Sheikh Asrar Rashid is active within British Muslim faith circles and has been a preacher for some years now.
The sad fact is that Sheikh Asrar Rashid, incorporates a politicised and aggressive narrative within his religious edicts. Whilst religious leaders have sometimes historically strayed into political speech, we have to highlight the deeply corrosive speech that Asrar Rashid gave on the 13th of June 2021, at a lecture entitled ‘Al-Aqsa and the future of Islam and ‘Free Palestine’.
This is the You Tube video: https://youtu.be/vdQ9fkmPRKM.
We have listed excerpts of the video below highlighting some of the comments by Asrar Rashid:
1:13 mins: “Remember in Jerusalem, the Olive Tree is the tree of the Palestinians and the Boxthorn tree is the tree of the Jews. So the Olive tree has deep roots and it gives shade and it gives olives and oil – benefit. The boxthorn tree was known as the tree of the Jews even in the time of the messenger of Allah, (Muhammad). It also has deep roots but it is just thorns and they (Jews) preferred this tree over the date and olive trees. But the olive tree is known as the tree of the Palestinians and the Israeli occupying forces are known to uproot the trees of the Palestinians. So even planting an olive tree in Palestine is an act of Jihad.”
“And retaking the land forcefully, by force, is an act of Jihad. That if a Muslim goes there and he takes the land, if this Jacob, this Jew from America, can go and claim a house of a Muslim family in Sheikh Jarrah, then every Muslim in the world has a right to go back to Palestine and forcefully take the house of the settlers. I mean they belong to Muslims.”
1:18:43: “Today some people think that the Arabs were treacherous to the Ottoman Caliphate. This is incorrect. There were two groups from amongst the Arabs who were treacherous. Who were the two groups? One was the Sharif of Mecca who was treacherous and from his progeny is the Jordanian Royal Family. And the second was the Al-Saud who govern the Arabian peninsular today. But David Lloyd George from the British Cabinet at the time mentioned two things if you read the historical accounts, they mention two things. One, they were unable to communicate because remember, you have ‘uncle toms’ everywhere in India and Pakistan, otherwise how was a small nation like Britain able to govern a nation of millions.”
“You still have these Uncle Toms. You have this Uncle Tom who goes to Israel – ‘occupied Palestine’ and lays down flowers at the graves of Holocaust victims, these people will never recite Al-Fatiha for Hamas fighters for instance. Yes, they will deem them or designate them as terrorists. Which is fine, you want to deem them as terrorists, that is your opinion, but they will recite their Al-Fatiha for those people who died in the Holocaust. Of course, Holocaust victims were innocent people, they were innocent people, but the fact that you go under the Israeli occupation and go to that place and ignore the Palestinian cause and the Muslim cause of emancipating the city of Jerusalem, and then when you do release a statement regarding what is happening, your statement is neither here nor there. The statement is not unequivocal. So we still have these Uncle Toms….”
1:24.00: “This is why the Caliphate will descend on the city of Jerusalem and this is the future of Al-Islam. It is interlinked and intertwined with the future of Jerusalem. So even when Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of the occupied state of Palestine, Muslims as a whole and Muslim Ulema as a body should declare and must declare the city of Jerusalem as the future of the Islamic Caliphate. This is an important action.”
The statements made by this preacher are abhorrent, particularly suggesting that Muslims who visit places of the Holocaust in Israel are ‘Uncle Toms’. The use of force to take material items from people in Israel is also unacceptable. Everyone has the right to challenge political ideology and we in Muslims Against Antisemitism believe that any form of racism, prejudice or intolerance, whether directed at Israelis of Arab or Jewish heritage, should be roundly condemned. However, the use of force is not acceptable.
We believe that Asrar Rashid should answer for these statements. His words will have an impact as a religious leader and can influence minds.