Azad Ali: Nuclear Weapons for Iran, but not the United Kingdom

You’ll be familiar, by now, with the politics of Azad Ali, National Council member of Liberty, President of the Civil Service Islamic Society and Treasurer of the Muslim Safety Forum.

Mr Ali complains in his latest comment:

Jazakamullah khayer for the comments. It seems I have caught their eye – – but since they have stayed away from the discussion here, I shall let just ignore what they talk about me to themselves.

It’s funny how ‘Habibi’ (who sounds familiar) and David Toube both have not challenged any of my points here. Perhaps they feel they can’t get away from fom cut and pasting half quotes to paint a different picture!

David Toube can be read here:

Readers will notice that Azad Ali links to the website of the notorious anti-semite, Gilad Atzmon: a man who believes that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion accurately reflects contemporary Jewish Power. The post that Mr Ali encourages his readers to visit, ends with the cry:

United Against the Goyim!

That slogan is presented as a summary of my political views.

I think that it is fair, therefore, to suggest that Mr Ali has a fondness for racist material.

Azad Ali’s main complaint is that I have not ‘challenged any of the points’. I think I have. I have argued that it is a bad policy for the British government to accomodate the jihadist philosophy of the Al Qaeda ideologues, Abdullah Azzam and Anwar Al Awlaki. By contrast, Mr Ali thinks this is precisely what our Government ought to be doing.

However, let’s “challenge” some other of Mr Ali’s points.

Here is Azad Ali on 17 February 2007, addressing the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at  an “Interfaith Forum” on nuclear weapons at Westminster Central Hall:

The speakers this time were Bishop Tony Dumper, Azad Ali, Vijay Mehta, Madra Kara and Dinod Kapashi (from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faith communities respectively). Each explained why nuclear weapons were unacceptable in his own religious tradition. A lively question session followed.

Azad Ali, Muslim Council of Britain, said, ‘…we, like many fellow Britons, appreciate the need for a debate on our nuclear deterrent. The decision on Trident must take into account the costly diversion of resources, particularly from the armed forces. It must consider the moral viability of replacement. As a nation of Multi faith and multi values we need to ensure that we focus on the real needs of security and not the perceived needs based on assumptions and ‘what ifs’!
In Islam, Peace is the norm; war is the absolute last resort. There are clear rules …’Do not kill women or children or non-combatants and do not kill old people or religious people.’ ‘Do not cut down fruit bearing trees or poison the wells of your enemies.’

The Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are clear on the sanctity of human life and on the protection of all forms of creation, including the environment. Nuclear weapons do not discriminate between combatants and non combatants and cause long lasting damage to the environment.

The argument that our country is safer with nuclear weapons is fundamentally wrong. Being nuclear free is the international norm and we should be striving to make it more so.’

But lookee here – it is 23 August 2006, and Mr Ali is addressing a rather different audience, on the Islam Channel:

Interviewer: Does Iran have the right to nuclear weapons – not peaceful development, but weapons?

Azad Ali, Muslim Safety Forum: Yes.

Interviewer: Right, now please elaborate why.

Azad Ali: Well, it’s… You’re either fair, and you allow people… You know, what you have for yourself you allow for other people, or you’re unfair and an oppressor. So, if I’m a fair person – if I have a house and a car, I’d expect my fellow man to have a house and a car as well, and I wouldn’t stop them from getting. It’s a simple answer.

Now, to be fair to Mr Ali, he does contextualise his support for a nuclear armed Iran on the possession of such weapons by other states. However that is a very different argument from the one he ran less than five months earlier, to a group of pacifists, when he deplored nuclear weapons on religious grounds, and advocated nuclear disarmament, rather than proliferation.

Perhaps he had a Damascene conversion.

Before the collapse of Communism, prominent activists within the British peace movement played out precisely the same charade, in which supporters of nightmarish totalitarian states made the case for British disarmament, while supporting a nuclear armed Soviet Union.

History is repeating itself.