The question of British Muslims joining the Army, said to have been a key issue behind the suspected Birmingham beheading plot, has been buzzing around the internet.
The debate was inflamed by the death of Muslim Lance-Corporal Jabron Hashmi in Afghanistan in July. A posting on a website carrying the name Hizb ut-Tahrir called him a "Muslim traitor who got what he deserved". The site was later disowned by the radical group of the same name.
On another site, Mahmud Abdul Baari, a follower of the exiled preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed, called Hashmi a terrorist, adding: "Although born Muslim [he] grew up to become an apostate traitor to Islam and professional terrorist who unlike members of al-Qa'eda took a salary."
A member of a chatroom run by the Followers of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, said joining the British Army or police is "clearly haram [forbidden] and a sin." One leading member of the group said that anyone who did the following was a non-believer: "applying for jobs that are asking Muslims to join the MI5 to infiltrate the community; co-operating with the Government by asking Muslim parents to spy on their children; working with deviant sects who ask us to join the crusading British Army; swearing an oath of allegiance to the fallible Queen".
A fatwa [religious ruling] by a man calling himself Afdal al-Jihad and posted on a mainstream web community is titled "Muslims serving in an Army of Kuffar" [non-believers]. Al-Jihad says: "Muslims cannot fight under the banner of kuffar or with them; Muslims must avoid attaching themselves to nation states; Muslims must avoid harming and fighting other Muslims."
On a web forum called the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, not all the visitors agreed that it was un-Islamic to join the Army. But many said swearing allegiance to the Queen was against Islam.