Last Friday, in the wake of a closely argued debate about whether Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, had used the phrase “Evil Jew” or “Jewish Lobby” in a speech, Harry’s Place received a letter. The letter is from Dean and Dean, a firm of solicitors who are acting for Mr Sawalha. Mr Sawalha has demanded that we take down certain articles from Harry’s Place, and publish an apology “in the attached wording”.
The solicitors have failed to attach the apology that Mr Sawalha insists we publish. That omission matters little, as we have no intention of apologising to him at all, nor of taking down any article.
We have responded to Mr Sawalha’s solicitors, through Mishcon de Reya, who are acting for us.
Mr Sawalha claims that we have “chosen a malevolent interpretation of a meaningless word”. In fact, we did no more than translate a phrase which appeared in an Al Jazeera report of Mr Sawalha’s speech. When Al Jazeera changed that phrase from “Evil Jew” to “Jewish Lobby”, we reported that fact, along with the statement that it had been a typographical error.
Mr Sawalha says that the attribution of the phrase “Evil Jew” to him implies that he is “anti-semitic and hateful”. Notably, he does not take issue with our reporting of the revelation, made in a Panorama documentary in 2006, that he is a senior activist in the clerical fascist terrorist organisation, Hamas. The BBC report disclosed that Mr Sawalha “master minded much of Hamas’ political and military strategy” and in London “is alleged to have directed funds, both for Hamas’ armed wing, and for spreading its missionary dawah”.
Hamas is an organisation which recently took power in Gaza by means of a violent coup, in which they consolidated their power by systematically murdering their Palestinian political opponents. It operates by deliberately targetting innocent Israel civilians in terrorist attacks: a tactic which it has used to stymie any prospect of a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine.
Hamas is both racist and genocidal. Its foundational document, the Hamas Covenant is little more than a racist diatribe against Jews. It claims that Jews have used their money to control the world media. It claims that Jews engineered revolutions, in particular “the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there”. Jews are also said to control “imperialistic countries”. Jews are also claimed to have instigated the First World War, in order to destroy the Caliphate, and the Second World War, in order to make money from arms dealing. Indeed, “[t]here is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it”. Jews are said to operate by forming “secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions”,
The Hamas Covenant also states:
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. “May the cowards never sleep.”
This is the Covenant to which a member of Hamas signs up when they join. To have joined such an organisation means that you are a racist.
A member of Hamas has no reputation to defend.
Mr Sawalha has been the prime mover in a number of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood associated projects. He is President of the British Muslim Initiative. He is the past President of the Muslim Association of Britain. He was the founder of IslamExpo, and is registered as the holder of the IslamExpo domain name. He is also a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque.
The British Muslim Initiative has co-organised with Liberty, Britain’s most prominent civil liberties campaigning group, a National Rally to Defend Freedom of Religion, Conscience and Thought. Speakers included Ken Livingstone, the Tory Party Vice Chair, Sayeeda Warsi, and the shadow Tory Attorney General, Dominic Grieve MP, and Andrew Stunell MP, the Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Community and Local Government.
All these people spoke on the platform of a group founded by a man who has been identified as a senior Hamas activist.
IslamExpo is also organised by the British Muslim Initiative, and was founded by Mr Sawalha. In past years, various government ministers, including Tessa Jowell, have spoken at IslamExpo. This year, a government minister, Stephen Timms, will be taking part in this event.
Stephen Timms will be speaking on the platform of a group founded by a man who has been identified as a senior Hamas activist.
Mr Sawalha is a trustee of Finsbury Park Mosque. The Muslim Association of Britain was assisted in their takeover of the Mosque from the jihadist cleric, Abu Hamza, by the Metropolitan Police. In other words, a mosque that was once controlled by an Al Qaeda supporter, is now controlled by a man who has been identified as a senior Hamas activist. Can you forsee how this is going to turn out?
Mr Sawalha is a man who prefers to conduct political debate by means of litigation. He hopes to bully those who oppose his vicious theocratic politics with threats of writs. I suppose that I should be relieved. Hamas’ usual technique is to murder those with whom it disagrees.
Mr Sawalha’s British Muslim Initiative put out a press release on 2 July 2008, describing us as “racist”, “underhand”, “plainly lying” and “pure evil”. We are none of these things. Yet, instead of seeking to sue Mr Sawalha and his organisations for the serious defamation of our characters which he has circulated, or demanding an apology, we took his arguments on.
Mr Sawalha operates by invective and legal threat, because he has no other answer to the case which we have advanced. This is the context within which he expects people to attend IslamExpo and other British Muslim Initiative organised events. How can there be genuine debate in these circumstances?
One final point. It used to be the case that groups like the Muslim Association of Britain and its sister organisations, the British Muslim Initative and the Cordoba Foundation, would angrily deny that the were the British franchise of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, so it seems, they’re happy that the close links between these groups, and their members, be known. What Mr Sawalha is objecting to is not the reporting of his activism in Hamas. It is the suggestion that he is a racist. That is very telling.
Yesterday I argued that Hamas/the Muslim Brotherhood are likely to start representing themselves as the moderate wing of Islamism, and a bulwark against jihadism. That promise is backed by a threat: unless we co-operate with the Muslim Brotherhood, we’ll have to deal with Al Qaeda. The presence of government ministers and senior opposition figures on various British Muslim Initiative linked platforms suggests, either that they have successfully rebranded as the Islamists that the West can do business with, or that these senior politicians have been incredibly badly briefed.
The official thinking behind outsourcing terror prevention to terrorist-linked groups must be that many Muslims have an affinity for political violence that can only be kept in check by certain authentically vicious Islamists, who have agreed to behave well within the United Kingdom. That is precisely the thinking which underpinned the so-called “covenant of security” offered by certain jihadist groups in the 1990s. That covenant was quickly torn up, and the radicalised followers of the preachers of hate became terrorists: murderers of Britons of all faiths.
To make the same mistake again, by treating with Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood linked groups, would be a disaster for this country, and also for the vast majority of British Muslims who are not terrorists, and who are likely to be the primary victims of the Islamists in this country, as they are abroad. We all deserve better.
If Mr Sawalha persists in attempting to silence us with this desperate legal suit, we will need your help.
We won’t be able to stand up to them alone.
If this is the same Dean and Dean that is acting for Mr Sawalha, then we’re in for a bumpy ride:
“The multiplicity of proceedings, appeals and applications is the product of what I consider to be an abuse of the process of the court by the proposed applicants, Dean and Dean”.
In addition, Mr Sawalha he may be in for a nasty surprise when he receives his bill from them.
Best to let it lie, Mr Sawalha.
(Hat tip: David Boothroyd)
More on Dean and Dean’s zaniness in the Guardian.
(Hat tip, d.z. bodenberg)
More Dean and Dean. Poor Mr Sawalha!
The Ministry of Truth has done some very deep digging on Medyan Dairieh, the journalist who interviewed Sawalha for Al Jazeera.
It has uncovered some questions which really ought to be answered.