This is a guest post by Umm Amina – a former Salafi sister
In the year 2001 I contacted the ‘Salafi’ communities at their main headquarters in the UK as I was searching for a good Islamic community and sincere Muslims who would help me learn about Islam and take my studies further. In 2004, disgusted by their behaviour, attitudes and bigotry, I left them for good. In this article I want to share my first hand experiences to raise awareness about the way ‘Salafis’ use Islam to prey on young and vulnerable women. Some people may find some of the contents of this article disturbing but I feel it is essential to bring them out if we are ever to recognise the damage being done by the so called Salafis.
I initially approached the Salafis in very high spirits. In 2001 I was living in Birmingham, I had read some of their books and had a lot of hope in their dawah and community. After contacting their headquarters I was introduced to other Muslim females who also wanted to study. I studied with Salafi groups in the Midlands for around 18months. It was during the second year of my studies that I began to realise that their form of Islam had no place in British society. They were teaching a separatist, isolationist and culturally backward form of religion. I was told I had to break all contact with my Sikh, Hindu and Jewish friends because they were cursed people and destined for Hellfire. Especially the Jews who were waging a war against humanity and specifically Islam. We were instructed to read The Elders of the Protocols of Zion to understand Jewish plots.
Most of the people in the study groups were converts/reverts. I was told by senior Salafi members that the majority of their recruitment took place in Prisons and brothel crowds because they were the easiest places to recruit from. The Salafi males were told to target young Muslim girls by setting up stalls outside universities. The Salafi females were taught to accept polygamy and discriminatory treatment from the males. The behaviour of senior members was also despicable, all they were interested was in marrying multiple wives. Many of them regularly beat their wives and one of the reasons their wives covered their faces was because of bruises. I remember one incident when a widowed Somali female married a Salafi Jamican convert. He ended up raping her and also sexually abusing her three year son. Some Salafi males would put the word out that they only wanted to marry females who would give them oral sex. One Salafi convert even said that he wanted a female who would take part in threesomes involving his other wife. Other incidents can be found here. Salafis were told to shout ‘Islamaphobia’ if the Police ever tried to investigate any of their ‘community affairs’, I was told this was a tried and tested tactic that always worked.
The Salafis also took great pride in proclaiming that they were the only ‘true’ Muslims and would regularly insult other Muslims. One Salafi leader once said in a public speech that he would rather spend the night with a paedophile then with an Ikhwani (non-Salafi) Muslim. They also regularly cursed Sufi Muslims saying they were all sinners beyond help and were destined for hell. Young Salafi men were encouraged to learn physical jihad and constantly had violence justified to them from warped religious teachings.
Disturbed by many of these incidents, when I tried to raise issues by posing questions and asking why things were the way they were, I was labelled and ostracised by the Salafi community and their leaders. I was also bullied and threatened with being boycotted if I didn’t agree with them and follow them blindly. At the time I thought it was just the ignorant Salafis in Birmingham who were behaving like this and so I decided to relocate to another area.
In 2002 I moved to Luton and lived in the Bury Park area which also had a large Salafi community. In Luton I wasn’t allowed to enter the Mosque because they believed females should only learn at home. I was also sexually harassed by one of their UK leaders and because I refused his advances I was insulted and slandered in front of other members of the Salafi community. This was an extremely upsetting experience for me. I eventually decided to write to one of the senior Salafi scholars ‘Sheikh Muhammad Abu Nasr’ (a student of Sheikh Albanee). He was coming from Jordan on a lecture tour to the UK and I thought this was a good opportunity for me to raise my concerns and also to seek his advice.
I attended one of his lectures and I had put my questions to the Sheikh in written form because females were not allowed to ask questions directly at Salafi events. To my disappointment I didn’t get any answers to questions. From the Sheikhs attempted replies I realised that he didn’t have any insight at all regarding the situation of Muslim females in the UK.
In Luton most of the Salafi males were well known for marrying and then quickly divorcing their wives. These wives would then be passed to other Salafi men who would do the same thing. In some places the divorce rate amongst Salafis was shocking, it had reached such a height that it had become like ‘wife swapping’. Some Salafi females I came across had been married and divorced five times in a very short space of time. Some of the married men also slept with non-Muslim women who they weren’t married to but said it was allowed because they saw them as slave girls. Some females left the community and moved on, others felt stuck and have remained married as the 3rd or 4th wife, treated badly with no rights. Many Muslim women who’ve suffered at their hands have ended up with depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Most alarmingly this is all taking place in modern day Britain!
Salafis claim to be the only true Muslims who follow the way of the Salaf. Every other Muslim is labelled as a sinner or innovator. They expect members of their community to cover for their evil and despicable ways and prey on vulnerable people by hiding behind labels such as ‘Salafi Manhaj, JIMAS and Salafi Publications etc. Some of these groups also receive funding from the Home Office for their interventions work in prisons.
The Salafis are an evil group whose teachings and indoctrination is planned and funded by Saudi Arabia. I have found them to be much more dangerous and cunning than even groups like Hizb-Ut-Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun. Some of them secretly support groups such as Al-Qaeda whilst others agree with violent Jihadist beliefs but believe they are not powerful enough yet to wage a war on Western countries.
I would like to encourage all Muslim females who are caught in their clutches and are being used/exploited by the so called ‘Salafi brothers’ to be brave and to not be scared of exposing them publically. If we don’t start doing this now then more and more will continue to suffer at the hands of these evil and wicked people who are abusing the name of Islam.