One of the stated aims of a group called the British Muslim Initiative is to “encourage Muslim participation in British public life.” Yet, at the coming election, the BMI is urging people to throw out one of just four Muslim MPs in Britain.
The recommendation to vote against Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, is being spun by the BMI’s spokesman, Anas al-Tikriti, as a heart-warming sign of the BMI’s non-sectarian nature. The actual reason is that Mr Mahmood is an outspoken moderate opponent of Islamism and of Hamas, the terrorist group which the BMI supports.
Last month, Mr Mahmood – who is a trustee of the North London Central Mosque – reported the mosque to the Charity Commission after he said other trustees forged his signature on key legal documents (a charge the mosque has not convincingly denied.) There has long been tension between Mr Mahmood, other moderate trustees and the more radical elements of the mosque.
One of the other trustees (not necessarily involved in the forgery) is Mohammed Sawalha, who is described by the BBC as a former senior figure in Hamas “said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy” from his perch in London. Last year, Mr Sawalha also signed the Istanbul Declaration, which calls for attacks against the allies of Israel, which include the UK.
Mr Sawalha, by extraordinary coincidence, is the president of the BMI. Mr al-Tikriti regularly defends Hamas. Another BMI figure is Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas supporter who has advocated suicide bombing. The BMI itself has been closely involved in some of the most inflammatory and dishonest campaigning in British politics outside the ranks of the BNP. In the 2008 London mayoral election, for instance, it claimed, in concert with the Islamist group the Islamic Forum of Europe, that Boris Johnson wanted to ban the Koran.
For the Islamists, Muslims taking part in British life is not enough. They have to be the right kind of Muslims. And if they’re not, they’d rather not have a Muslim MP at all, thanks.
I rather suspect that BMI-type lists of recommendations have no effect whatever. But just in case they do, it’s worth alerting people to this group’s true agenda.