antisemitism,  Islamism,  UK Politics

Said Ferjani: Not Fit For Public Purpose

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) was defiant when it was asked about the publication of a blood libel on its website, even though it took the story down. Here is Said Ferjani, the head of Policy and Public Relations at the MAB:

“We are not making this up. I have seen it reported on Al Jazeera.”

So, no admission of an “error”, no apology, just a reference to Al Jazeera, as if that network lent credibility to such a story.

Actually, it is interesting that Ferjani mentions Al Jazeera. It did report this story, but it was not the MAB’s source.

Instead, someone at the MAB (the head of public relations, perhaps?) republished this dreck from a site called “”. Look at this “Debunking” page about Zionism and you will see that the blood libel is no weird one-off. The website is dedicated to vicious Israel hatred. How interesting that someone at the MAB reads it and has cited it.

The MAB does have form. As Dave Rich notes in the post below, this is not the first time it has published antisemitic material. Here’s the “Jewish Threat on the American Society” Benjamin Franklin hoax, invented by an American Nazi, pushed in 2000 at the foot of an article by Daud Abdullah, in a magazine published by the MAB.

Just two months ago, the MAB published the creepy musings of Paul Craig Roberts about Israel controlling America. That article is still up on the MAB’s website.

At present, the MAB home page offers this video, which demonises Israel and claims – here we go again – that Israel controls American politics and the media.

Ferjani himself has expressed similar views. Here he is in 2006 tracing white racism in Britain back to Jews manipulating the media:

Al- Ferjani said that the right wing extremists reached this dangerous status because:

First: The general practices of the British media which is subject to business men and the Jewish lobby. Some of these media work for certain aims which are far from partiality and honesty. There is a daily mobilization that Islam and Muslims present a great risk to Britain , and therefore, they must be abolished. Also there are some mass media describing Islam and Muslims as terrorists. The security forces practices also have a great impact in this respect.

Second: and the most dangerous one from al- Ferjany’s point of view is Al- Qa’eda network’s actions. They are in the favor of Zionist lobby and the enemies of Islam as well, i.e. the media use these actions to mutilate Islam and Muslims, and overgeneralizing these practices on all Muslims.

The rest of this post takes a closer look at Mr Ferjani.

Ferjani is Tunisian. In the 1980s, he was a member of the “An Nahda” (Renaissance) party of leading Tunisian Islamist Rashid al Ghannoushi. One Moroccan newspaper has named him the party’s “security chief”.

Inspired by the Iranian revolution, in the 1980s Tunisian Islamists hoped to see the secular Tunisian regime crumble, just like the Shah’s. According to the authorities, they had their own plans to make that happen: violent demonstrations, led from a strong base in Tunisian universities; terrorist attacks; assassinations of government officials; and infiltration of the armed forces to mount a coup. Ferjani was among this number.

The government responded to the Islamists with brutal crackdowns. Ferjani was imprisoned and says he was tortured.

After he was released, he chose to flee Tunisia and settled in London, just like his fellow Tunisian Islamists Rashid al Ghannoushi and Mohamed Ali Harrath, now the owner and CEO of Islam Channel.

In the end the Tunisian government prevailed over its enemies and the country was spared the horror of Islamist rebellion that ensued in the 1990s next door in Algeria.

In recent years some exiles have given up the fight and returned to Tunisia, creating division with hardliners who remain committed.

Unless he cuts a deal with the government, as other exiles are said to have done, return is not an option for Ferjani. In 2005 he was found guilty in absentia of several terrorism offences, alongside Mohamed Ali Harrath. Both men were sentenced to 56 years in prison.

Tunisian convictions are widely dismissed. Ferjani termed his “absurd”. The Tunisian government’s many human rights abuses are also rightly condemned. This does not change the fact that there was a highly radical Islamist faction in Tunisia in the 1980s, bent on revolution and ready to use violence, and Ferjani was at the heart of it all.

Furthermore, Tunisian justice is not always about blind vengeance on anyone in the dock. In January 2003, Ferjani was found guilty (pdf) in absentia of belonging to an illegal organisation and illicit fundraising and sentenced to 13 months in prison. Four of the seven defendants in this case were acquitted.

The UK

Mr Ferjani is not very keen about integration in the UK, as you will see in this video (may be slow to load), where he suggests that if anyone needs to work on integration, it is non-Muslims.

The Socialist Party certainly discovered the limits to common ground with Ferjani at a conference in 2006:

Greg Randall raised the issue of persecution of LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in regimes like Iran and Afghanistan and that the MAB has never criticised this, he concluded that this was a key issue in uniting workers against racism.

Seyyed Ferjani responded that in his interpretation of Islam sexuality should be kept in the private sphere and not in the public domain leaving the position of the MAB unclear.

Ferjani’s politics are indeed Islamist and nasty to this day. He was one of the ten men who visited the Turkish ambassador to the UK in February 2009 to congratulate Turkish prime minister Erdogan for storming off a platform he shared with Shimon Peres at the Davos summit. Erdogan cited the notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon in his rant.

In August 2009, Ferjani was reportedly among a select group of Muslims who met with Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a revolting antisemite.

Absurdly enough, Ferjani is an important figure in the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), a brainchild of the government after 7/7. Its mission is to improve governance in mosques and counter extremism. Ferjani chaired MINAB from the launch phase up to May 2009 and is one of four vice chairs at the organisation today.

MINAB work has given him access to the affairs of the Charity Commission. Here he is quoted approvingly in a press release (pdf, page 13) about the Commission’s hiring of Ghulam Rasool, former charity secretary of Islamic Help, which currently supports Hamas:

“We welcome the establishing of the Charity Commission’s new Faith and Social Cohesion Unit, and the important work it will be doing to promote the benefits to mosques of registering as a charity. We look forward to working closely with the Commission to support high standards of governance at mosques, with the wider community benefits that this will deliver.”

Here he is welcoming a silly “everything is peachy in UK mosques” survey by the Charity Commission and attacking the Quilliam Foundation:

The current Chair Said Ferjani said, “The MINAB is pleased to welcome the conclusions of an independent survey commissioned by the Charity Commission on the state of Mosques in Britain. It notes with some sadness that the positivity of this credible report has been drowned in some parts of the media by a report published by the Quilliam Foundation. The report of the Quilliam Foundation is shallow and lacking in objective analysis. Its evidentiary foundation is very weak and in fact very difficult to fathom.”

Said Ferjani should have no role whatsoever in British public life.

The fact that he does have a role is an indictment of all the fools and knaves who have helped him and the MAB to advance their poisonous racist politics in this country.