London, Sept.26 : The Muslim community in Britain has decided to purge spiritual leaders (imams) who remain silent on the issue of domestic abuse, including incidents of women being burnt, lashed and raped in the name of Islam.
A Times report says that Muslim scholars will present the names of imams who have refused to help abused women to the Gordon Brown Government. The community will also target imams, who have refused to speak out against domestic abuse in their sermons.
Some of Britain's most prominent moderate imams and female Muslim leaders have backed the campaign, urging the Home Office to vet more carefully Islamic spiritual leaders coming to Britain to weed out hardliners.
A four-month inquiry by the Centre for Islamic Pluralism into domestic abuse has uncovered harrowing tales of women being raped, burnt by cigarettes and lashed with belts by their husbands, who believe it is their religious right to mistreat them.
At least 40 female Muslim victims and many social workers from northern England - including Bradford, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham - were interviewed as part of the inquiry, which is to be published next month. The organization's international director, Irfan al-Alawi, told The Times that he would be forwarding the names of the imams to the Home Office, which has promised to investigate the allegations.
He called for them to be stripped of any government grants that they may be receiving. He is also seeking legal advice about exposing the imams at public lectures and forums throughout the country.
Yousif al-Khoei, spokesman for the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (Minab) - a government approved body set up to improve the standards among British imams - admitted that some clerics condoned domestic violence although he said it was a "minority practice".
However, he gave warning against the idea of publicly identifying imams, saying that would risk turning them into "martyrs" within their own community.
While the number of domestic violence cases has almost doubled in the last three years, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, the figures fail to reflect the physical abuse cases within the Muslim community.