Bilal Philips

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Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Bilal Philips.jpg
Philips in August 2010
Dennis Bradley Philips

1946 (age 73–74)
MovementSalafi movement
Notable idea(s)founder of Islamic Online University
Alma materB.A. - Islamic University of Medina
M.A. - King Saud University
Ph.D. - University of Wales
OccupationIslamic scholar
Muslim leader

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, (born Dennis Bradley Philips, 1946) is a Canadian Muslim teacher, speaker, author, founder and chancellor of the Islamic Online University, who lives in Qatar.[2] He appears on Peace TV, which is a 24-hour Islamic satellite TV channel.[3][4] He considers himself a Salafi who advocates a traditional, literal form of Islam.[5] J.M. Berger, describes him as an example of a preacher and opinion leader of the Muslim world "who clearly believes and preaches in often stirring terms that Western civilization exists in sharp conflict with Islamic civilization, but who ... stops short of openly endorsing violence."[6]

Because of what his critics call "extremist views",[7] Philips has been banned from entering the United Kingdom,[8] Australia,[9] Denmark[10] and Kenya,[11] banned from re-entering Germany,[12] ordered to leave Bangladesh,[13] and arrested in the Philippines[14] for "inciting and recruiting people to conduct terrorist activities."[15] Philips has responded to such criticism by stating he is a moderate[16] who does not endorse terrorism or the use of suicide bombings in Islam.[17][6] Some civil rights advocates have defended Philips and criticized his deportation, claiming he is being religiously persecuted.[18]


Early life[edit]

Philips was born in Kingston, Jamaica but grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[19]


Philips had encountered Islam several times in his travels, but the book that won him over was Islam, The Misunderstood Religion by Muhammad Qutb, the younger brother of Sayyid Qutb.[20]

He received his B.A. degree from the Islamic University of Madinah and his M.A. in ʿAqīdah (Islamic Theology) from the King Saud University in Riyadh, then to the University of Wales, St. David's University College (now University of Wales, Trinity Saint David). There at the Lampeter Campus he completed his 1993 PhD thesis, Exorcism in Islam.[21]

Preaching and career[edit]

Philips taught Islamic studies for a decade years at an Islamic high school in Riyadh and was an Arabic and Islamic studies teacher in the American University of Dubai for 10 years as well.[1][22] He also lectures at the Ajman University (AU) in the United Arab Emirates.[18] During the First Gulf War Philips organized Islamic religious revival meetings for U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, during which (according to Philips) he converted thousands of soldiers to Islam.[6] According to counter-extremism author J.M. Berger, some of the US military men and women who participated in his revival program were later recruited as volunteer trainers in the 1992-95 Bosnian War.[6]

Islamic Online University[edit]

Philips founded the Islamic Online University in Qatar in 2001.[1][23][24]


Regarding his statement "Western culture, led by the United States, is the enemy of Islam," he has explained in an interview in Austrolabe that it was taken out of context, and that he was quoting Samuel P. Huntington’s famous statement on the clash of civilisations.[16] When asked in an interview with author Berger about his statement in an earlier lecture that "he did believe in the `clash of civilizations,` and that America was the enemy of Islam" he explains that he opposes the effort by "globalized western civilization" to "push ... secular democracy ... down the throats of the rest of the world."[6]

Philips has stated that there is no such thing as rape in marriage in Islam:[7][25]

[In] Islaam, a woman is obliged to give herself to her husband and he may not be charged with rape. Of course, if a woman is physically ill or exhausted, her husband should take her condition into consideration and not force himself upon her.[26]

Phillips had previously stated in a lecture[8] and in one of his books[27] that suicide bombers are unfairly criticized as they are not really committing the suicide that is forbidden in Islam, but are showing bravery in committing a military operation. However he would later state in a 2010 interview that he believes suicide bombings actually do not comply with Islamic law.[6]

When you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it's a different intention altogether ... The [enemy] is either too heavily armed, or they don't have the type of equipment that can deal with it, so the only other option they have is to try to get some people amongst them and then explode the charges that they have to try to destroy the equipment and to save the lives of their comrades. So this is not really considered to be suicide in the true sense. This is a military action and human lives are sacrificed in that military action. This is really the bottom line for it and that's how we should look at it.[8][7]

Philips' ideas on suicide bombing made news after the website of Luton Islamic Centre, where a suicide bomber had worshipped, was found to carry a link to a lecture by Philips in which he made "comments used to justify suicide attacks, and material expounding antisemitism and homophobia".[8] The chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre has said Philips' comments that were posted on its website contained errors and that it should not have been categorized as "suicide bombings" because he was referring to military operations as opposed to harming innocent people.[8]

In an interview in Austrolabe, republished in Muslim Matters, Philips calls himself a "moderate" and the claim that he is an extremist "baseless".[16] He has also stated that he is opposed to Al-Qaeda and any type of terrorism in the name of Islam.[17]


Philips came under criticism in Britain for his statements on suicide bombers.[7]

In 2007 he was banned from entering Australia on the advice of national security agencies.[9]

In 2010 Philips was banned from entering the UK by home secretary Theresa May for holding "extremist views".[8][28]

In April 2011, Philips was banned from re-entering Germany as persona non grata.[12]

In 2012, Philips was banned from entering Kenya over possible terror links.[11][29][30]

Philips was named by the US government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[9][31][32][33]

In 2014, the publisher of a book authored by Philips entitled "The Fundamentals of Tawheed" was arrested by armed officers during a raid of Islamic institutions in Prague. 20 people were detained during Friday Prayer at a mosque and a community center.[7] Law enforcement officials claimed Philips' book "incites xenophobia and violence" and insisted it was racist. Philips "vehemently" defended his book, denied it condoned racism, noting that millions of copies had been published in Muslim communities around the world, and stated that any action against the book could "constitute an attack on Islam itself."[7]

In June 2014, the Bangladeshi intelligence service ordered Phillips, who had come to Dhaka to give lectures, to leave the country.[13][34]

In September 2014, Philips was arrested[14] in the Philippines for "inciting and recruiting people to conduct terrorist activities."[15][17][35] He was expected to be deported by Philippine immigration authorities after police arrested him in southern Davao City.[17][36] Eddie Delima, an immigration officer in Davao stated: "He’s classified as undesirable because of his extremist views and possible link to terrorist groups".[17][35] The director of the Philippine National Police in Southern Mindanao, said Philips is being questioned for his possible links with terror groups including the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).[14] He was deported from the Philippines back to Canada.[37][38] Philips denied the charges leveled by Filipino officials and denied links to terrorists groups.[39] Some religious leaders[11] and civil rights advocates have defended Philips and criticized his deportation from the Philippines, arguing that he has not done anything wrong and that he has been a victim of religious persecution.[18]

In the April 2016 issue of Dabiq Magazine, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, declared Philips to be a murtadd (or apostate)[40] and threatened to kill him for denouncing ISIS.[41][42][43]

One of Philip's works entitled "The Fundamentals of Tauheed" has been described as "extremist" by the United Kingdom prison service. As a consequence, this book has now been removed and banned from prisons.[44][45]

In May 2017, Philips was banned from entering Denmark[10] along with other preachers including Salman al-Ouda and Terry Jones.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
  2. ^ Gerard McManus. (2007-4-4). Radical sheik refused entry for Islamic talks. Herald Sun, retrieved December 13, 2007
  3. ^ "Ofcom investigation into Peace TV | The Jewish Chronicle". 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Controversial imam Bilal Philips says banning him won't stop his message". The Globe and Mail. September 15, 2014. Retrieved 2016-06-05. If Salafi means that you’re a traditionalist that follows the scripture according to the early traditions, then yeah. I’m not a modernist. I’m not a person who makes his own individual interpretations according to the times
  6. ^ a b c d e f Berger, J.M. (19 April 2011). "A Conversation About Jihad With Controversial Preacher Bilal Philips". Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Muslim Leaders Denounce Police Over Raids in Czech Capital". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Mark Townsend. "Stockholm bomber's mosque website carries links to extremist preacher | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  9. ^ a b c "John Howard Bans Islamic Leader". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  10. ^ a b "Ny i Danmark". (in Danish). Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  11. ^ a b c "Kenya deports Jamaican over terrorism links". 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  12. ^ a b DPA/The Local/mdm. (2011-04-21). Islamist preacher ordered to leave Germany. The Local, retrieved August 6, 2011
  13. ^ a b "Bilal Philips forced to leave Dhaka - New Age | New Age". 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  14. ^ a b c "Islamic teacher linked to terror groups arrested | The Manila Times Online". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  15. ^ a b Reuters Editorial (2014-09-10). "Philippines to deport Canadian Islamic teacher over terror links | Reuters". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  16. ^ a b c "Exclusive: Interview with Dr Bilal Philips". Austrolabe. 9 April 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  17. ^ a b c d e "Controversial Canadian Muslim preacher accused of inciting terrorism and arrested in Philippines | National Post". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  18. ^ a b c Manlupig, Karlos (10 September 2014). "Canadian preacher linked to terrorists found in Davao". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  19. ^ Canadian imam Bilal Philips unwelcome in Philippines Ottawa Citizen
  20. ^ J. M. Berger, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, p 51. ISBN 1597976938
  21. ^ WorldCat library listing: Exorcism in Islam (Book, 1993) | University of Wales, Trinity St. David, Lampeter Campus
  22. ^ Banaeem, Jihan (18 November 2016). "The West Is Scared Of Us – Dr. Bilal Philips". NADI BANGI. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  23. ^ Marloes Janson, Islam, Youth and Modernity in the Gambia: The Tablighi Jama'at, p 251. ISBN 1107040574
  24. ^ "Niger State Government Pays Islamic Online University BA Fees for 35 Students". Niger Times. March 2014. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  25. ^ "Islamist hate books inquiry call". 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  26. ^ Philips, Bilal (2002). Contemporary Issues (PDF). p. 7.
  27. ^ Philips, Bilal (2002). Contemporary Issues (PDF). p. 41.
  28. ^ Gilligan, Andrew. "Hizb ut Tahrir is not a gateway to terrorism, claims Whitehall report". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  29. ^ "Controversial Canadian Muslim preacher Bilal Philips deported from Kenya over security concerns". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  30. ^ "Kenya : Cleric suspected of terror links deported - Standard Digital News". 2012-02-24. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  31. ^ Gilligan, Andrew. "Inextricably linked to controversial mosque: the secret world of IFE". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  32. ^ "Why does the BBC air Islamist propaganda?". The Spectator. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  33. ^ J. M. Berger, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, p 72. ISBN 1597976938
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ a b [1]
  36. ^ "Canadian preacher linked to terrorists found in Davao". 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  37. ^ "Philippines deports Bilal Philips". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  38. ^ "Controversial imam Bilal Philips says banning him won't stop his message". The Globe and Mail. 2014-09-15. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  39. ^ "Canadian imam Bilal Philips unwelcome in Philippines". Ottawa Citizen. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  40. ^ "Kill the Imams of the West" (PDF). Dabiq 1437 Rajab (April - May 2016). Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (14): 16. Retrieved 2016-04-30. Jamaican ally to Canada, Bilal Philips, has – like the rest of the apostates mentioned herein ...
  41. ^ Goodsteinmay 8, 2016, Laurie (8 May 2016). "Muslim Leaders Wage Theological Battle, Stoking ISIS' Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  42. ^ Halevi, Jonathan D. (13 April 2016). "ISIS names two Canadian imams in a new hit list" (1). CIJNews. CIJNews. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  43. ^ "ISIS Magazine Targets Sunni 'Apostates'". Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  44. ^ Titheradge, Sajid Iqbal and Noel (2016-07-28). "'Extremist' books remained in prisons despite warning". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  45. ^ "Prison authorities fail to remove Islamist, homophobic, anti-Semitic books distributed in UK jails". Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  46. ^ "6 blacklisted hate preachers 'not welcome' in Denmark". RT International. 2 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-07.