UK

Britain First 'Invades' Birmingham Islamic Bookshop

'This whole bloody place is a disgrace.'

17/04/2017 12:05 BST | Updated 17/04/2017 21:42 BST

Britain First has “invaded” an Islamic bookshop in Birmingham prompting local Christians, politicians and the police to spend Easter Sunday “uniting in peace”.

Members of the far-right group filmed themselves in the store on Alum Road as they aggressively confronted its owner and accused him of selling “extremist literature”. 

The stunt was in reaction to an article in the Daily Express which reported the shop allegedly sold an Islamic parenting guide that said Muslims should “keep alive in the children the spirit of jihad”.

In the video, the group’s leader Paul Golding, said: “So we’re inside a book centre in the middle of Alum Rock high street, it’s completely Muslim round here, we’ve already had people screaming and shouting at us.

“But we’ve come here because this shop was exposed in the newspapers as selling extremist literature, saying that Jews are evil, that homosexuals should be killed and saying jihad is fine.”

As the group left the store, Golding turned to the owner and said: “You’re a disgrace, this whole bloody place is a disgrace. You should be shut down.”

In response to the incident, local Labour Party councillor, Mariam Khan, CofE Vicar, Al Barrett and West Midlands Police spent Easter Sunday patrolling the street and offering reassurance to the community.

Khan told The Huffington Post UK: “There are people from outside of Birmingham who try to divide us and create community tensions and tension between people of different faiths.

“But they’re not the true reflection of what humanity is and of who Brummies are or what people who live in the community really feel about each other.

“What we did yesterday is a true reflection because I asked on Saturday evening if people from other church groups could come and give their time, on Easter Sunday, and they were willing to come out.

“That’s what a real neighbourly feeling is. And equally, the response towards them from the people in the Islamic bookshops show there are no ill feelings between people of different faiths.”

Khan also noted that members of Britain First had blocked people from entering the store whilst they were there. 

In the video, deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, said to the owner: “You’re working in a shop that sells that literature so you may not believe in it, but you tell me...

The owner responds: “You show me a book that’s related to it...”

“Your parenting guide, we’ve all seen it, you’ve been exposed,” says Fransen as she looks for the title but fails to find it.

She then directs her anger more generally: “I’ll show you the book - every single one of these evil Korans. Every single one of these.

“I’ve read the verses that say “cut the head off the kuffar until there is no disbelief other than everyone is for Allah.

“I’ve read it. I’ve read all of it. I’ve read the hadiths where it says ‘where there’s a Jew hiding behind a stone, we’ll say ‘come kill this Jew’.

“I’ve read it where it says women are worth half of men. I’ve read it. Where it says beat your wife is disobedient.”

As she walks out of the store, she shouts: “This is Great Britain, we don’t stand for those values in our country.”

The Daily Express report quotes the parenting guide bought from the bookshop in question, framing it as potentially “justifying violence”.

But according to Khan, the owner of the bookshop has no recollection of ever stocking or selling the book in question although they had received two telephone calls in the last few weeks requesting a copy.

Additionally, the quote itself only refers to jihad - which is not an intrinsically violent concept - in the face of “tyrants”.

They may be inspired to strive for the restoration of the glory of Islam and Muslims. Jihad of warfare is where all humans spend their energies to stop a tyrant from being oppressive, for example when a tyrant makes it difficult for people to fulfil the commands of Allah to propagate Islam. 

Tyrants must be subdued whether they rule in an Islamic or non-Islamic land, or whether they are on a battlefield.

It is the duty of Muslims to divert people from worshipping created things to the worship of the Almighty Allah alone.

The paper backs up criticism with a quote from the Henry Jackson Society, a right-wing think tank accused of anti-Muslim bigotry in the past.

Read literally sections of the Koran are indeed violent, misogynist and homophobic - and the same can be said of the Bible, which Britain First claim to follow (although they have previously been denounced by every single Christian denomination in the UK).

In 2009 the offbeat Christian website, Ship of Fools, compiled a list of the top 10 “worst” Bible passages.

1) On women

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

2) On Genocide

“This is what the Lord Almighty says... ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

3) On Witches

“Do not allow a sorceress to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

4) On the babies of enemies

“Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9)

5) On women as property

“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)

6) On homosexuality

“In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:27)

7) On sacrificing (your own) children for God

“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’” (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)

8) And again

‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ (Genesis 22:2)

9) On women, again

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)

10) On slavery

“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)

Britain First has been contacted for comment.

Birmingham has been the scene of a number of far-right protests in recent weeks since it was discovered the perpetrator of the Westminster terror attack last month was from the city.