Islamism,  UK Politics

“Stop pandering to the Islamist extremists”

So says Ed Husain, in the Evening Standard:

For example, this week, just days after the 7/7 anniversary, London’s Olympia will see a massive, four-day event sponsored by the London Development Agency, a Ken Livingstone commitment to his friends. Called IslamExpo, the event seems ostensibly harmless and is sure to attract tens of thousands of young Muslims.

Journalists and academics, non-Muslim and Muslim, will speak at the event to lend it a veneer of respectability. But closer examination of the programme reveals something else. The most frequent speakers at this event are advocates of suicide bombing. The directors of Islam Expo Limited, as registered at Companies House, include well-known supporters of clerics who provide theological support for suicide bombers.

Azzam Tamimi, a director, has repeatedly expressed his belief that suicide bombings are martyrdom operations, and lead to paradise in the next life. Another director, Kathem Sawalha, was named as a co-conspirator in a 2003 indictment brought by US federal prosecutors in Chicago against Hamas activists in the US. According to the indictment, before Mr Sawalha moved to London in the early Nineties, he was a Hamas leader in the West Bank. Why are such men being allowed to organise and repeatedly address young Muslims in London?

Their endorsement of martyrdom operations in Tel Aviv makes it theologically possible to attack innocents in London and New York. The suicide bomber who seeks his place in paradise, as promised to him by clerics such as Yusuf al Qaradawi (hosted by Ken Livingstone), sees Brits and Israelis as one thing: kuffar, or infidel.

If you doubt my words, ask the innocent people at university campuses in Pakistan about how Islamists control – through violence and intimidation – their secular Muslim student opposition. Or ask those who live under the tyranny that is Hamas in Gaza. If you still want evidence, then read the writings of the founding father of Islamism, Sayyid Qutb, and digest his view of non-Muslims and Muslims as distinct races and peoples.

Mr Sawalha is the man who is presently threatening me with a libel suit. Tellingly, he does not dispute the revelation in the 2006 Panorama documentary and in a number of court documents, that he is a senior Hamas activist. Yet, somehow, Sawalha thinks that it is improper to imply that a member of a genocidal racist terrorist organisation is an anti-semite.

Ed Husain’s arguments are spot on.

It is a huge relief that, finally, there is a better level of understanding of the manner in which really vicious Islamist groups, with a murderous and totalitarian agenda, have disguised their origins, in order to present themselves, falsely, as moderates.

I think that we’re in the process of seeing a shift in the strategy of these clerical fascist groups.

During the first phase, which I think is now coming to an end, the clerical fascists hid their identity. When the Muslim Association of Britain was identified as the British franchise of the clerical fascist Muslim Brotherhood in The Times, Anas Altikriti issued the following half-hearted protest:

MAB reserves the right to be proud of the humane notions and principles of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has proven to be an inspiration to Muslims, Arab and otherwise for many decades.

We also reserve the right to disagree with or divert from the opinion and line of the Muslim Brotherhood, or any other organization, Muslim or otherwise on any issue at hand.

Similarly, the Jamaat-e-Islami aligned leadership of the Muslim Council of Britain went ballistic when Panorama identified their closeness to Mawdudism: but then blew it all by claiming, unconvincingly that Mawdudi’s description of the Islamic state that he wanted to create as bearing – “a kind of resemblance to the fascist and communist states” – was quoted “out of context”.

Now that the disguises of the prominent UK Islamist groups have fallen away, it is difficult for them to present themselves as a moderate and mainstream voice, and an appropriate partner for government. There’s a near certainty, now, that any publicly funded project, or political event, involving an MCB or MAB connected individual will be quickly picked up by the newspapers: who will ask why a purveyor of vicious sectarian politics has been favoured in this way.

It is even worse than that for the Muslim Brotherhood. The documents disclosed during the Holy Land Foundation trial demonstrated that this organisation has been pursuing a strategy of setting up a series of front groups, with innocuous sounding names – some posing as cultural associations, some as civil liberties outfits – with the aim of fundraising and advocating for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. They did themselves no favours when they described their aim, thus:

The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ’sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

Oooh, what a giveaway!

So, the Islamist front groups are going to have to find a new strategy. So far, two of them have emerged.

Inayat Bunglawala seems to be following the ersatz ex-jihadi route. Banished from the corridors of power, he is now trying to play the penitent in the hope of being invited back. Accordingly, the man who once circulated the works of Osama Bin Laden has now started writing ambivalent articles opposing book burning, speaking up for the Ahmadiyyah and supporting evolution against creationism.  Good for him. Of course, you’ll never hear him say a word against Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood, or Jamaat-e-Islami: because, actually, he’s still a supporter of their politics.

The Muslim Brotherhood front groups are likely to take a slightly different direction. My guess is that they’ll now give up on denying that they’re the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, they’re likely to start representing themselves as the moderate wing of Islamism, the only guys who know how to stop Al Qaeda. “We’re the Middle East’s next big thing”, they say. Work with us, or else you’ll have to negotiate with Bin Laden”. This is the line the Muslim Brotherhood been pushing to the foreign policy establishment, with the help of the likes of Robert Leiken and Alistair Crooke.

I’d support a foreign policy strategy of building informal channels of communication with terrorist organisations, without any of the illusions peddled by the Conflicts Forum bunch. However, I am utterly opposed to the mainstreaming, in British political life, of organisations run by men with will known links to clerical fascist, theocratic, and terrorist organisations.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is the route that the Muslim Brotherhood will pursue next. Under Ken Livingstone’s administration, they enjoyed considerable success in pushing this line. They were aided in doing so by Detective Inspector Bob Lambert, and his “Muslim Contact Unit”:

The aim of the Muslim Contact Unit, set up in 2002, was to avoid the mistakes made during the IRA campaign of alienating the Irish community, and to work with credible Muslim figures to isolate and counter those prepared to support terror attacks. Lambert points as an example to the crucial role played by prominent Islamist activists, such as the British Muslim Initiative leader Azzam Tamimi, in taking back Finsbury Park mosque in 2005 from supporters of Abu Hamza, now awaiting extradition to the US on terrorism charges.

“The government approach is increasingly to lump all Islamist groups together”, the special branch veteran says. “But Islamists can be powerful allies in the fight against al-Qaida influence. Our experience shows they can be the levers that help get young people away from the most dangerous positions.”

Bob Lambert has now retired. His Muslim Contact Unit strategy of putting the Muslim Brotherhood in the driving seat, in effect delegating to them the task of ‘keeping troublesome Muslims from blowing themselves up’ is a public policy disaster. The government needs to be opposing the attempts of these violent hatemongers to corrupt a generation of young men and women: not facilitating it. Lambert’s strategy needs to be retired as well, and for good.  

That is why it is so important to publicise the fact, as Ed Husain has done, of the links between the British Muslim Initiative  – which is running IslamExpo – and Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood. It is as if a celebration of English culture were being run by Combat 18. 

I look forward to fighting the various Muslim Brotherhood front groups out in the open, stripped of the pretence that they are merely a religious, cultural, or human rights group. The pedigrees of their activists need to be stripped bare. Those who team up with them, fund their projects, and speak on their platforms, should do so in the full knowledge that they are supporting an organisation which targets terrorist attacks on innocent civilians abroad, settles its political disputes by murdering its opponents, and proposes to create a theocracy in the Middle East.

My only concern is that, when the Muslim Brotherhood is prevented from achieving its aims in the United Kingdom by subterfuge and sleight of hand, they’ll turn to terrorism over here. Unlikely? That’s what the security services thought of Abu Hamza and his ilk.