Paigham Mustafa, who remains the only person to be issued with a fatwa by religious leaders in the west, was visited at his home by detectives following the release of his new book The Quran: God’s Message to Mankind.
It argues that Islamic leaders in the UK are perpetuating falsehoods about the religious text, including the belief that Islam condones violence against non-Muslims, domestic violence and polygamy, that it requires women to cover their faces and that murder, including honour killings, can be justified.
Mustafa has spent more than a decade researching the book to highlight what he sees as widespread misrepresentation, despite the 2001 fatwa still being in place.
Issued jointly by 15 imams, it accused him of spreading ‘sedition’ and ‘satanic thoughts’ in magazines that he produced UK Muslims and compared him with Salman Rushdie, who was the subject of a fatwa declared by the Iranian government in response to his book, The Satanic Verses.
He was ostracised by family and friends and was forced to withdraw from social life, even missing his father’s funeral, because he feared violent repercussions. With the help of his then local MP Des Browne, a former Labour Defence Secretary, he sought, unsuccessfully, to have the fatwa withdrawn and it remains in place.
The 58 year-old father-of-three, who was raised a Sunni, discussed safety arrangements with CID officers at his home, amid fears of possible reprisals by extremists.
Earlier this year Asad Shah, a Glasgow shopkeeper, was stabbed to death by a fellow Muslim who accused him of ‘disrespecting’ Islam while Jalal Uddin, an imam from Rochdale, was battered to death by an Isis-supporting Muslim who accused him of practising a form of healing he deemed to be blasphemous.
Mustafa said: “The police visited my home after reading about my book in the media. They are concerned about the security risks that I and my family face after the book's publication and I fully understand that. Family and friends also contacted me following the media coverage to say they had seen negative comments on social media.
“The police wanted to offer security advice and I told them I thought that was a good idea so I’m meeting them next week to discuss the matter in more detail.”
Mustafa said that he has received messages of support for his stance and that he has no regrets. He added that he believed in the word of the Quran, and was troubled that it was being used falsely to justify terrorism violence and other practices that were harmful and unnecessary.
Mustafa is hosting several speaking events to discuss issues raised in his book. The first is being held at on November 23 at 6.30pm at The Coffee Pot, on Woodlands Road, Glasgow. The book is available online from www.signat.co.uk/, Amazon and in bookshops.
Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-truth-about-islam-how-the-qurans-message-has-been-hijacked-tickets-29324428154