The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Archive for May, 2007

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 »

If he funded terrorism, why has Hassan Butt not been arrested?

Posted by theislamist on May 23, 2007

Some of you may have come across this article in the News of the World earlier this week that details the claims of Hassan Butt, an “Al-Qaeda supergrass”.

Butt claims that “thousands of young Muslims are preparing to unleash fresh terror atrocities on Britain’s streets.” He says that, “Saying thousands of British Muslims support terrorism is no over-estimation. I know because I used to raise money from them. Doctors, teachers and businessmen would all chip in—and they knew it was going towards terrorism.”

Talking about his time in Pakistan he says, “It may sound sick to outsiders but I genuinely believed I was fighting a war. That’s why I was photographed with a loudhailer calling for Muslims to attack the British and Americans when I was in Pakistan.”

The article states that Butt bought guns to be shipped to fighters inside Afghanistan, met the ringleader of the 7/7 London suicide bombings, Muhammed Siddique Khan, met the New York born Junaid Babar, who later became star witness against the fertiliser bombers who plotted to kill hundreds of clubbers at London’s Ministry of Sound and thousands of shoppers at the Bluewater complex in Kent.

Now, Butt has allegedly had a change of heart: “But someone’s got to make a stand. What I’ve come to realise is that killing in the name of Islam for the sake of killing is completely prohibited. It’s a very dangerous cancer in the Muslim world and it needs to be dealt with.”

In an article in The Times a couple of weeks back, Butt openly admits to recruiting people for terrorism and collecting money for terrorist purposes.

Back in 2002, Butt told the BBC that he had recruited 200 British volunteers to fight for the Taliban and that he would now personally encourage attacks on political and military targets in the UK. At that time Muslim groups described him as a “fantasist”. At the time a Metropolitan Police spokesman said the Met was working with the Crown Prosecution Service to examine the comments on the radio, to establish if any offences had been committed.

After reading all of this, I question why Butt has not been arrested. By his own admission he sent arms to the Taliban, he organised training for 200 British Muslims to fight in the Jihad, he collected monies for terrorism, he incited others to terrorism, he encouraged attacks on political and military targets in the UK and he associated with the 7/7 bombers

Just because he has had a sudden change of heart and is now writing a “kiss and tell” book, surely this does not exonerate him before the law. If Harold Shipman had said when he was found out that he had regretted his previous actions, would he have got off scott free and been able to sell his stories to newspapers and publishers?

The fact that Butt’s proclamations, fantasies or not, would appear to be consistently overlooked by the security services or the police suggests either a) we’ve got a level of incompetence that would be unusual even for the security services or b) possibly, and this is a possibility, that this man Butt may have been working for the security service.

There are many reports in the news media of people who were close to Butt having their houses raided and being arrested. While Butt claims in these articles to now be living undercover and to have been stabbed, assaulted and threatened, a few informal enquiries in the local Muslim community in Manchester suggest that he is living his life quite normally.

I believe 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 will strengthen the government’s global war on terror and allow it to continue to erode liberties through ever more draconian laws.

Interestingly, Sir Richard Mottram, Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office, admitted last week, in comments that were not well publicised, that terrorism was not the biggest threat to Britain. He argued that climate change was a bigger long term risk.

Posted in Politics, Terrorism | 3 Comments »

Madrassas to be regulated by government

Posted by theislamist on May 17, 2007

The Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly today launched a new curriculum for Muslim students who attend madrassas. Speaking in Bradford, Kelly said,

 “We cannot afford to allow our young people to be intimidated and influenced by extremist messages. Madrasas have a pivotal role to play in winning hearts and minds and supporting young people to reject the messages of extremist groups. This project ensures that young Muslim students learn the true teachings of Islam and encourages them to play an active role in their local communities and as citizens.”

There hasn’t been a huge amount of coverage about these new measures and there has been little response so far from the Muslim community. My thoughts so far:

  1. Is the intention here to fight terrorism or create a more compliant Muslim community? During the Troubles in NI it was never suggested that state control or interference in Catholic churches would have ended violence.
  2. Where is the proof of the link between terrorism and madrassahs? Despite the scarcity of evidence to prove such a link, Kelly’s intervention in religious institutions is unprecedented.
  3. There is a parallel between these new measures and the government intervention in religious communities in the Muslim world.

Posted in Education, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Ed (Mahbub) Husain’s “The Islamist”

Posted by theislamist on May 14, 2007

I’ve just finished reading today’s CiF debate on a new book called “The Islamist”. The book is written by Ed (Mahbub) Husain – the writer’s real name is Mahbub, but he has somewhat strangely adopted the pen name “Ed”. The article on CiF is written by HT’s media savvy ‘media representative’ Taji Mustafa.

Mahbub and I both attended HT activities in London back in the early 1990s. I’ve started reading his book and plan to write a more detailed piece on my thoughts about the book later this week. From what I’ve read so far though, Mahbub is arguing for a ban on HT as he argues that they are in some way responsible for 7/7, etc. – I can’t say I’m that convinced but let me finish reading…

Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »

What did Cameron learn from his stay with a Muslim family?

Posted by theislamist on May 13, 2007

Some of you may have read the interesting article by David Cameron in today’s Observer. He has just spent a couple of days with a Muslim family in Birmingham and states that:

We do need greater understanding of the true nature of the terrorist threat. There’s too much complacency about it among non-Muslims, and too much denial of it in the Muslim community. But our efforts are not helped by lazy use of language. Indeed, by using the word ‘Islamist’ to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues’ work for them, confirming to many impressionable young Muslim men that to be a ‘good Muslim’, you have to support their evil campaign.

I tend to agree with his criticism of the term ‘Islamist’. Although my blog is entitled The ‘Islamist’, I use the term as I have always equated it with Islamic activism. However, I’m not sure where the term originally came from – it now appears that it is being used to label those for whom Islam is not merely a personal matter. In Michael Gove’s book Celsius 7/7 he writes that:

Islamists are a self-conscious vanguard who look down on other Muslims and consider the majority of their co-religionists as sunk in barbarity or error.

I am a bit surprised by Cameron’s latest comments – he endorsed Munira Mirza’s Policy Exchange report that made a distinction between Islam and Islamism and controversially described those who wanted the Shariah as being like the BNP!

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Welcome!

Posted by theislamist on May 7, 2007

Welcome to my new blog: “The Islamist” – I am Faisal, a British Muslim who has been an “Islamic activist” in the UK since the early 1990s. I am relatively new to the art of blogging, so please bear with me as I travel on this journey. I intend to write about my views about Islamic activism in the UK and hope to share with you some of my experiences over the last two decades.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Leave a Comment »