Saddique Hussain, who manages the Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif in Birmingham, faced backlash in August when he shared a video on Facebook showing armed Taliban leaders in Kabul’s presidential house reciting from the Quran. Above the video, he commented: “How beautiful and civilised and no ‘I’. May Allah SWT guide us on to His beautiful religion.”
Mr Hussain later removed the post, saying that it had been “ill-advised”.
Labour councillor Ian Ward, the leader of Birmingham City Council, has since told a fellow councillor, Safia Noor Akhtar, it is “sensible” for her not to work with Mr Hussain because of concerns over his post, according to Birmingham Live.
Mr Hussain said this amounts to “discrimination”.
“It is naive and disappointing that rather than approach me directly about this, the leader of the council has told a councillor not to speak to me.
“I think this is discriminatory.”
After removing his social media post in August, Mr Hussain attempted to reassure concerned members of his mosque that “I never have supported the Taliban and regret any offence caused by my actions”.
He wrote – again on Facebook – that before publishing his post, he had not properly appreciated that “the men [in the video] were armed”.
He claimed to also not have appreciated that “the group included individuals who were likely to be Taliban officials” or that “any comment on the post might be taken as a comment on those pictured rather than a comment on the recitation”.
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“… Allegations have been made about Mr Hussain that have been referred to the Charity Commission and therefore it seems sensible that Councillor Akhtar awaits the outcome of any investigation.”
In a statement published on the mosque’s official Facebook page, it was suggested that the council’s actions could be the result of anti-Islamism.
It criticised the council for not approaching the mosque to engage in community work together.
“We are shocked and at a loss to why the council do not want to work with a community based charity and its partners,” it said.
“Is it because we are an Islamic faith based organisation, or is it we are becoming proactive in representing the wider needs of our neighbourhood, or is it both?”
A Charity Commission spokesperson told Birmingham Live that the organisation is “aware of ongoing local concern about this charity”.
“We are actively engaging with the trustees around these issues and cannot comment further whilst this is under way,” they added.