Islamists are known for their ultra-conservative views on alcohol, women and other aspects of western culture they routinely lambast as corrupt and haram (forbidden).
But it appears that such Islamic puritanism only goes so far - and where there's money to be made, even the most radical Islamists are ready to 'cut corners.'
One such organization is the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). Despite its friendly-sounding name, the IHRC is in fact an extremist group linked to the Iranian regime, and has expressed support for terrorist organisations and has promoted hate preachers, according to the anti-extremism group Stand For Peace.
The IHRC is particularly known for inviting speakers with violently anti-Semitic views. In 2010, the IHRC provided a platform to Nigerian Islamist preacher Ibrahim Zakzaky, head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, who has described Jews as “the lowest of creatures on earth…sons of monkeys and pigs.”
In 1994, the group's chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, spoke on a platform in Trafalgar Square in central London draped with a banner which read, ‘Death To The Enemies Of Islam’. In a briefing on the Lebanon crisis, the Shadjareh’s IHRC has called upon British Muslims to provide the terror group Hezbollah with ‘financial, logistical and informational support.'
Under Shadjareh, the IHRC also organises the annual Al Quds Day March in London, in which crowds chant, “We are all Hezbollah … with blood, with guns, we will free Palestine”.
As with other Islamist groups, the IHRC condemns the consumption and selling of alcohol. One of its reports, entitled ‘Quest for Unity’, declares:
"The greatest underminer and saboteur of discipline and confidence is alcoholism as well as so-called social drinking.
"No amount of rationalisation is going to change the fact that alcohol is the curse of the oppressed people and a boon for the oppressors. Not only is the oppressor making enormous profits from liquor but it also totally immobilizes and paralyses the critical faculties of the oppressed.
"We submit, therefore, that it isn’t only an obligation on Muslims to be teetotallers, it is the revolutionary duty of all the oppressed people to refrain from:
"l) Producing liquor; ll) Distributing liquor; lll) Consuming liquor."
But the IHRC has now been accused of “rank hypocrisy”, after it emerged that it has invested thousands of pounds in a chain of bars that encourages its clientele to “unleash your inner animal."
The Baa Bar Group, in which the IHRC’s charitable trust’s filed accounts show it held £38,250 in shares, operates a string of swanky bars across the North West of England where revelers can “follow their own deepest of animal instincts."
While the company’s image could not be more at odds with the IHRC’s fundamentalist Islamic values, it is part of a strategy used by many Islamist groups to further their ultimate goals, according to Jacob Campbell, Stand For Peace's Head of Research:
"Although bizarre on the face of it, it actually isn't all that surprising," said Campbell.
"Islamist groups tend to take the view that the ends invariably justify the means," he added. "We know, for instance, that Hezbollah relies heavily upon drug-smuggling to raise revenue. Al-Qaeda terrorists often immerse themselves rather enthusiastically in the local nightlife, ostensibly to evade detection."
"So what's a little profiteering if it hastens the return of the Twelfth Imam?" asks Campbell, referencing the Shi'a Muslim belief in a Muslim messiah, "Better by far to become morally bankrupt than financially so!"