The British government has suspended payment of a £2.175 million grant to a mosque in Birmingham after a social media clip went viral of its imam giving a sermon on how to stone a woman “correctly” for adultery and appearing to incite the murder of homosexuals.
The footage, which surfaced late last month, purports to show the head imam of the Green Lane Mosque, Sheikh Zakaullah Saleem, preaching the teachings of Sharia law on how to serve justice on unfaithful women.
He described how a hole must be dug in the ground and the woman buried up to her waist. She “must be covered up to half of the body” where she will then be “punished” by being “stoned to death,” he explained.
The mosque had recently received government funding for community programs including educational courses for young people, a grant that has since been suspended by the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) while it “investigates the recent allegations.”
The mosque insisted the clip had been taken out of context as part of a targeted hate campaign against the institution.
“At no point did the imam call for sharia law or suggest this was advocated, never. We believe it was deliberately taken out of context, an attempt to put us in our place,” said a mosque spokesperson.
However, Green Lane Mosque has long been shrouded in controversy amid allegations of extremism and featured in a 2007 Channel 4 documentary called Undercover Mosque that accused the Muslim institution of spreading messages of “hate and segregation.”
During the program, a preacher at the mosque was heard saying that “Allah has created the woman deficient,” while another told attendees that if a girl “doesn’t wear the hijab, we hit her.”
Other recordings discussed how children should be hit if they didn’t pray, while one preacher said: “The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won’t get killed unjustly.”
Abu Usamah al-Thahabi, an influential imam at the mosque has also previously been recorded targeting homosexuals, referring to them as “perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered.”
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police recently confirmed it had reviewed the recent viral clip that sparked uproar online but would not be taking any further action against the imam.
“We are satisfied that there are no criminal offenses,” they said.