Sumaira Farrukh, who was once nominated for a British Muslim of the Year award, is being investigated after she made a call to Jihad in Kashmir. She was the losing finalist in the ‘businesswoman of the year’ category at the British Muslim of the Year awards in 2017. A prominent activist, she was filmed at a protest rally over the abrogation of Article 370 saying ‘Jihad is the only solution’. The speech was made in Birmingham last month.
Farrukh, who has earlier been photographed with Prince Charles, told a crowd of hundreds, “There is only one slogan for today. It is remove curfew from Kashmir. Let them live their own lives – nothing more than that. And one thing to truth-tell to the Muslim community. There’s only one solution, which is jihad. No protest, nothing. Just jihad.”
Farrukh, a businesswoman and a journalist, was demanding action against India’s decision to integrate Jammu & Kashmir completely with the Indian Union. 24 hours earlier, top Labour MPs including deputy leader Tom Watson, Jack Dromey and Liam Byrne had given speeches at a similar protest at the very same spot.
Farrukh denied inciting violence and claimed that she was being targeted because she was ‘an outspoken woman in a headscarf’. Asked about her comments, she said, “The meaning of jihad is not a particular one meaning. If you have a problem with the Government of the UK and you want to raise your voice, the struggle is called jihad in the meaning of Islam. Muslims know the meaning of the word in that context. Do you think I’m the kind of person who would use that word to encourage people to go and fight? I work with communities and the British military encouraging the Asian community to join the Army – how can I encourage violence?”
On being asked whether it was to use the words that she did, she answered, “The people who are criticising me are the ones who don’t want a woman to speak out. There are men saying we are going to get freedom with guns. People are chanting bad words, saying come out and fight, but they don’t get investigated. People always attack me because I’m an outspoken woman.’
The Police have confirmed that they are investigating the matter. A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said, “We are assessing the content to see whether any criminal offences have been committed.”