Extremist IFE sponsors a man who "calls Jews 'germs' and 'monkeys'"

In two weeks’ time there will be a meeting in Tower Hamlets with a man called Raed Salah, a Palestinian who reportedly wrote the following piece of poetry in the Hamas journal:

“You Jews are criminal bombers of mosques,

Slaughterers of pregnant women and babies.

Robbers and germs in all times,

The Creator sentenced you to be loser monkeys,

Victory belongs to Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

Saleh has also propagated the ancient “blood libel” against Jews, stating that they used Palestinian children’s blood to bake bread.

The meeting with this gentleman is co-sponsored by our old friends, those famously “democratic Muslims” of the Islamic Forum of Europe, the people who control that equally well-known home of tolerance and harmony, the East London Mosque.

The IFE is also, of course, also the group with which Lutfur Rahman, the directly-elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, has a “strategic relationship,” according to his campaign co-ordinator.

The meeting isn’t taking place at the mosque – as I mentioned in my previous post, they’re in one of their periodic batten-down-the-hatches phases after a spell of negative PR. According to the organisers, it is taking place at an even more prominent, much more heavily publicly-funded Tower Hamlets institution – Queen Mary University. However, the university has been in touch to say that it will not be occurring there. Permission for the event was sought, but has been refused: an encouraging sign that the authorities are getting serious about tackling this sort of racism.

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East London Mosque promises to turn over a new leaf. Again

The East London Mosque
The East London Mosque - reforming. Again

A couple of days ago, I covered the open letter from East London gay activists criticising the “platform for hate” provided by the fundamentalist East London Mosque/ London Muslim Centre, which regularly hosts “viciously ” homophobic and extremist preachers. Now the mosque has responded by claiming it will ban homophobic speakers from its premises.

“Any speaker who is believed to have said something homophobic will not be allowed to use our premises, whether that is us organising an event or someone else,” soothes the mosque’s PR, Salman Farsi. “We have done as much as we possibly can. The LGBT [gay] community need to take that in good faith.”

Unfortunately, it is at least the third time the East London Mosque has made this promise.

On 10 November 2007, the mosque’s chairman, Muhammad Abdul Bari, told my newspaper: “If I hear of a specific preacher who is inciting hatred, I will ban him from preaching.”

In the six months after this rousing statement, the numerous “specific preachers inciting hatred” not banned from speaking at the mosque included Khalid Yasin, who describes Jews as “filth” and says gay people should be killed; Abdurraheem Green, who says that a husband has the right to administer “some type of physical force… a very light beating” to his wife; and Bilal Phillips, described by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the World Trade Center bombing (Phillips was officially invited to deliver the Friday sermon.)

In subsequent months, the hit parade continued with (among many others) Gharait Baheer, spokesman for a leading ally of the Taliban; Murtaza Khan (who told his audience that women who use perfume should be flogged); Haitham al-Haddad, who thinks music is a “fake and prohibited message of love and peace;” and Anwar al-Awlaki, a key recruiter for al-Qaeda whose talk was advertised with a poster showing Manhattan under bombardment.

On 6 December 2010, Dr Bari again claimed: “The controversial speakers who were able, in the past, to speak via third-party bookings of our facilities (circumventing our procedures) have now all been banned. All accusations of ‘extremism’ links are also historical.”

Alas, the very next month – on 23 January 2011 – Haitham al-Haddad was back speaking at the mosque (as well as his views on music, Haitham also believes that “the conflict between Islam and the enemies of Islam is an ongoing conflict…we should pay the price of this victory from our blood, and Muslims are ready to do so.”) And on 25 February, we had the homophobic preacher Uthman Lateef plus Hamza Tzortzis, who states: “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom.” Sounds pretty “controversial” to me, Dr Bari!

The East London Mosque’s response to accusations of extremism has three stages. First there are the injured protestations of its deep commitment to community cohesion, democracy, etc, often accompanied by straightforward lying – in 2009, for instance, the mosque’s assistant director, Shaynul Khan, claimed that “Anwar Al-Awlaki did not give a lecture via video link at an event held at the East London Mosque.” Then there are silly legal threats from its libel lawyers, again often based on lies: tedious, but perfectly easy to see off if you know what you’re doing.

Finally, if none of that works and their backs are absolutely against the wall, the mosque will crank out one of their statements claiming they’ve banned hate preachers. The supply of bad guys will dry up for a month or two, then as soon as the coast is clear they’ll start creeping back again. Let’s hope it’s different this time. But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for being a little sceptical about the East London Mosque’s “good faith.”

Islamophobic crime fell in London last year – MCB spins the opposite

Yesterday’s Independent on Sunday had an alarming story claiming that “Islamophobic attacks have been on the rise.” It previewed a speech in which Farooq Murad, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, was due to say: “Islamophobic attacks, on persons and properties, are committed by a tiny minority, but the number of incidents is increasing. Robust action is necessary.”

However, the same article quoted some interesting figures from the Metropolitan Police – the first I’ve seen on specifically Islamophobic incidents – which diametrically contradict both Mr Murad’s claim and the Sindy’s own. The paper said there had been “762 Islamophobic offences in London since April 2009, including 333 in 2010/11 and 57 since this April.” It said there were only a few forces which collect this data; figures from the other forces weren’t given.

If a total of 762 offences have been committed since April 2009, 57 of them since this April and 333 of them in 2010/11, that means the number committed in 2009/10 was 372. Between 09/10 and 10/11 there was therefore a drop of 39 offences – or more than 10 per cent.

I have to suspect, from the unusual way the paper presented the figures, that either it or the MCB was trying to conceal this inconvenient truth. Though the Sindy described the MCB as “Britain’s largest mainstream Muslim organisation,” it is in fact heavily influenced by a creed which is very far from mainstream in the British Muslim community – Islamism, the doctrine that Islam is a form of government not just a religion.

Farooq Murad himself is or has been a trustee of the Islamist Markfield Institute and of Muslim Aid, a charity closely linked to the radical Islamic Forum of Europe and East London Mosque, who have long dominated the key positions of the MCB.

One of British Islamists’ key articles of faith – extremely useful for recruitment and in furtherance of their separatist agenda – is that Muslims are under growing attack by the rest of British society. Its disciples do their level best to propagate this claim despite a complete lack of evidence – in conferences and meetings and in the deplorable work of the Exeter University academic and Islamist client, Robert Lambert, whose dishonesty and shoddiness on the subject is exposed here. (Since then, things have got even worse for Bob Lambert – Exeter has been forced to remove an entire chapter of his opus and apologise to people he libelled.) Inevitably, Lambert pops up in the Sindy piece, described as a “leading academic.” Not so leading that he knows how to use a calculator, it seems.

There is, of course, plenty of anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it’s disgraceful. But these police figures are the only the latest in a great deal of evidence to suggest that it is, thankfully, diminishing. Britain’s main anti-Muslim political party, the BNP, has lost the vast majority of its councillors, and effectively collapsed. Racial attacks in many Muslim areas, such as Tower Hamlets, are sharply down. The Tory chairmanship, once home of Norman “Cricket Test” Tebbit, is held by a Muslim woman.

The number of Muslim MPs doubled at the last election, several of them elected for entirely non-Muslim, Middle English seats (such as Bromsgrove and Stratford-on-Avon) without any backlash whatever. Continental moves to ban minarets and the niqab have gained no political traction whatever in Britain.

Muslims are making their way successfully into the mainstream of British life. Shame on the MCB for stereotyping them as victims, and shame on the Sindy for falling for the Islamists’ grievance-mongering agenda.

East London Mosque under pressure over hate preachers

I’ve written in some detail in today’s paper about the campaign of abuse, threats and violence being mounted by Muslim extremists in Tower Hamlets to “Islamise” this multicultural area. There were plenty of other examples I left out – the pharmacy assistant threatened for not wearing a veil, the Labour councillor targeted in an 18-month hate campaign for her “Western” dress, and so on.

Now some of the people worst affected – the local gay community – are increasingly taking a stand. Last week, a group of gay activists wrote a brave and important open letter drawing attention to the problems and the role in them of the fundamentalist East London Mosque, the area’s largest Muslim institution.

Though the mosque regularly claims to be opposed to hate, its actual actions expose this as a lie. Over the last few years, in the activists’ words, the East London Mosque has “hosted numerous hate preachers who have promoted the most vicious homophobia imaginable.”

This February, in the very same week it put its name to another press release condemning a sticker campaign declaring Tower Hamlets a “gay-free zone,” the mosque was preparing to host a gala dinner with Uthman Lateef, yet another homophobic preacher. The Facebook page of Mohammed Hasnath, the only person convicted of putting up the gay-free zone stickers, lists as one of his “likes” another homophobic preacher, Khalid Yasin, who describes Jews as “filth” and says gays should be executed. Yasin has spoken at least four times at the mosque since 2007.

As the gay activists put it: “While it is doubtful that many gaybashers are regular mosque attendees, the East London Mosque’s preachers have created an atmosphere in which hate is socially acceptable.” They call on the mosque to ban the preachers of hate from its premises.

The response of the mosque’s supporters is, quite extraordinarily, to blame the victims. According to Bob Pitt, of the “Islamophobia Watch” website, it is they who are the “bigots” for daring to “stitch up” the East London Mosque. (Bob’s passion for truth was also evident the other week, when he attacked me for an incorrect news-in-brief item about the mosque in the Telegraph which I did not write.)

On the same “Islamophobia Watch” website, Terry Stewart, of a group called Out East, repeats the bigot slur and claims that “the highest rates [of homophobic crime] are not in Tower Hamlets or communities with a high density of Muslim people.” Mr Stewart cites the unlikely borough of Kingston-on-Thames as an anti-gay hotbed, pointing out its 83% year-on-year increase in homophobic crimes.

Sadly for Mr Stewart, the “83 per cent rise” in Kingston turns out to be an increase from, ahem, 6 homophobic hate crimes a year to 11. Percentage changes always look dramatic when they are on tiny bases. The absolute number of gay hate crimes in Kingston last year was about an eighth of the number in Tower Hamlets.

It is true that four of the 32 London boroughs – Lambeth, Islington, Camden and Westminster – have higher absolute numbers of offences than Tower Hamlets. But those boroughs are where the vast majority of “gay London” is located – bars, clubs and gay neighbourhoods such as Vauxhall and Soho. They are among the epicentres of gay Europe. Their gay populations are swollen by tens of thousands of non-resident gay visitors every day. Therefore, contrary to Mr Stewart’s assertion, their “rates” of gay crime are substantially lower than that of Tower Hamlets, which has relatively few gay venues and few non-resident gay visitors.

Terry Stewart has form for making misleading claims in the service of his Islamist chums. As late as 10 March, he was still pushing an obviously preposterous line that the “gay-free zone” stickers quoting the Koran were a false-flag operation by the far right – even though the police had by then told many local gay activists that CCTV evidence existed of a young Asian man putting up the stickers. Was Mr Stewart among those activists that the police had told, I wonder?

Out East is, of course, a self-appointed grouplet which represents nobody – unlike the signatories of the letter, who include a number of well-respected people in the community. But even so, its behaviour is an illustration of the astonishing contortions the hard left can drive people into. How many other supposed gay activists do you know who spend their time attacking other gay people and defending proven homophobes?

Ken Livingstone's own party 'detests' his mass-murderer smear

The Labour candidate in the Putney byelection has said he “detests” Ken Livingstone’s “tasteless and absurd” remarks about Eddie Lister, Boris Johnson’s new chief of staff.

Livingstone twice called Lister, former leader of Wandsworth Council, “the Ratko Mladic of local government” earlier this week. Eddie Lister is a cost-cutting local politician. Ratko Mladic is an indicted war criminal charged with mass murder, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Ken, as predicted, refused to apologise for the smear, saying he was “standing up for parents who face charges for their children to use playgrounds in a borough where affordable housing has been disregarded.”

But Christian Klapp, Labour’s candidate in the 30 June byelection for Lister’s old seat on the council, said: “Ken does not speak for me when he resorts to personal abuse. I detest that sort of campaigning, and I suspect Putney does too. The attack is tasteless and absurd, even by Ken’s standards.”

Other London Labour people aren’t happy, either. Mike Harris, a Lewisham councillor, tweeted: “Ken isn’t doing a great job at building his case.” One of the many London Labour MPs who opposed Ken’s selection as Labour candidate told me yesterday: “This is exactly the sort of thing I feared. The Tories are supposed to be the nasty party. But with Ken, the nasty party is us.”

The interesting thing about the “Mladic” incident is that it feeds into a much broader narrative of Labour discontent with Ken.

In a piece today Atul Hatwal, associate editor of the Labour Uncut website, unveils an analysis of YouGov polling which, he says, shows Labour’s 2 per cent lead in London in January (for Westminster) reduced to a 4 per cent deficit by this month. Since Ken lags well behind Labour’s Westminster rating, the implications for him must be even worse.

“2011 could go down as the year in which the Tories turned back a generation of Labour ascendancy in London and pulled decisively ahead,” writes Hatwal. “If Ken Livingstone acts to type in terms of his electoral strategy, then the results will likely be dire.”

Last month, Shamik Das, editor of the Labour-supporting Left Foot Forward website, condemned the “madness” of a previous Ken outburst, when he called Barack Obama a “mobster” for ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden. Judging by the Ratko incident, Ken doesn’t seem to have learned his lesson.

Last week, Thomas Rainsborough wrote in the Labour magazine Tribune: “There are some significant elements in the London Labour Party who are not particularly bothered whether Ken Livingstone wins or loses in May 2012. Some of them might actually prefer to see him defeated,” an outcome which Rainsborough calls a “distinct possibility.”

Ken’s latest foolishness hasn’t done much to disprove Rainsborough’s thesis.

PS: In the Wandsworth Guardian, Lister himself describes the smear as “cruel,” “pathetic” and “offensive” and talks about legal action. It wouldn’t be the first time Ken has had to apologise and pay damages to someone he’s libelled.

Ken Livingstone: Boris's top aide is like Ratko Mladic

At least compare Boris to the one with the hair (Ratko Mladic, left)
Ratko Mladic (left) does at least also have a boss with outrageous hair

Ken Livingstone yesterday compared Boris Johnson’s chief of staff to a mass murderer. On a visit to Bromley, he called Eddie Lister, the former leader of Wandsworth Council, “the beast of Wandsworth” and “the Ratko Mladic of local government.”

Ratko Mladic is a Bosnian Serb general who has been indicted for crimes against humanity including terror attacks against civilians, forced deportations, hostage-taking, torture, kidnapping, mass rape, and murder, all carried out as part of a campaign of genocide to cleanse a European country of its entire Muslim population.

Eddie Lister is a local politician whose former council wants to charge people to use a children’s playground.

How can the rest of us have missed the obvious equivalence between these two standard-bearers of evil? As so often in the past, London is indebted to Ken’s forensic analytical skills and famously sure touch on matters of race and genocide. I know the 8,000 people killed on Mladic’s orders in Srebrenica would get the parallel immediately (if they were still alive, of course) and their relatives won’t mind at all.

I mostly see Ken these days as a sad old joke, but this is sort of chilling. Even as a gag, it demonstrates how unbelievably offensive and lacking in proportion he can be. Will the victims of Srebrenica, and Lister, get an apology? Don’t bet on it: Ken doesn’t do sorry.

PS: All credit to the Guardian’s resident Ken groupie, Dave Hill, for the Mladic quote, buried right at the end of a typically wordy puff-piece for the big man. It’s been a long wait, Dave – but finally you got a story!