Anti-voting Islamic stickers posted in St Albans dismissed as "childish"
PUBLISHED: 12:01 30 April 2015
Yellow stickers warning Muslims in St Albans against voting in the upcoming General Election have been flyposted outside mosques, prompting concerns about intimidatory tactics.
Up to 100 stickers saying “Warning Voting for Man-made law is Shirk Associating with Allah” were illegally stuck on lampposts, junction boxes and other public furniture along Hatfield Road, on the stretch opposite Morrisons, up to the Clarence Road intersection.
Such warnings, which claim voting is a sin against Islam, have also recently been posted in other city centres.
A concerned local resident, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Herts Advertiser after noticing them on his way to work last Friday morning.
After seeing the inflammatory warnings posted outside St Albans Islamic Centre and the Jamie Mosque and Bangladesh Islamic Centre, the man said that someone was, “clearly trying to intimidate people into not voting.
“The stickers are also very unsightly. It is the run up to a General Election and it is against the law to intimidate people into not voting.”
Numan Khalid, assistant secretary of the Islamic Centre in Hatfield Road, criticised the flyposted stickers.
He said: “It’s the first time this has happened in St Albans. It looks like the actions of a minority group which tends to like this type of childish attention-seeking.
“Having asked a few of our mosque members I am not aware of any local person who would do this kind of thing, or is associated with any such group so it is likely to be someone from out of town.
“It may be useful for the council to check CCTV footage along the road to shed some light on who the perpetrators are.”
Numan added that the centre hosted a hustings event at the weekend which was attended by about 50 people.
He went on: “The event was a joint effort between all three local mosques in this area who are very much interested in raising awareness of participation in the electoral process as part of good citizenship.
“We will be encouraging our members to vote for the candidate who best represents their views.”
Numan explained: “Islam commands its followers to observe the local legal order and participate fully in community matters on the principles of general welfare of humanity and seeking the common good.
“On the matter of participating in elections, election and polling is approved in Islam from the way in which the first Khalifa of Islam, Abu Bakr(ra), and the third Khalifa, Uthman ibn ‘Affan(ra), were chosen or elected by the Muslims of Madinah during the first century of Islam in the first Islamic state.
“There was a consensus of the companions which is found in authentic literature.
“Globally, we have elections in Muslim countries, and closer to home we have an elected board to run the mosque affairs at the Islamic Centre.”
Richard Shwe, the council’s head of community services, said: “We have arranged to have the posters and stickers removed in accordance with our procedures for dealing with flyposting.”
Anne Main, former chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh, said: “We don’t need people coming into this area and stirring up an ‘us and them’ mentality. I spoke to a local imam and he profoundly disagreed with the stickers. He was really disappointed about them.”
A spokeswoman for Herts Police said officers were aware of the stickers, adding, “The police are looking into the incident and will take action if offences have been committed.”