Almost half of
The Times investigation casts serious doubts on government statements that foreign preachers are to blame for spreading the creed of radical Islam in
Mr ul Haq, 36, was educated and trained at an Islamic seminary in
Figures supplied to The Times by the Lancashire Council of Mosques reveal that 59 of the 75 mosques in five towns – Blackburn, Bolton, Preston, Oldham and
It is not suggested that all British Muslims who worship at Deobandi mosques subscribe to the isolationist message preached by Mr ul Haq, and he himself suggests Muslims should only "shed blood" overseas.
But while some Deobandi preachers have a more cohesive approach to interfaith relations, Islamic theologians say that such bridge-building efforts do not represent mainstream Deobandi thinking in
The Times has gained access to numerous talks and sermons delivered in recent years by Mr ul Haq and other graduates of
Intended for a Muslim-only audience, they reveal a deep-rooted hatred of Western society, admiration for the Taleban and a passionate zeal for martyrdom "in the way of Allah".
The seminary outlaws art, television, music and chess, demands "entire concealment" for women and views football as "a cancer that has infected our youth".
Mahmood Chandia, a Bury graduate who is now a university lecturer, claims in one sermon that music is a way in which Jews spread "the Satanic web" to corrupt young Muslims.
"Nearly every university in
Another former Bury student, Bradford-based Sheikh Ahmed Ali, hails the 9/11 attacks on
Mr ul Haq, the most high-profile of the new generation of Deobandis, runs an Islamic academy in
One sermon warns believers to protect their faith by distancing themselves from the "evil influence" of their non-Muslim British neighbours.
"We are in a very dangerous position here. We live amongst the kuffar, we work with them, we associate with them, we mix with them and we begin to pick up their habits."
In another talk, delivered a few weeks before 9/11, he praises Muslims who have gained martyrdom in battle and laments that today "no one dare utter the J word". "The J word has become taboo . .. The J word is jihad in the way of Allah."
The Times has made repeated attempts to get Mr ul Haq to comment on the content of his sermons. However, he declined to respond.
A commentator on religious radicalism in
Khaled Ahmed said: "The
In some mosques the sect has wrested control from followers of the more moderate majority, the Barelwi movement.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities said: "We have a detailed strategy to ensure imams properly represent and connect with mainstream moderate opinion and promote shared values like tolerance and respect for the rule of law. We have never said the challenge from extremism is simply restricted to those coming from overseas."
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