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Subsidizing the Enemy By: Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 28, 2006

An Islamic school in London is teaching that non-Muslims are akin to pigs and dogs, and it is doing so with subventions from the British taxpayer. More alarmingly, when notified of this problem, the British authorities indicate they intend to do nothing about it.

The Times (London) reported on April 20 in “Muslim students ‘being taught to despise unbelievers as ‘filth’,” that the Hawza Ilmiyya, a Shi‘i institution, teaches from the writings of Muhaqqiq al-Hilli. This scholar lived from 1240 to 1326 and wrote the authoritative work on Shi‘i law (Shara’i‘ al-Islam). About non-believers, called kafirs, he taught:

The water left over in the container after any type of animal has drunk from it is considered clean and pure apart from the left over of a dog, a pig, and a disbeliever.

There are ten types of filth and impurities: urine, faeces, semen, carrion, blood of carrion, dogs, pigs, disbelievers.

When a dog, a pig, or a disbeliever touches or comes in contact with the clothes or body [of a Muslim] while he [the disbeliever] is wet, it becomes obligatory-compulsory upon him [the Muslim] to wash and clean that part which came in contact with the disbeliever.

In addition, a chapter on jihad specifies conditions under which Muslims should fight Jews and Christians.


Although Hilli’s attitudes were standard for a pre-modern Shi‘i, they are shocking for 2006 London. Indeed, several students in the Hawza Ilmiyya found them “disturbing” and “very worrying.” Their spokesman told the Times that students “are being exposed to very literalist interpretations of the Koran. These are interpretations that would not be recognised by 80 or 90 per cent of Muslims, but they are being taught in this school. A lot of people in the Muslim community are very concerned about this.” The spokesman concluded with an appeal urgently to re-examine “the kind of material that is being taught here and in other [Islamic] colleges in Britain.”


The Tehran regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sponsors the Hawza Ilmiyya; for example, three of the eight years in the curriculum are spent at institutions in the Iranian city of Qom. Indeed, the school’s 1996 founding memorandum states that “At all times at least one of the trustees shall be a representative of the Supreme Spiritual Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”


The institution that funds this school, the Irshad Trust, is a “registered charity” at the Charity Commission (see the trust’s page at the commission website), a privilege that qualifies it for various tax concessions; in other words, the British taxpayer is effectively subsidizing the school. In particular, the school benefits from a program called “Gift Aid,” under which the government refunds the income tax paid by the donor. Gifts made to registered charities can claim and receive a 28 percent tax refund. A gift of £100 to the Irshad Trust, for example, earns it £128.


A correspondent of mine, on reading the Times article, immediately complained to the Charity Commission and asked it to take steps concerning the Irshad Trust.  He got a quick reply:


Subject: RE: “non-Muslims are ‘filth’”
From: Monaghan-Smith Tracey
To: xx

Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dear Mr xx,

Thank you for your e-mail, the contents of which are noted. However, as per booklet CC47, the Commission will not become involved in this particular matter. You may wish to peruse the booklet in further detail, as this outlines our role quite clearly in this respect. The Commission will not look into this particular complaint. I hope this clarifies the position.


Mrs Tracey Monaghan-Smith
Charity Commission

Booklet CC47, titled “Complaints about Charities,” provides guidelines about commission procedures. The key phrase: “Complaints that the Commission will take up as regulator are, generally speaking, ones where there is a serious risk of significant harm or abuse to the charity, its assets, beneficiaries or reputation; where the use of our powers of intervention is necessary to protect them; and where this represents a proportionate response to the issues in the case.” Mrs Tracey Monaghan-Smith and her superiors have clearly concluded that the Hawza Ilmiyya is not causing “significant harm.”




(1) Ironically, even as some Muslim students attending the Hawza Ilmiyya find its teachings “disturbing” and “very worrying,” mandarins at the Charity Commission deem them not causing “significant harm.”


(2) The unbridled radicalism of the Hawza Ilmiyya fits a larger pattern of Islamic schools in the West teaching hostility to Jews and Christians or having links to terrorism. I document this pattern at “What Are Islamic Schools Teaching?” and “Troubles at Islamic Schools in the West.” 

(3) One can only assume that the Hawza Ilmiyya will go on its merry way, undeterred by the pleas for help by its students, the exposure of its practices, questions raised in parliament, and the complaints of citizens, and it will also continue to enjoy its 28 percent Gift Aid. Thus does the enemy’s infrastructure build in our midst.

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Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

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