Omer El-Hamdoon and Discrimination against Ex-Muslims
In Deeyah Khan’s film, Islam’s Non Believers, Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), justifies the discrimination and ostracisation against ex-Muslims in Britain and portrays Islam’s nonbelievers are ‘outside the human norms’:
Here is a quote from the film:
Omer El-Hamdoon: The Muslim community is a community that is based on religion. So if a person chooses to stop being a Muslim they can’t really expect that the Muslim community is still gonna say to them you are part of our community
Deeyah: Why not?
Omer El-Hamdoon: Because you left Islam, you’ve left the religion. Families do need to try to resolve their issues by sitting together, talking together about matters, but I do understand that you know, if a family holds religion very deep to their heart, that when they see one of their family members has left religion, they feel a sense of betrayal. And obviously a lot of people will just say, look I can’t deal with this, so I just shun that member out, because he’s betrayed me.
Islam does put a big emphasis on faith, sometimes somebody might have to reject something or a certain person because of their attitude towards faith, that can happen.
Deeyah: Would you do that? Do you have children?
Omer El-Hamdoon: Yes, I have children.
Deeyah: Would you reject your children?
Omer El-Hamdoon: I wouldn’t reject my child, my approach would be to sit with them and discuss with them, no I wouldn’t shun them off but I suppose they would expect that things aren’t the same, if a child goes against your say general plan, expectation. If they go against you, you might feel, ok you are still my son, daughter, but I wasn’t expecting that off you.
El Hamdoon: That’s normal perspective, in the eyes of religion you have done something wrong, because religion expects you to stay religious and you’re saying I don’t want to be religious, so of course they are going to say to you, you are no longer favourable in our eyes. Doesn’t mean we discriminate against you, doesn’t mean we treat you badly or incite hatred or violence or whatever, or abduct you or force marry you or whatever,
Deeyah: People do that.
El Hamdoon: They do that and that’s wrong, we have to reject that. How we treat people is the same, we don’t discriminate but our love cannot be the same, it’s just human behaviour. Islam is a pragmatic religion, it doesn’t expect people to behave outside the human norms.’
Whilst clearly defending discrimination against ex-Muslims, El Hamdoon says no-one is compelled to be a Muslim and that people can leave of their own free will and shouldn’t be punished.
When asked on Twitter whether he supported the death penalty for apostasy in an ideal Islamic state, he refused to give a straight answer (see below).