Center for Strategic Communication

[ by Charles Cameron — Omar Bakri Muhammad, al-Muhajiroun, Tom Jones and The Hour — also: hot-wiring the apocalypse, I think not ]

As we all know by now, it turns out that the primary Woolwich suspects were associated with al-Muhajiroun. Accordingly, a couple of days ago I watched John Ronson‘s recently reposted documentary about their sheikh, Omar Bakri Muhammad, titled Tottenham Ayatollah Revisited. Bakri is about as far from an ayatollah as two peas can get inside a single pod, but never mind, here’s the video:

At the 13.56 mark, Bakri is preparing to negotiate arrangements for a rally he hopes to hold in a venue that hosts a variety of events, and what I’d say is a majorly weird exchange between the director and Bakri is captured on film:

The rally is scheduled between a Tom Jones concert and a show called The wonderful World of Horses. Omar has never heard of Tom Jones, and he is shocked to discover that women throw their underwear onstage.

“Oh my God, is that a sign of the Hour, a sign of the Hour?”

Is it?

“Of course, people start take off their, you know, their own knickers and their underwear, that is sign of the Hours.”

Now, I happen to think Bakri is joshing about not knowing Tom Jones, but the form his joshing takes is interesting.

The Hour in question would be the Hour mentioned in the Quran:

They will question thee concerning the Hour, when it shall berth. What art thou about, to mention it? Unto thy Lord is the final end of it. Thou art only the warner of him who fears it. It shall be as if; on the day they see it, they have but tarried for an evening, or its forenoon. [Q 79.42-46]


They will question thee concerning the Hour, when it shall berth. Say: ‘The knowledge of it is only with my Lord; none shall reveal it at its proper time, but He. Heavy is it in the heavens and the earth; it will not come on you but suddenly!’ They will question thee, as though thou art well-informed of it. Say: ‘The knowledge of it is only with God, but most men know not.’ [Q 7.187]

and — perhaps most interestingly:

Those that believe not therein seek to hasten it; but those who believe in it go in fear of it, knowing that it is the truth. Why, surely those who are in doubt concerning the Hour are indeed in far error. [Q 42.18]


Hey. we’re in apocalyptic time again… Here’s my question:

We read quite often of the possibility that the Iranians — or Al-Qaida — might wish to “hot-wire the apocalypse” or “hasten the coming of the Mahdi”. I’d read that last verse as strongly suggestive that “hastening” might put one in the category of disbelief.

Is that an argument that has been offered against the idea, in either Sunni or Shi’a circles?