The Guardian's latest Islamist press release

I appear to have written about The Guardian three days in a row – sorry about that – but the paper’s latest wretched press release for the forces of Islamism can’t go unmentioned.

The Guardian story consists of a number of Muslim groups complaining about being labelled “broadly sympathetic to Islamism” in a leaked list sent to the Home Office by Quilliam, the anti-extremist thinktank. This is, apparently, a “smear” and “like something straight out of a Stasi manual.”

One of the angry groups is the Muslim Safety Forum, a liaison body with the police, whose vice-chair, Fatima Khan, is quoted as saying: “[Quilliam’s] attack on the MSF is yet another example of their McCarthyism and desperation to ensure government funding. We deplore such tactics that seek to slander, divide and discredit genuine organisations.”

I wonder why the MSF chose its vice-chair to make this passionate denuniciation? Why didn’t it put up its newly-reappointed chair, Azad Ali? Perhaps it’s because Mr Ali is a self-proclaimed Islamist who describes al-Qaeda as a “myth” and who has stated, in undercover Channel 4 footage, that “democracy, if it means not implementing the sharia, of course nobody agrees with that.”

Perhaps it’s because Mr Ali is a senior official of the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe – which works, in its own words, to create an Islamic state under sharia law in Europe. The IFE and the MSF share the same offices.

Perhaps it’s because Mr Ali was described by a High Court judge as a man who believed that “the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified.”

Perhaps it’s because, on his IFE blog, Mr Ali has praised a key mentor of Osama bin Laden, strongly supported Hamas, and disputed that the Mumbai attacks were “terrorism.” (These entries have now been removed – but we have the hard copies.)

The MSF – and many of the other organisations listed by Quilliam – is strongly influenced by Islamism, and it’s very far from “McCarthyite,” “Stasi-like” or a “smear” to say so.

The latest story is part, no doubt, of the leaking and briefing war going on now about the role of non-violent Islamists in government – the subject of my weekly column in tomorrow’s paper. Some influential civil servants hold the naïve view that this revolutionary creed can be tamed through “engagement.” In fact, it can only be strengthened. Representatives of what is a relatively small and extreme minority of British Muslims have been anointed by the state as authentic, legitimate voices.

Luckily, ministers appear to disagree with the “engagement” approach. Let’s hope the MSF and the rest of them spend a very long time out in the cold.


Islamist Blogpost of the Day 8: Political Rules Are For Other People

THE fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe is fond of telling us that it is merely a bunch of  “democratic Muslims” seeking to take part in the political process – a line faithfully echoed by apologists like Inayat Bunglawala.

Here is the IFE’s real and rather more cynical approach to political participation and democracy, from the ever-gabby Azad Ali, its community affairs co-ordinator, on the group’s official blog on 5 November 2008: “I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms… Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by ‘rules’ that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter? These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God…. In engaging on terms that are not our own, we allow this malady to infiltrate us to the point where we have to compromise our basic principles, whether that be sexuality, interest (riba) or the application of the Revelation in our daily lives, vis a vis separation of religion from politics.”

 Seems like a fairly clear justification of – well – entering into politics on a deceitful basis to me…

PS: Azad also puts in a good word for those unfairly-maligned Hadd punishments – you know, stoning for adultery, chopping off a hand for theft, that sort of thing. Just the ticket for a man who’s adviser to the Crown Prosecution Service!

Islamist Blogpost of the Day 3: Hate the disbelieving actions of the non-Muslims

Here’s the latest thought from those self-proclaimed champions of moderation and inter-faith harmony, the Islamic Forum of Europe – the people, let’s not forget, who have according to a minister infiltrated the Labour Party, and who exercise growing control over a London borough council. This is Azad Ali, the IFE’s community affairs co-ordinator, on the organisation’s official blog, on 25 April 2008:

“Some may argue that the word infidel is a bit offensive… so what?…This reminds me of some apologetic Muslims who go round telling anyone who will listen that Islam has no concept of war, they would go to the extreme and deny Jihad, all due to their inferiority complex…We should in general ‘hate’ the disbelieving actions of the non-Muslims but not them as a person…  Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

In future instalments: what they think about Jews. Not pretty reading for those of a liberal disposition.


Ken Livingstone once again shows that he is a liability

When I rang the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, on Friday afternoon to tell her that she was sharing an event with a man who has justified the killing of British troops in Iraq, she gasped and was briefly speechless.

Now, as the bad headlines grow, how Harriet and her Cabinet colleague Ed Miliband, who also graced the proceedings, must be regretting their decision to associate themselves with “Progressive London,” the re-election vehicle and fan club of ex-mayor Ken Livingstone, and its sometimes bizarre smorgasbord of “progressive” chums.

As I described yesterday, Azad Ali, the progressive in question, was suspended from his civil service job last year after praising Abdullah Azzam, the key mentor of Osama bin Laden. Azzam was, said Mr Ali, one of the “few Muslims who promote the understanding of the term jihad in its comprehensive glory” as both a doctrine of “self-purification” and of “warfare.”

Mr Ali then quoted Azzam’s son, approvingly, as saying: “If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq, I would kill him because that is my obligation… I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.”

Last week Mr Ali lost a libel action against a newspaper which reported his comments. The judge said that he “was indeed… taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified” and said his libel claim had an “absence of reality.”

Azad Ali – who also disputes the Mumbai attacks were acts of terrorism, and has called for a global Islamic dictatorship under sharia law, despite taking a handy salary from the British government – was not the only person on show yesterday for whom the label “progressive” is misplaced.

Although the majority of those speaking were genuine progressives, democratic socialists or social democrats, there was a fair sprinkling of speakers whose politics could fairly be described as anti-democratic, illiberal or straightforwardly totalitarian, and a number who advocate discrimination against women and gay people.

In that respect, as in so many others, it was a re-run of Ken’s mayoralty, which wooed bigots and reactionaries far too much for many progressives’ liking. As one prominent Left-wing blogger, who attended yesterday’s conference, put it, the event “invited a whole range of old, stale voices because they were Ken’s friends… The problem, many have said, is that Ken is too loyal to people who have become a liability.” We were spared Lee Jasper and Sir Ian Blair yesterday, but they were about the only two.

Ironically, as others on the Left have pointed out, it is Ken himself who blew the best opportunity for at least a generation to create a progressive, non-party coalition in London. Let us not forget that in 2000 he was elected to the mayoralty as an independent. Then in January 2004, at the height of public anger about Labour’s behaviour over Iraq, he rejoined the Labour Party, just as virtually else I know was leaving.

Now, as they contemplate the universally bad headlines from Ken’s event, even the Labour Party will be reminded of what the 2008 election should already have told them – Livingstone is a liability.