The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Quilliam Foundation Launch

Posted by theislamist on April 8, 2008

Regular readers of my blog will know of my distaste for the antics of Ed Husain et al.

I understand his new thinktank, the Quilliam Foundation will have its launch on 22 April 2008.

A couple of blogs have already surfaced to comment on the launch of this new thinktank. The first of these seems to invite people to the launch, while the second blog seems to be some sort of attack on the Foundation.

I suspect that both blogs are intended to generate publicity for the Quilliam Foundation launch – forever a cynic!!!

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Who is Rashad Zaman Ali?

Posted by theislamist on September 26, 2007

Following the Newsnight interview with the former HT member Maajid Nawaz, several Muslim bloggers have written about his departure from the organisation from both theological and political perspectives. In response to Nawaz’s first article outlining some of his reasons for his sudden departure, Abu Ibrahim and Ibn Adam have penned their thoughts on his arguments. Sister Sumayyah Evans, who accurately predicted Nawaz’s close relationship with Ed Husain, has now meticulously analysed Nawaz’s activities and statements since his release from prison, and somewhat worryingly asks whether Nawaz has been “double-faced”. Brother Salman, who knows Maajid, also questions Maajid’s 180 degree about turn.

However, to date no one has paid much attention to those surrounding Nawaz, aside from Ed Husain. Nawaz himself has been somewhat coy about even his association with Ed Husain and apart from making vague references to “traditional” Muslim scholars, he has not revealed the identities of those surrounding him. Before penning his first article, Nawaz posted regularly under the named “Toppled Pyramid” on a blog that appears to have been set up by Waleed al-Nuaimy, a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics at Liverpool University. Interestingly, Nawaz’s views from that blog have been compiled by one of his supporters at another blog.

Upon examination, after “Toppled Pyramid”, the most prolific poster on the Thought for the Day website goes by the name “Rashad Zaman Ali”. I decided to undertake some basic research to determine who this character is. The first thing I found on a simple Google search was a posting by a sister called Zahraa in response to one of Ed Husain’s article on Comment is Free. She writes, “Dear Brother Mahbub, I am surprised that you make no reference to Brother Rashad Ali who I have heard from numerous sources is the Islamic authority/scholar from which both you and Majeed derive authority from. There are many unanswered questions on his blog about his suitability/qualifications/character to be an Islamic reference point. I am surprised that you have not clarified your relationship with him and that you have not answered these serious concerns about him. Your Sister.” Two days later, the same sister posts the following comment in response to another article, “I watched Newsnight and was surprised that the Islamic scholar (mujtahid) who both Maajid and Ed make reference to, was not mentioned. He is a guy from Sheffield called Rashad Zaman Ali (http://rashadzamanali.blogspot.com). Many Muslims have raised questions about his Islamic credentials/qualifications and I think either Maajid or Ed should address these concerns.”

In this post she made reference to Ali’s blog which I duly visited. There were only 3 articles on this blog – one announced that Nawaz would be appearing on Newsnight, another described the caliphate as an “expansionist, totalitarian state” and another talks of the necessity to fight ‘Islamism’. Ali’s blog links to Nawaz’s blog, Husain’s blog, British Muslims for Secular Democracy and the Center for Islamic Pluralism, amongst others. In his profile, Ali says that he is from Sheffield and is interested in ‘Islamism’, ‘Extremism’ and the ‘Fiqh of marriage and divorce’. He cites Al-Shatibi’s Al-Muwafaqat as his favourite book.

However what was more revealing were some of the comments posted on his blog. One reader asks, “Is it allowed to try to destroy the hizb , after they did not let you back in after being suspended for dodgy stuff?” The suggestion here being that Ali was associated with HT but was suspended for some reason or another. Another reader describes Nawaz as the student of Ali. On another thread, Sayful Islam, asks, “Rashad – why is it that you are avoiding the limelight and allowing Ed and Maajid to take all the interviews and publicity. We all know that you are the man behind the scenes but why are you so worried about coming out in public?” It is interesting that this reader suggests that Ali is the “man behind the scenes”.

In a much more detailed comment an anonymous reader asks Ali a series of questions concerning his character and asks him to “clarify the shubha concerning your personality”. This reader then asks Ali a series of as yet unanswered questions about identity fraud, dealing in stolen cars, his views on lesbianism, his views on wife beating and outstanding debts.

Another reader, Ifti, draws attention to what he alleges is Ali’s plagiarism of another author. A search on sunniforum.com reveals that Ali had posted on there. In one post, Ali posts a large chunk of an article that he says was part of his “masters in Islamic law”. The reader, obviously a former personal acquaintance, contests that Ali has never completed a masters and alleges that the article was in fact written by HT member Kamal Abu Zahra. In another post, Ali makes reference to Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani al-Azhari (the founder of HT), adding weight to the earlier suggestion that Ali had some connection with the group.

Given all of these allegations about Ali, it is probably not that surprising that Nawaz has not publicly associated himself with him. However, I have uncovered evidence that Ali is in fact a “contributing editor” on Nawaz’s website. On the “Thought for the Day” website, Ali posts a comment that is almost identical to an answer given by a “contributing editor” on Nawaz’s website. When Nawaz is asked by a reader who this contributing editor is, Nawaz answers rather vaguely, “There is a team of people who are senior ex-HT and have now left the Islamist ideology. They will become public when they so choose.”

Given my connections to HT in the early/mid-1990s, I have also been able to establish first hand that Ali was a young HT member of Bangladeshi origin who resided in Sheffield. His current whereabouts are unknown although one source said that he had been to Qatar but had been recently been deported from there. Several brothers who know Ali personally explained that Ali had been expelled from HT a couple of years ago but they did not want to comment on whether this was a result of the allegations of criminality made by some on Ali’s blog. One of them said rather vaguely that HT expelled members if they were engaged in activities that were not consistent with “Islamic values”. These brothers also confirmed that Ali views himself as the spiritual leader of Nawaz and Ed Husain, and that he has been frequently seen accompanying them.

I was also able to unearth further evidence to corroborate Ali’s former connection with HT. An old article that appeared in Muslim News was jointly written by Ali and a HT member. In the article, Ali, argues that “Tyrant rulers have been appointed by the Kuffar who promote the secular democratic and autocratic systems in our land. We are therefore required to work to establish the Khilafah and give Bayah to a Khaleefah so that this right of selecting the ruler can be returned to the Ummah.” In a thread on the MPAC discussion forum, a forum member suggests that Ali had claimed to be a “mujtahid member of HT”! Ali also wrote an article entitled “Jihad: The Highest Peak of Islam” for HT’s Khilafah Magazine. In it he writes, “Jihad is continuous and will always be so. This is an obligation imposed on Muslims by Shari’ah. However, this is not the Jihad that is carried by the nation whose intention is to open land to the justice of Islam. Practically speaking this is not going to take place until the Ummah can perform this Jihad and make the Call to Islam as a nation, and that nation must have a state that implements Islam i.e. Dar al Islam. Once this State has been established we can (Inshallah) carry on the work commenced by the Companions of our Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which is, to spread the Deen of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) to all corners of the earth. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stated, “This Deen will never cease to exist. A party of the Muslims shall always fight for it until the Hour comes to pass” [Al Jami us Sahih of Imam Muslim].

So will Ali now emerge from the shadows to give us yet another “kiss and tell” account of his time with HT or in the light of the allegations made about him, will he prefer to stay out of the limelight, allowing Nawaz and Husain to bask in the adulation of the neocons? Only time will tell.

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Is there a rapprochement between the MCB and the Brown government?

Posted by theislamist on September 1, 2007

After much criticism of the MCB’s association with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations, it seemed that the Labour Government had tried to place some distance between it and the MCB. The former Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly seemed to break off relations with the MCB. She announced last year, “a fundamental rebalancing of our relationship with Muslim organisations from now on”. Kelly said, “In future, I am clear that our strategy of funding and engagement must shift significantly towards those organisations that are taking a proactive leadership role in tackling extremism and defending our shared values.” She said that it was “not good enough” to pay lip service to combating extremism.

At the time, the speech was briefed by the Government as signalling the end of its engagement with the MCB as a partner in preventing extremism. Kelly specifically criticised the MCB’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, as follows: “I can’t help wondering why those in leadership positions who say they want to achieve religious tolerance and a cohesive society would choose to boycott an event which marks, above all, our common humanity and respect for each other.”

The MCB was also criticised in the writings of Michael Gove and Martin Bright and in a John Ware documentary for BBC Panorama.

However, the Spectator blog, suggests that the MCB have had recent meetings with Hazel Blears, the new Communities Secretary.  This suggests that relations between the MCB and Government have improved since Gordon Brown arrived at Number 10. Time will tell…

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Portillo in the Sunday Times on Terrorism

Posted by theislamist on July 29, 2007

Michael Portillo has penned an interesting piece in today’s Sunday Times. This follows on from the debate in Parliament earlier this week when Gordon Brown suggested that pre-trial detention may need to be extended beyond 28 days.

It appears that these issues have become very highly political – on the issue of the banning of HT the Government seems to now be sticking to the position that there is not grounds to do so, while the Tories are adamant that Blair’s promise to ban the organisation will remain a stick with which to beat the Labour Government.

While Brown may have been caught unawares in his first PMQs on the subject, this week he taunted Cameron by saying that Cameron had in fact thanked HT in correspondence over the crisis in the Middle East.

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Newsnight – Inayat Bunglawala 1 – Shiv Malik 0

Posted by theislamist on July 3, 2007

I am no big fan of Inayat Bunglawala by any means, but tonight’s Newsnight encounter with Shiv Malik was one for the books.

Newsnight’s coverage of Muslim community issues over the years has been interesting to say the least. Last night we had the newly reformed Hassan Butt ridiculously alleging that “most Muslims” believed that terrorist activity attracts divine pleasure and admission to paradise and that “anything that is not an Islamic way of life” is a legitimate target for attack. I remember last year’s hilarious piece on HuT that suggested, of all things, that they were going around mugging old grannies.

Shiv Malik, the journalistic darling of the neocons, has certainly changed his colours over the last 6 years or so. Some have accused him of having previously justified 9/11.  After 7/7 Malik telephoned a lot of employers of Muslim activists, to tell them that they were employing ‘extremists’. He was he pioneer of the “Shock Horror – Muslim doctor works for the NHS” tabloid stories that have dominated the papers in recent days.

On tonight’s Newsnight, I found Malik to be immature, childish and remarkably inarticulate for a journalist. He just asked stupid questions about what Bunglawala had been doing as a teenager with some old quotes from Trends magazine (those of you who are old enough will remember “Around the world with Inayat Bunglawala”).

On another note, Ali Eteraz has written an excellent article on the media’s recent love affair with “former jihadists”.

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“Al-Qaeda supergrass” Hassan Butt in the Observer

Posted by theislamist on July 1, 2007

Hassan Butt, the “Al-Qaeda supergrass”, has written an article in today’s Observer. He is the guy who has claimed to have sent arms to the Taliban, organised training for 200 British Muslims to fight in the Jihad, collected monies for terrorism, incited others to terrorism, encouraged attacks on political and military targets in the UK and associated with the 7/7 bombers.

The title of Butt’s article is remarkable – “My plea to fellow Muslims: you must renounce terror”. I wonder what the reaction of Christians would be if someone just quit the Ku Klux Klan and wrote an article saying “My plea to fellow Christians: you must renounce racism”, insinuating that racism is part of Christianity?

Readers of my blog will recall that I questioned why Butt had not been arrested over these string of offences. I also raised the possibility that Butt had been working for the security services and stated my belief that the “true purpose of Butt’s new found conversion is to instil fear in the masses so that they believe that there are tens of thousands of Muslims who are willing to become suicide bombers on the streets of Britain.” This would strengthen the government’s global war on terror and allow it to continue to erode liberties through ever more draconian laws.

The timing of Butt’s article is interesting – it comes following the terrorist incidents in London and Glasgow, as we approach the 2nd anniversary of 7/7 and in the week in which verdicts are expected in the 21/7 trial.

The arguments he raises in the Observer article are very similar to those of my old colleague Mahbub (Ed) Husain. Like Husain, Butt, ignoring the wealth of evidence to the contrary, blames “Islamist ideology” for terrorism. In a passage that could have been lifted verbatim from The Islamist, Butt writes, “The Muslim community in Britain must slap itself awake from this state of denial and realise there is no shame in admitting the extremism within our families, communities and worldwide co-religionists.”

I have no doubt that the simplistic analysis of Butt will be lapped up by some in the media and Government. The Government are keen to dismiss any sense of grievance amongst Muslims. In a documentary to be shown on Channel 4 tomorrow night, former PM Tony Blair, attacks “absurd” British Islamists who have nurtured a false “sense of grievance” that they are being oppressed by Britain and the United States. Blair says, ‘The reason we are finding it hard to win this battle is that we’re not actually fighting it properly. We’re not actually standing up to these people and saying, “It’s not just your methods that are wrong, your ideas are absurd. Nobody is oppressing you. Your sense of grievance isn’t justified.”‘ This is not the first time that Muslims have been accused of having “false grievances”.

I find it remarkable that following the deaths of 80 civilians on Friday in Afghanistan, there are some who still say “its not our fault”. After 7/7, in an insightful article, Seamus Milne, wrote, “The London bombers were to blame for attacks on civilians that are neither morally nor politically defensible. But the prime minister – who was warned by British intelligence of the risks in the run-up to the war – is also responsible for knowingly putting his own people at risk in the service of a foreign power. The security crackdowns and campaign to uproot an “evil ideology” the government announced yesterday will not extinguish the threat. Only a British commitment to end its role in the bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to do that.”

On a final note, Butt’s article, although superficial, appears to be very polished and linguistically well written. He is no literary genius and as has happened in the past (with others) it would be no surprise if the article was written for him. Ziauddin Sardar recently suggested that Ed Husain’s The Islamist seemed “to have been drafted by a Whitehall mandarin as a PR job for the Blair government”. It is also public knowledge that in October 2002, Denic MacShane, then a minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office “crafted a first-person piece [The Observer, 11th November 2001], supposedly by Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, which expressed the support of British Muslims for the attack on Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and find Osama bin Laden” (28th October 2002).

Posted in Politics, Terrorism | 1 Comment »

“The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain”

Posted by theislamist on June 18, 2007

This is not a joke – this Thursday will see the launch of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain. The launch will take place at Portcullis House at Westminster. The Council “will provide a voice for those labelled Muslim but who have renounced religion and do not want to be identified by religion”.

The voice of the organisation in the UK will be Maryam Namazie. Talking about the new organisation, Namazie, said, “We are establishing the alternative to the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain because we don’t think people should be pigeonholed as Muslims or deemed to be represented by regressive organisations like the MCB. Those of us who have come forward with our names and photographs represent countless others who are unable or unwilling to do so because of the threats faced by those considered ‘apostates’ – punishable by death in countries under Islamic law. By doing so, we are breaking the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam but also taking a stand for reason, universal rights and values, and secularism. We are quite certain we represent a majority in Europe and a vast secular and humanist protest movement in countries like Iran.”

Apparently there are similar organisations of ex-Muslims in Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The launch is being sponsored by the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society.

To find out more about Namazie and her views, I recommend watching an interesting debate that took place last November on More 4 between her, Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB and Taji Mustafa of HT.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Ed Husain at it again

Posted by theislamist on June 10, 2007

I had hoped that my criticism of Ed Husain and the critical analysis by many in the Muslim community would have given him a dose of common sense. However he is at it again – not satisfied with the dozens of book reviews he has enjoyed and the tens of thousands of pounds he has earned from book sales, he is now complaining in the Observer that Muslims are generally saying nasty things about him [hat tip: Yusuf Smith on DeenPort].

If some Muslims at East London Mosque have threatened Mahbub, they must desist. Not only is this haram but probably exactly the kind of response that Mahbub was looking for and expected. He can now add weight to his argument that mosques are hotbeds of extremism and compliment himself on his admirable bravery and courage in writing his book.

Yahya Birt has correctly pointed out that, “we are not given proper evidence that this third-party reported threat was inspired by “Islamism”, or proof that the mosque authorities were somehow invovlved. What has been the reason to set out these sorts of reports, given by a third party, in the Observer? Was this done after other steps were taken previously and then found insufficient, and “not fit for purpose”? “

The response of Mahbub to all kinds of criticism from all sides of the political spectrum is remarkable and certainly not fitting of one who claims the path of tasawwuf. As Sumayyah Evans has written, there seems to be a Bush like ultimatum of either you agree with his personal narrative or you’re an extremist. Mahbub is arrogantly refusing to accept any credible criticism of his book or viewpoint – he seems to allege that all criticism if driven by ‘Islamism’ or by moderates with family connections to ‘Islamists’.

On one discussion thread, he actually insists that all that ask him questions must reveal all past, present and family connections to ‘Islamism’. One brother who spent a total of 9 years with MAB and YM is arrogantly told by Husain that he can’t possibly shed the ‘Islamist’ influence.

Remarkably, Mahbub ignores all of the brothers and sisters who have been demanding answers to the many inaccuracies in his writings. While ignoring these people and labelling them as ‘Islamists’ or sympathisers of ‘Islamists’,  all Mahbub can talk about is the support he is getting from a couple of former ‘Islamists’. Why does he not talk of the support he is getting from the neocon sympathisers who spearheaded the Iraq war? Why is he not ‘emboldened’ by the support of Melanie Phillips and her ilk? What about those right-wing Zionists and neo-nazi BNP supporters who have been emboldened by his book?

He also talks of silent support from some of the Sufi shuyukh but names no names. However, from what my Sufi brothers have told me, some of the leading shuyukh have in fact expressed huge dismay at Mahbub’s actions and his misrepresentation of some of their opinions.

Those who remain close to Mahbub must explain to him that he cannot continue falsely slandering other Muslims and misrepresenting the opinions of the Shuyukh.  What may have started as a personal biography or narrative has unfortunately turned Mahbub into a pawn in the hands of those who are seeking to create divisions within our community. Enough is enough.

I agree entirely with Sidi Yahya who writes, “…I must say that his subsequent behaviour and conduct have certainly helped to tip people towards a more sceptical reading of his motives, and, no, they are not people who have been duped by Islamists, or indeed have been working members of Islamist organisations. Nor have they ever been Islamists — unlike Sidi Mahbub! Is he so sure that he can characterise their responses as naive?”

Posted in Politics, Terrorism | 1 Comment »

Ed Husain: The Islamist

Posted by theislamist on June 1, 2007

As I mentioned in a previous posting, I have been reading the recent book by Ed (Mahbub) Husain entitled The Islamist. I have finished reading it now. Mahbub and I both attended HT activities in London back in the early 1990s. I had intended to write a detailed piece on my thoughts about the book, but as there have been so many reviews I thought I would just make the following observations:

  1. Although the book has received wide acclaim amongst non-Muslim commentators, the reception amongst the Muslim community has been very frosty. The book was obviously written for the non-Muslim audience (hence the pen name ‘Ed’). The most positive review (although a lot of negative points are made) is the lengthy one by Yahya Birt. Other Muslim writers including Inayat Bunglawala, Andrew Booso and Yusuf Smith are much more critical of him. There are some newspaper journalists including Brian Whitaker, Riazat Butt and Madeleine Bunting who have also been critical.
  2. On DeenPort, Mahbub asked whether Muslims should wash their dirty linen in public. He has received a great deal of criticism from members of the DeenPort discussion forum and although he initially responded to it, he has failed to respond to much of the recent criticism. I agree with Yusuf Smith who asks “How can we take anyone seriously when he tells us not to air dirty linen in public while writing a book which does precisely that, on a much larger scale?”
  3. I don’t want to question Mahbub’s sincerity, but there are a huge number of opportunities for ‘kiss and tell’ style accounts from former ‘Islamists’. It is easy in this day and age to make a quick buck by bad mouthing the Muslim community. Brother Mahbub should reflect on the rightwing racists and Islamophobes who are feasting on his testimony.
  4. When the book neatly fits the Government’s narrative it is not surprising that it gets such wide acclaim from the broadsheets. The government’s narrative is that there are ‘ordinary decent Muslims’ who are completely detached from concerns about foreign policy or the notion of Islam being at the centre of state and society in the Muslim world. Every one else is an ‘Islamist’ who are accused of exploiting the faith of their fellow Muslims for political ends. This explains the Government’s recent support for the Sufi Muslim Council and the British Muslim Forum.
  5. I don’t think Mahbub’s account adds anything about the Islamic ‘scene’ in the UK. This is not surprising as he has not been part of it for over a decade. By his own admission, in the mid-1990s he ended his association with HT, before briefly moving on to associate with MB linked groups like ISB. He was never a ‘jihadi’ and never a ‘terrorist’, even though some in the media have described him as a former ‘jihadi’.
  6. Although many of us may have had bad experiences with some people from HT, Yusuf Smith hits the nail on the head when he says, “In calling for HT to be banned now, he ignores the reason why they are not: because the troublemakers left ten years ago. HT now are a quiet intellectual group, at least in the UK, and we do not ban parties in this country simply because we dislike their ideology.”
  7. There are some major errors in the book – I am not sure whether these are intentional or accidental – I know they are errors because I was with HT during the same period Mahbub was – for example there is the claim that HT never spoke out against Saddam Hussain. His suggestion that he parted company with HT for ideological reasons is also not true – it was more to do with his close personal relationship with Omar Bakri [he left when Bakri was kicked out], pressure from his father and other personal reasons which I don’t want to mention.
  8. Mahbub does not answer some very important questions. What tips someone over from being a ‘radical’ to becoming violent? After all, he was a radical and never became violent and the overwhelming majority of radicals do not become violent. Why is it that ‘Islamists’ linked to HT and the MB have existed in the UK for decades, yet we have never seen violence on the streets of the UK until after the Iraq war? Mahbub dismisses the foreign policy angle as a cause for alienation and radicalisation, but I think the evidence is stacked up against him. If this is a battle of ideas between “traditional Islam” and “Islamism” then how can it be won by banning groups or silencing voices? Does Mahbub believe that ISB, JIMAS, etc, etc. must all be banned? Should East London Mosque and Regent’s Park Mosque and all the other mosques linked to MB and the Wahabbis be closed down? Surely, what is needed is more debate and argument between the groups in accordance with the Islamic etiquettes? We can’t just sweep the views of many Muslims under the carpet. Does Mahbub really believe that anyone who wants the caliphate or an Islamic state must believe in violence? After all, a recent poll by the University of Maryland found that over 70 per cent of the population in the Muslim world wanted Shariah and the caliphate but were opposed to violence.

Posted in Politics, Reviews, Terrorism | 5 Comments »

Who is behind the “British Oppression” demo?

Posted by theislamist on May 25, 2007

Some of you will have seen the publicity for a demonstration against “British Oppression”. It is due to be held on 15th June 2007 and stickers advertising it have appeared in Birmingham. A petition against the protest already has over 600 signatories and many inflammatory comments.

When I first saw stickers for the demonstration in my local area I did a search on Google for “British Oppression” and found that a cached version of the website for the demonstration mentioned that it was the website of Omar Bakri Mohammad. So it is clear to me from this and the content of the advert for the demo, that it is being organised by his followers – they are known by the names Al-Muhajiroun, Al-Ghurabaa, the Saved Sect and the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah.

They were behind the demonstration outside the Danish embassy where their activists held placards stating “Massacre those who insult Islam” and “7/7 on its way”. The demonstration was seized upon by the Government to push through new legislation on the vague offence of the ‘glorification’ of terrorism.

In September 2006, one of their activists Abu Izzadeen, was able to get remarkably close to the Home Secretary John Reid. Again, his outburst on that occasion was presented by Reid and other ministers as evidence of widespread ‘radicalisation’ in the Muslim community. Reid utilised the encounter in his speech to the Labour party conference and in the New Statesman, Darcus Howe wrote that the “clash was staged by Reid and his cohorts at the Home Office. They organised the meeting, Abu Izzadeen was invited in advance – his performance guaranteed – and the press was alerted to film and report the confrontation.”

After the 7/7 attacks, Izzadeen had appeared on Newsnight and described the suicide bombers as “completely praiseworthy”. At that time, his comments were again seized upon by Government to bring forward a series of new anti-terrorism measures.

In the publicity for next month’s demo, the organisers have tried to conceal who is really behind it. Although, a few have speculated that the Islamist group HT may be behind it, it doesn’t seem to be their style and in any case their spokesman has distanced them from it saying that they “believe that the posting of such material damages community relations and does nothing to create harmony between the city’s residents.”

I have no doubt that there are legitimate concerns about foreign policy, media coverage of Islam and the Muslim community, terror laws, rendition and so on and so forth. These concerns are shared by many Muslims and non-Muslims from across the political spectrum.

However, I believe that this demo is being organised by agent provocateurs who will fuel the Government’s propaganda that the Muslim community is full of ‘radicalised’ hotheads. It will damage community relations and will be used to justify further erosion of the civil liberties of ordinary Muslims and non-Muslims. Judging by the inflammatory postings on the petition website, it is clear that the mere advertising of this demonstration is causing a wave of Islamophobia.

The question that must be asked is how the organisers have managed to secure permission for the demonstration at Downing Street, inside the exclusion zone? I hate to be sceptical, but I wonder whether the Government does not mind such events from taking place, as they can be capitalised on later, as has been seen in the past.

I certainly won’t be attending the demo and would advise my brothers and sisters to completely boycott it.

Posted in Politics, Terrorism | 6 Comments »

 
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