “destroying our aqeedah [creed]”.
He has also described music as “toxic” saying it “messes with your mind” and urged Muslims not to listen to it. He also described “the rise of homosexuality” as “barbaric”.
Crackdown on recording
The revelations come after The Telegraph reported that Home Secretary Suella Braverman is set to launch a crackdown on police needlessly recording non-crime hate incidents (NCHIs) such as those used by police in the wake of the row over the Koran.
She will also tell police to remove from their records any such incidents that do not meet that strict threshold to prevent them showing up in future enhanced police checks.
Last year, the College of Policing, the police professional standards body, changed its guidance to stop officers recording incidents that do not amount to a crime and fail to meet the criminal threshold.
Imam Anwar and West Yorkshire Police were contacted for comment.