Fiyaz Mughal OBE, the founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS), a charity comprising British Muslims whose mission is to tackle antisemitism, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he discussed the growing danger of Islamist antisemitism.
Referring to antisemites within pockets of the Muslim community, Mr Mughal said that “We need to tackle them, we need to call them out. We need to inform, we need to educate. But we can’t hide this poison anymore under the carpet.”
He added: “It’s very much linked to Islamism, and the rise of Islamist extremism, and it’s not clearly linked to being a Muslim or Islam but Islamists, the political idealogy of taking the religion and fusing it with political ideology, and that political ideology, we know, has been influenced by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood…by groups like Hamas. And these groups actively use antisemitism to draw people into their web, into their activism, to draw money from them, to use them as cannon fodder in conflicts.
“And so it is clear that antisemitism is part of a campaign by Islamist groups as a means of mobilising more people against Jews. So, we need to tackle it. It can’t just be swept under the carpet, This is dangerous, dangerous stuff.”
Mr Mughal added that whilst it is clear that polling has shown that the majority of Muslims do not harbour such views, Islamist ideas were “quite entrenched” within a “vocal minority” of the community, making the issue, as he sees it, “a long-term problem”.
“We know that British Muslims just want to get on with their lives. They want to have, like Jewish communities, the opportunity to be Muslims, be British, and to just get a job, get on with their lives,” the MAAS founder said. “But correspondingly, that small but vocal minority within British Muslim communities, has become much more entrenched, much more vocal, much more aggressive, and willing to turn out and intimidate Jewish institutions, Jewish communities, and those where there are larger concentrations of Jews.
“Take for example, who would have thought in London, a convoy of people from Bradford would turn up in Golders Green to talk about raping Jewish women? That is a prime example of the violence, of the state of open violence, in that small but vocal section of Muslim communities.”
Mr Mughal concluded by lamenting that Islamists reduce Islam “to the most basic form of emotion…hate, rage, anger, sadness. They destroy the nuance within Islam. The poetry, the beauty, the flourishing of it. They brutalise Islam, they make it so brittle that it becomes even painful for believers in Islam to sometimes carry on believing in it. This is what Islamists are doing.
“And so they are damaging the religion from within, and it is essential for British Muslims to take them on…we have to challenge them. They are a threat to Jews, but they are a threat to Muslims and to the identity of British Islam today.”
Throughout the interview, Mr Mughal touched upon a wide variety of topics which included his motivations behind the creation of MAAS, Islamophobic stereotypes, and his speech at CAA’s rally outside the BBC last year where we were greeted by an unwelcome visitor.
Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.