A Ukip MEP called for an end to immigration from Islamic countries during a debate on the crimes of ISIS on January 20.
Gerard Batten, who represents London, argued that ISIS represents “a literalist interpretation” of the Qur’an.
Batten claimed that “ISIS represents a revival of the original ethos of the Mohammedan cult”. He defended these comments and told Religious Reader yesterday that “ISIS represents the worst excesses of the Mohammedan cult”.
When asked for further clarification he insisted that his purpose “was not to upset any individual but to talk about a belief system, an ideology”. Batten maintains that “Islam is of course a cult”. A ‘cult’ that “up until relatively recently was properly referred to as ‘Mohammedanism’ in the West'”.
This religious literalism, for Batten, remains antithetical to ‘western liberal democracy’. And drives his desire to end immigration from Islamic countries. As ‘importing millions’ from Islamic countries may constitute a security risk since “we cannot be sure of just how many of them take their religion literally?”
Batten holds little sympathy for men fleeing ISIS. He told Religious Reader that: “Most of the waves of migrants coming to Europe, and queuing up at Calais are not fleeing ISIS, they are fit young men who are economic migrants.
Most of them are not even from Syria. If they are fleeing ISIS then they have abandoned their own parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends rather than try and defend their own people from this threat.”
This ideological framework forms one part of his solution to defeating ISIS. The other concerns warfare. Batten calls for an alliance between western and Islamic nations who ‘don’t want to live under the barbarism of ISIS’.
Batten used his speech to claim that the Qur’an “speaks of making war on infidels, killing infidels, and striking terror into the hearts of infidels”.
Yet there is no concept of ‘holy war’ in the Qur’an, according to Dr Imam Mamadou Bocoum. Dr Bocoum also warns against divorcing the context of revelation from Quranic verses.
Batten, however, maintains that you cannot take Quranic verses out of context as they are the ‘words of Allah’. He claimed that “Mohammed himself had to later withdraw certain ‘Satanic verses’”.
He also called on Christian leaders to proselytize their faith to Muslims in Europe. As it provides the space for a ‘recruitment opportunity’ and ‘ideological crusade’. Batten insists that Christians are ‘frightened’ to promote their faith, but Muslims are not.
Gerard Batten is not without controversy when it concerns Islam or Muslims. In 2014, he defended the ‘Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding’. The document asks Muslims to sign a pledge of non-violence. Batten had lamented the fact that Europe had allowed “an explosion of mosques across their land“.
He commissioned Sam Solomon to produce the report in 2006. Solomon has shared platforms with the likes of Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders in the past.
Batten renewed calls for Muslims to sign this pledge of non-violence a day after the Paris atrocities last January. He justified this position to the Romford Recorder by arguing that the “bulk of terrorists are Muslim”.
He spoke at a ‘counter-jihad’ conference in Brussels in 2007. Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Bat Ye’or, Sam Solomon, and Paul Weston, now of Pegida UK, had also spoken at the event. Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller remain banned from entering the UK.
Gerard Batten maintains that he holds no ill-will towards individual Muslims. His interest in the matter remains ‘ideological’.
Batten ends our communication with a quote from Winston Churchill that concerns the ‘regressive’ nature of Islam.