Friday, 2 November 2012

Abu and Hamza - What's in a name?

After the recent glorious extradition of 'Abu Hamza' to USA, I dared to ask a couple of Muslim colleagues for their views.

One of them surprised me and then even armed with the learning from that experience the other surprised me again.

The first didn't answer the question.  He thought I had not noticed that he had essentially changed the subject by telling me that Abu really means 'father'.  This is classic taqiyyah at work.

Now . . . having heard that, I thought I was ready for the second encounter.  But I was surprised to find a Muslim who would (albeit gently) criticise Abu Hamza.  Further than that, I found that Abu really means "father of" rather than "father".  Usually the name of the eldest son follows this title, and by that system I would be called Abu Chris.  (Before he was born I would have been called something else.)

But then we find that the name can be metaphorical.

The Arabic word "Hamza" is a masculine name properly pronounced as "Humzah",  which means "the one who is strong and steadfast".  The name clearly originates from the Prophet Mohammad's Uncle who was killed on a battlefield.

So the name Abu Hamza suggests that its bearer has great character.

Does he?  As Wikipedia tells us,

On 16 May 1980, Masri [aka Abu Hamaz] married Valerie Traverso, a Roman Catholic convert to Islam, and had a son, Mohammed Mustafa Kamel.  Masri later separated the boy from his mother when he was four years old. His son did not see his mother again for another twelve years.  Masri acquired British citizenship following three years of marriage [how convenient] and, according to the Sun newspaper, acquired a job as a bouncer for a peep show in Soho [high morals in action - not that I'm judging!].  In 1984, he divorced his wife and married Nadjet, with whom he has seven children [several of whom have been convicted of serious crimes related to terrorism]. 

Strong . . . and steadfast!  Or just a cheat who used his first wife to gain a privilege that he abused for nearly 20 years, and a father of a band of criminals?

You have to decide for yourself (just as I did).

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