In early October, British Imam Ajmal Masroor was dismissed from the Goodge Street Mosque in central London. Beforehand, he had given sermons there once a month. A few days before being fired, he posted criticisms of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Regarding his firing, Masroor stated, “I’m 100 percent sure that they fired me because of my comments about Mohammed bin Salman.”
Despite not being told so explicitly, Masroor points to his previous experiences at the mosque as proof.
In the past 5 years, Masroor state that he had been in conflict with the Mosque’s leadership. This involved contentious arguments following sermons in which he attacked the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Eventually, it was agreed that he would not criticize Saudi Arabia from the pulpit but could express his own political views online according to the Muslim World League, the Saudi funded organization running the mosque.
The Muslim World League referred to alleged violations of this agreement in justifying its decision to terminate Masroor’s employment. Masroor disputes this saying that he was being punished for his more explicit comments made on social media and that he was told “that it was an order that had come from the top. Which means the Saudi government wanted me out”. The Muslim World League has its own account of the events leading to his termination.
When justifying its actions, the Muslim World League alleged that Masroor had violated his agreement. They claimed that Masroor had “provoked public opinion” and had no choice but to fire him for his actions. The Imam referred to his firing as well as Khashoggi’s disappearance as examples of Saudi Arabia extending its crackdown on dissent beyond its borders and even its own citizens as Masroor does not have Saudi nationality.