Move along the bus, please. Allah is waving his begging bowl

Jules Gomes comments on the fundraising campaign being waged by Islamic Relief

I keep bumping into Allah in London because this Ramadan, Allah is riding on a lot of double-decker British buses. My nephew who has just arrived from Mumbai, is confused. It’s his first time abroad and I’m showing him the sights. He’s already had a stopover in Riyadh and heard the Koran cantillated to him on the plane before take off. The poor chap couldn’t even wet his gills on the flight as Allah had banned all booze. Now Allah has followed my nephew all the way to London!

We take in the glories of London’s Christian art and architecture and even hear an outstanding rendition of Handel’s ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ at Westminster Cathedral. But dear old Allah, egged on by his Chief Publicity Officer Mayor Sadiq Khan, keeps interrupting our tour of the capital and begging us for a bob or two.

It seems like Allah’s pocket money from the oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf is running out and it’s time for all good Londoners to come to the aid of the party. So Britain’s biggest Muslim charity, Islamic Relief, has to beg on his behalf and tug at our heartstrings from the billboards of the red London buses.

Islamic Relief (no pun intended, unless you want to donate to the charity to offer you some relief from Islam!) has also targeted cities such as Manchester where Allah will be busking on buses and asking you to give him and his flock a humanitarian helping hand. Allah will also feature on 82 underground trains in Glasgow.

Mind you, if Transport for London advertised Jesus with a begging bowl on public transport, every Left-wing termite would take a break from gnawing at the foundations of Western civilisation and emerge from the woodwork fuming at how offensive the Christian advertising is to people of other religions and none.

Remember how the progressive termites banned a one-minute film on the Lord’s Prayer from being screened during Christmas in cinema chains fearing moviegoers would catch bubonic gospelitis if they watched it? The Church of England bishops, who couldn’t organise a booze-up in a brewery, were spluttering hot and cold but could do very little to overturn the ban.

Remember how Richard Dawkins, high priest of atheism, organised his campaign in 2009 with the sappy slogan emblazoned on British buses: ‘There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’ There’s probably no god? Not so certain, are you, Dicky boy?

The irony is so delicious I could savour it for months. Militant atheists have done their damnedest to run Christianity through the paper shredder and now like a nightmare from the seventh century pops up the ghost of Mo and thumbs his nose at Dawkins from the very buses that ran the atheist campaign. Incidentally, Mo doesn’t like cartoons and hasn’t got a funny bone in his body, but Dawkins and much of godless England has to shut up and put with the phrase ‘glory to Allah’ (Subhan Allah) on the buses and can’t do a thing to stop it.

The only resistance comes from social media wags who have conjured up a meme of the London bus blown up by an Islamic terrorist with the counter-slogan: ‘Muslims have always loved those red London buses’.

Islamic Relief first ran its campaign in May 2016 and it seems to have been so successful that the charity has revived its fundraising drive with a new slogan: ‘For the Love of Allah save a life now’. The question, of course, is save whose life?

The question is a valid one when an Islamic charity is targeting the general public. The primary form of Islamic charity is zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a form of socialist giving where the wealth taken from the rich is given to the poor. In Islamic law, it is a tax levied on all Muslims. As a tax, it requires a political structure to enforce it. Paying zakat is essential for achieving Paradise and non-payment may lead to eternal damnation.

The problem is that zakat is not usually given to aid non-Muslims unless they display leanings toward Islam. One current Muslim missionary practice has been to offer aid both to needy Muslims and non-Muslims as a means to converting non-Muslims. This has worked in many poorer countries of Asia and Africa.

Muslims are also invited to make freewill offerings or sadaqah, which may be given to a dhimmi or ‘protected person’ (a euphemism for second-class citizen) who has submitted to Islamic rule but has not converted from Judaism or Christianity to Islam. Instead of receiving help from Muslims, dhimmis are forced to pay a special tax called jizya.

Muslim leaders have suggested a system of deducting zakat from the secular tax Muslims pay in non-Islamic countries based on the claim that zakat is earmarked for social benefits and hence helpful to all citizens. But this has been seen as yet another way of introducing Islam into secular nations by stealth.

An illuminated billboard asking ‘Muslims of London’ to ‘Pay your Zakat locally’ greeted me in the shopping mall as I walked with Jeremy out of Canary Wharf station. The appeal by the National Zakat Foundation claimed that the zakat was ‘so we can make a difference with it right here in our city’. It doesn’t tell us what ‘difference’ it wants to make. Using it to convert Londoners to Islam would most certainly be making a difference.

Islamic Relief very carefully delineates the recipients of its charity from the bus appeal. ‘Donations to Islamic Relief during Ramadan will mean Muslims can support survivors of humanitarian emergencies in countries including Syria, Myanmar, Yemen and Palestine. We also help some of the poorest and most-marginalised people in the UK.’ You can bet your last dinar no Syrian Christian is going to benefit from your dole (unless they are interested in becoming Muslim).

A Jewish joke book tells of a priest, pastor and rabbi discussing how they decided what to do with the weekly congregational collection. ‘I draw a circle and stand in the circle. I then throw the collection in the air. What falls inside the circle is mine. What falls outside, I give to God,’ said the Catholic priest. The Protestant pastor explained he did the same, but what fell inside the circle went to God and what fell outside he kept as his stipend. The rabbi arched his eyebrows, stroked his beard and explained: ‘I don’t bother with a circle. I just throw my collection in the air. What God wants, God keeps. What falls down, I keep.’

I suspect the rabbi may have drawn his theology from the prophet Micah who warns of the corruption of charity and the fact that God does not go begging for our dosh. ‘Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? . . . He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ If a religious group decides to inscribe this verse on our buses and tubes, I’ll be the first to contribute to the campaign.

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