It is payback time – at taxpayers’ expense – for the Islamic Forum of Europe, the fundamentalist Muslim group which, in its own words, is working to turn Europe into a sharia state and whose senior official, Azad Ali, has stated that “democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no-one agrees with that.”
For the last thirteen months, the Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches have documented the close links between the IFE and the man who is now the directly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. We described how a senior IFE official, Hira Islam, threatened councillors to secure Lutfur’s appointment as council leader. After he lost that job following our revelations, we told how the IFE and a powerful local businessman organised a campaign to move the borough to a directly-elected mayoral system. After Lutfur was barred by the Labour Party for standing for the mayoralty because of his IFE links, he won the post as an independent. The “chief co-ordinator” of Lutfur’s campaign in that election, Bodrul Islam, who has now fallen out with him, confirmed that Lutfur had a “strategic relationship” with the extremists, who “heavily influenced” his campaign.
Under a coalition initiative, local councils are now obliged to report all their payments online. Tower Hamlets has recently published its first disclosure logs, for the months of December, January and February 2010/11. In those three months alone, Lutfur’s council paid at least £149,627 to three organisations controlled or heavily influenced by the IFE – the East London Mosque (£17,561) , the Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques (£26,179) and the Osmani Trust (£105,887). Laughably, some of this money was paid under the Government’s “preventing violent extremism” programme.
The IFE’s control of the East London Mosque has been repeatedly documented on this blog. The Council of Mosques, whose office is at the East London Mosque, was until recently run by the IFE official Hira Islam and still has two prominent IFE figures in its management team. Both the trustees of the Osmani Trust, a youth organisation, are also trustees of the IFE. Part of the Osmani Trust’s purpose, according to critics, is to take vulnerable young people off the streets and imbue them with the values of the IFE.
The man in charge of the Osmani Trust’s project working with local gang members, Muhammad Rabbani, is the same person who trains young IFE recruits. In 2009, he told them: “Our goal is to create the True Believer, to then mobilise these believers into an organised force for change who will carry out dawah [preaching], hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law, eg Sharia law] and jihad. This will lead to social change and iqamatud-Deen [an Islamic social, economic and political order.]… We have to bear in mind that victory is for Islam and Muslims.”
The £149k figure is probably a substantial underestimate. Tower Hamlets also heavily funds another IFE youth front organisation, a drugs project called Nafas – giving it almost £500,000 a year under Lutfur’s leadership. No payments to Nafas are shown in the latest disclosures, but it is unlikely that its funding has not continued. Lutfur’s council is also paying the Osmani Trust at least £3 million to build a new youth centre, even though a new secular youth centre has recently been opened just round the corner from it.
What it is to have friends in high places…