What do English judges do when issues involving Islam and sharia appear in their courtrooms? Why, they remain blissfully unaware, of course, as Michael Copeland explains in his latest essay.
The Lamentable Shortcomings of Some English Judges and Senior Lawyers
by Michael Copeland
English judges have shown themselves to be lamentably lacking in knowledge of Islam. They confidently make statements which can easily be shown to be erroneous. What they express are assumptions, not grounded in scholarship. Recent cases demonstrate this assertion.
Mr. Justice Sweeney
Mr. Justice Sweeney presided over the trial in 2014 of the killers of Lee Rigby. One of them was Mujaahid Abu Hamza, formerly Michael Adebolajo, from Nigeria. He had converted to Islam and had been mentored and trained by Anjem Choudary. A diligent student of Islam, he had prepared from the Koran a list of some thirty-one Islamic scriptural authorisations and commands for the killing of non-muslims, which he handed to a passer-by after the gruesome murder.
The Koran has a very significant status: its text, all of it, forms part of Islamic law. No-one may alter any part of it: “None may change his words” (18:27). No-one may disregard any part of it. One who denies any verse instantly ceases to be a muslim and has to be killed as an apostate (Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller, o8.7(7)). The killing can be performed vigilante-style by anyone, and is penalty-free “since it is killing someone who deserves to die” (o8.4). Control is total: there is no room for conscientious objection.
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision” (K. 33:36)
The doctrines set out in the texts are neither negotiable nor optional. Muslims are not permitted to choose: they are instructed. Dr. Salah al-Sawy, the Secretary-General of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America, issued a ruling, or fatwa, citing the above verse:
For things which have been stipulated in the texts of Islam, the Ummah [Muslim community] possesses no power except to acknowledge and obey.
The teachings of the Koran, advises imam Ahmed Saad of North London Central Mosque, “are universal and trans-time”: they are promoted as “valid from eternity to eternity”, explains Sam Solomon, former Professor of Sharia Law. Non-muslims, kafirs, are “unclean” (9:28), “the vilest of beasts” (8:22), as “apes and pigs” (5:60), “the most despicable” (98:6). They are to be regarded with “enmity and hatred forever” (60:4). “Kill them wherever you find them” commands the Koran (2:191, 9:5). Instruction after instruction in the Koran mandates violence against kafirs.
Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest Sunni Muslim religious authority in the world, makes the obligation clear:
Muslims must kill non-believers wherever they are unless they convert to Islam.
Lee Rigby’s killer explained to the passer-by who recorded him on a video:
We are forced by the Koran, in Sura At-Tawba…
Sura At-Tawba is Chapter Nine of the Koran. It does, indeed, at verse 5, command muslims “Kill the idolaters (“mushrikun’) wherever you find them”. “Idolaters” in Islam include Christians, because Islam holds, erroneously, that they worship the Cross. The Koran, it needs to be explained, is not arranged in chronological order. Chapter Nine is, in fact, the latest complete chapter. As such, it has a potent distinction under Islam’s doctrine of “abrogation”. It overrides and “abrogates” all the earlier peaceful verses. It is the final word.
All this was clear to Mujaahid Abu Hamza. Evidently, though, none of it was known to Judge Sweeney. Judges, in fairness, are qualified in English law. No part of their training includes Sharia law, the rules of Islam. The judge evidently shared the widely held, though erroneous, English fair play/goodwill assumption that Islam is benign, a Religion of Peace. He exposed his lack of knowledge in what he said to the defendants:
You each converted to Islam some years ago. Thereafter you were radicalised and each became an extremist — espousing a cause and views which, as has been said elsewhere, are a betrayal of Islam and of the peaceful Muslim communities who give so much to our country.
At that point the two defendants howled and shouted in protest, knowing, as they did and the judge did not, that what they had done was not a betrayal at all, but a dutiful fulfilment of Islam’s commands. They were conducted out of the court room. Of course, this enabled the media to represent them as wild and fanatical misunderstanders, thus prolonging the nation’s ignorance.
Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave
Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave presided over the trial of the young London Tube jihadi, whose bomb fortunately malfunctioned at Parsons Green Station, burning strongly but not exploding. Sentencing him, the judge said:
You’ll have plenty of time to study the Koran in prison…the Koran is a book of peace.
Robert Spencer wrote:
Has Mr Justice Haddon-Cave ever actually read the Qur’an? Almost certainly not; otherwise he wouldn’t have gone on record with this spectacularly asinine and counterfactual statement.
The Koran is no book of peace. Voltaire assessed it scathingly:
[It] teaches fear, hatred, contempt for others. Murder as a legitimate means of spreading and maintaining this devil’s doctrine. It denigrates women, divides people into classes and demands blood and more blood.
Gladstone held up a copy in the House of Commons and told Members:
So long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world.
Yusuf al Qaradawi, spiritual advisor to the Muslim Brotherhood, confirms the point:
No peace can be made between us and the non-believers. This what our holy book says. This what Allah says.
The Indian sage Dayanand Saraswati described the Koran in 1883 as “an incentive to war, and propagator of hostility”.
There is no justification for anyone to maintain that the Koran is a book of peace.
Max Hill QC
Max Hill QC is not a judge, but a senior lawyer with the same legal background as judges, that is, with no training in Islamic law. An article about him is at the Gatestone Institute. To quote (edited into sections):
Britain’s terrorism watchdog, Max Hill QC (Queen’s Counsel), recently told a parliamentary committee that it is “fundamentally wrong to attach the word ‘terrorism’ to any of the world religions,” and suggested that the term “Daesh-inspired terrorism” should be used instead of “Islamist terrorism” to refer to attacks carried out by Muslims (“Daesh” is the Arabic acronym for ISIS).
His recommendation comes despite the fact that Hill himself, whose official title is Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, referred to the “threats from Islamist terrorism” in his first report, released in January. In that first report, Hill also argued that “what [Islamic terrorists] claim to do in the name of religion is actually born from an absence of real understanding about the nature of the religion they claim to follow.”
How impressive that he knows more about their religion than they do, despite the fact that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, received a PhD in Koranic Studies…
The author, A.Z. Mohamed, is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.
“Daesh” is the acronym for “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham”, which is simply the Arabic for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — ISIS. The Islamic identity of the group features in both languages. Insisting on “Daesh” is a smokescreen, and not a particularly honest one.
To apply his own phrase, what Max Hill QC says about Islamic terrorism is borne from an absence of real understanding — and knowledge — about the nature of the religion he claims to speak for.
What do Islam’s spokesmen say?
“Every muslim is a terrorist.” — Zakir Naik.
“The Quran directly commands us to commit terrorism, so why are we afraid of it?” —
Ragab Hilal Hamida, Egyptian MP, in the Egyptian Parliament, January 2006
“Violence is the heart of Islam.” — Ayatollah Yazdi
Koran 8.60: “Turhibunna” — Terrorise them!
Koran 8.12: “I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers”
“Terrorism is a part of Islam!” — Abu Izzadeen
“…the Quranic military strategy thus enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies….” — Brigadier General S. K. Malik, The Quranic Concept of War, pp. 116-7
“I have been made victorious with terror” — Mohammed, the “beautiful pattern” for Muslims.
The message is clear enough.
Judge Paul Glenn
Judge Paul Glenn presided over the trial of a demonstrator at a rally in Stoke-on-Trent. This was a rally against “grooming gangs” and Islamic extremism. A counter-demonstration created loud opposition and engendered “clashes”. The prosecutor informed the judge:
He is seen on the footage repeatedly shouting anti-Muslim abuse. He made it clear he was anti-Muslim and directly criticised the Koran.
This is “painting”. Stop for a moment. Let it be clearly stated that there is no offence of “being anti-Muslim”, nor of “shouting”, and no crime of “criticising the Koran”. Quite possibly the prosecution conflated anti-Muslim with anti-Islam. These are two clearly different subjects: they deserve to be kept separate. As it happens, Islam itself is strongly anti-Christianity and anti-Judaism. Islam classifies these as “remnant cults now bearing the names of formerly valid religions”, and it is “unbelief (kufr)” to hold that they are “acceptable to Allah” (Manual of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveller, w4). Islam is also anti-Hinduism, anti-Buddhism, in fact, anti-all other religions and anti-Atheism as well. Atheists are beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Further, Islam is anti-any system of governance that is non-Islamic, such as democracy, monarchy, or communism. Islam does not tolerate other systems, and commands that it has to govern, to “dominate”. That is its mission.
The Koran is not exempt from criticism. It says the earth is flat (20:53) and that the sun sets in a muddy pool (18:86). It states “The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the son of Allah’” (9:30). Each one of these statements is factually wrong, and deserves to be critiqued. There are many other inconsistencies in it.
The accused was “shouting anti-Muslim abuse.” Shouting is quite normal in demonstrations. It is not a crime. Some shouts can be quite abusive: this is called “a robust exchange”. There were counter-demonstrators shouting, “Nazi scum! Off our streets!” Were they penalised?
The account does not say what the defendant shouted. The content has to be surmised from Judge Glenn’s reproach to him. Here it is:
You seem to equate all those of Muslim heritage with paedophilia, grooming gangs, Muslim extremism and terrorism. You are unable to keep those views to yourself.
Each subject deserves to be examined.
Adherents of Islam, “all those of Muslim heritage”, as the judge expressed it, are indeed associated with under-age sex. This is because Islam itself, all over the Islamic world, is associated with under-age sex. There is no age of consent in Islam. Girls, the property of their fathers, can be sold and married off at nine lunar years (eight years and nine months), because that is the age at which Aisha’s marriage to the 54-year old Mohammed was consummated. This is according to Aisha’s own testimony in Islam’s source texts. In some Islamic countries girls can be, and are, married at six, because that is the age at which Aisha was married to Mohammed. Mohammed provides the “beautiful pattern” to follow, and he is Islam’s “perfect man”.
It is ironic that the Stoke Sentinel’s page with the rally report contains an inserted link:
Paedophile PE teacher jailed for having sex with underage girl in alley after grooming her at Stoke-on-Trent school
In a different previous case it was Judge Sweeney (see above) who said this:
the age gap between you and your victim was a very considerable one.
Such a consideration is of no consequence to followers of the Perfect Man.
What the media call “grooming gangs” are, in fact, Islamic sex-slave networks. Girls are entrapped by false romancing: once taken, often with drugs or alcohol, they are blackmailed or forced into compliance by violence, or by threats to them and their families. Thereafter they are marketed to paying customers. “Lawful unto you”, says Koran 4:24 (part of Islamic law), “are what your right hands possess”. That means slaves.
“Slavery is a part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam,” explains Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, professor, imam, and eminent Saudi scholar.
“Sex slaves are not forbidden by Islam”, confirms a Mufti in Mecca. Islam’s sex slaves have been in the news in recent years. An armed night raid by muslims in army uniforms on a Christian girls’ boarding school in Nigeria took more than 240 teenage schoolgirls to be made sex slaves. There have been slave markets in the Islamic State, of helpless captive Yazidi women and girls. Slavery has never been abolished in Islam. Slavery, sex-slavery in particular, is a specifically Islamic phenomenon. Islam authorises muslim men to “take” girls from other religions as their right:
“Their women are yours to take. Allah made them yours. Why don’t you enslave them?”, said Sheikh Saad al Beraik. Taking and raping girls is part of jihad. It is a means of imposing Islamic dominance and humiliation on non-muslim people, the kafirs, who, in Islamic law, occupy “Dar al Harb”, the Realm of War, where jihad is an obligation. It is “the penalty for disbelief”, said Ishaq Ilani. In town after town scandal after scandal of Islamic sex-slavery of young English girls has angered the British in recent years. The State and the media have been engaged in covering them up. The phenomenon is certainly associated with “all those of Muslim heritage”. It is standard Islam.
Here is the UK government’s definition of extremism, in their “Prevent” strategy:
Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs…
Islam is, indeed, vocally and actively opposed to all those matters listed. Opposition to them is basic Islamic doctrine. An internet search of muslim placards will confirm that within seconds. Here are examples:
- Democracy go to Hell
- Democracy is Hypocrisy
- Muslims reject democracy and secularism!
- Freedom go to Hell
- Liberalism go to Hell
- Freedom of expression go to Hell
- British police go to Hell
- Anglian Soldiers go to Hell
- British Government terrorist government
- Down with England
- Muslims rise against the Crusaders
- Establish Islamic Emirates
- The Muslim nation is one nation to the exclusion of all others
- Sharia the future for UK
- Sharia the only solution
- Islam is the perfect system for all mankind
- Islam will dominate the world
“I am telling you that my religion doesn’t tolerate other religion. It doesn’t tolerate,” said Abu Bakr, Algerian-born cleric, in Australia.
“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him,” says Koran 3:85, part of Islamic law.
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males …to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world,” said Ayatollah Khomeini.
Hassan al-Banna, the co-founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, confirms the same:
It is a duty incumbent on every Muslim to struggle towards the aim of making every people Muslim and the whole world Islamic…
“Extremism” is self-evidently something promoted by Islam. It is perfectly justifiable and accurate to associate “all those of Muslim heritage” with those actions.
“I have been made victorious with terror,” said Mohammed. The use of terror is a specifically Islamic tactic. Again it is entirely justifiable to associate it with “all those of Muslim heritage”. See above, under Mr. Justice Sweeney.
Judge Glenn objected that the defendant seemed “to equate all those of Islamic heritage” with those topics, yet all four are demonstrably associated with Islam. Evidently he is not familiar with Islam’s teachings. To be fair, Islamic law and doctrine form no part of a judge’s training. The information, though, is readily available.
The news report does not mention any racism by the defendant. However, the judge said, “I find you are highly racist”. Without details this remains unexplained. Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, clarifies this issue:
Islam is an ideology. It’s not a race.
The judge continued:
Racism is evil and there is no doubt whatsoever that these offences are so serious that only immediate custody is appropriate.
The defendant pleaded guilty to two charges of racially or religiously-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Judge Glenn’s final reproach is puzzling:
You are unable to keep those views to yourself.
Does the Judge not uphold English law’s Freedom of Speech? Is he implying that there is some duty to keep views to oneself? Those matters were the whole origin of the protest. How can a democratic protest take place without the expression of views? The judge holds this against the defendant. Why?
Is it any surprise that people talk about Two-Tier Justice when it comes to Islam?
For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.