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Abu Usamah

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Imam
Abu Usamah At-Thahabi
Abu Usamah At-Thahabi at Lecture.jpg
Abu Usamah At-Thahabi
Born 1964 (age 53–54)
New Jersey, United States
Nationality British
Alma mater Islamic University of Medina Category:Islamic University of Madinah alumni
Occupation Instructor, Imam
Era Modern
Known for Islamic Studies
Website www.sheikhabuusamah.com

Abu Usamah at-Thahabi is an Imam at Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham, England.[1]

An American[2] national, he converted to Islam and studied at the University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic school popular with converts and international students.[3]

Controversies[edit]

The Undercover Mosque[edit]

During Abu Usamahs tenure at Green Lane Masjid, he was among a group of preachers whom were the focus of the Undercover Mosque program which was first aired on 15 January 2007 by Channel 4. In the program, Abu Usamah was quoted, among other things, to have said that Christians and Jews are enemies to Muslims, to have taught that jihad is coming against the unbelievers, and to have referred to non-muslims by use of the derogatory term kuffar.[4]

The story caused backlash that resulted in 364 viewer complaints to Ofcom.[4] In addition to this, on 10 August 2017 the West Midlands Police also raised a formal complaint to Ofcom regarding what it considered to be a completely distorted view of the intended message by Abu Usamah and the other preachers.[4][5][6] However, upon investigation of the matter Ofcom ruled in favour of Channel 4.[4] The West Midlands Police also later apologised for their initial accusation, and offered £100,000 in compensation to Channel 4.[7]

Other Controversies[edit]

According to a report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, Usamah "advocates holy war in an Islamic state; preaches hatred against non-Muslims; that apostasy and homosexuality are punishable by death; and that women are inferior to men", following an undercover recording of him preaching to his congregation which featured in a Channel 4 Dispatches episode on radical Islam at British universities.[8] During the documentary, Usamah also praised Osama bin Laden,[9] and defended his right to freedom of expression, saying: "If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that's my freedom of speech, isn't it?"[10] Usamah also stated that "He (Osama bin Laden) is better than a million George Bushs, he's better than a thousand Tony Blairs."[3]

Usamah was invited to speak at events held by University College London's Islamic Society on 1 February 2008 and 6 September 2009.[8] He was invited to speak at the same venue on 30 November 2009, but the event was cancelled due to pressure from gay rights and anti-extremism campaign groups.[11] In February 2013, he was invited to speak at the University of Reading, but the event was cancelled by the university after threats of violence.[12]

In 2012, Usamah was accused of sexually harassing Muslim women but a mosque spokesman said: “We have not been contacted by anybody regarding allegations of harassment, sexual or otherwise, against Abu Usamah who remains an employee of the mosque. However we have been made aware of the website and note that it appears unable to back up these serious allegations with any proper proof.”[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Birmingham mosque cleric accused of sexual harassment". Birmingham Mail. 12 August 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Outlawed Islamic group recruits near Swedish suicide bomber's Luton home". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  3. ^ a b "Britain's new preachers of hate". Daily Mirror. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 97" (PDF). Ofcom. 19 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Channel 4 distorted mosque programme". BBC News. 8 August 2007. 
  6. ^ "Dispatches reported to Ofcom". Channel 4. 8 August 2007. 
  7. ^ "Police apologise over mosque show". BBC News. 15 May 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Radical Islam on UK Campuses: A Comprehensive List of Extremist Speakers at UK Universities" (PDF). Centre for Social Cohesion. April 2010. 
  9. ^ "Radical cleric praises bin Laden". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-04-01. 
  10. ^ David Barrett; Patrick Sawer; Sean Rayment (3 January 2010). "Revealed: the true extent of Islamic radical influence at UCL". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "'Anti-gay' cleric talk cancelled". BBC News. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Reading University cancels events after violent threats". Student Rights. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.