Fahad Ansari is the Cageprisoners member who slandered Gita Sahgal as an Islamophobe and a dupe of US propaganda.
Readers may recall that he has said he finds al Qaeda preacher Anwar al Awlaki “inspirational” in an article republished on Cageprisoners’ website.
The article was republished in early October 2009. That was a little over a month after the council of Kensington & Chelsea told Cageprisoners that it would not be allowed to broadcast a video message from Awlaki to its annual fundraising dinner in the London borough’s town hall.
In the article, Ansari paints Awlaki’s opponents as enemies of Allah. So did Cageprisoners in a press release issued in September 2009:
Cageprisoners (CP) proudly presents ‘From the Prisoners to the Prisoners’ by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, a message exclusively produced for the successful Cageprisoners fundraising dinner held last Sunday 30 August 2009.
As a result of pressure from Islamophobic pressure groups, Kensington and Chelsea Council refused to allow Imam al-Awlaki’s message to be screened at the event. The Council acted hastily without consulting Cageprisoners about Imam al-Awlaki or the contents of his message. To date, no specific details have been provided as to why the Council decided to ban Imam al-Awlaki’s message. Such blatant censorship by the Council is reflective of the pervasive theme of the ‘war on terror’ – punishment without regard for due process.
In spite of these efforts and perhaps as a result of them, Imam al-Awlaki’s words have seen the light of day and will now inspire countless others beyond the 500 individuals who were deprived of hearing them at the Cageprisoners dinner. “They plot and plan and Allah too plans but Allah is the best of planners.” (Qu’ran 8:30).
Note the timing. By late August 2009, when the fundraiser was held, eight months had passed since Awlaki published “44 Ways to Support Jihad” (pdf) on his blog. It crudely and explicitly incites its readers to terrorist violence.
So does Awlaki’s “State of the Ummah” speech (pdf) to Pakistanis in March 2009. Specifically, Awlaki said:
My recommendation would be, for my brothers who are [in] Pakistan to give support physically and financially for their brothers in Afghanistan. Two of the most important battles that the ummah is fighting today is the battle in Afghanistan, which is spilling over into Pakistan, and the battle of Iraq. Whoever is capable and able to participate with them physically, then that should happen, and whoever is not able to participate physically should participate in all the other ways that are possible. We are taking about a stage where this support is obligatory…
That means the murder of British soldiers in Afghanistan is a divine must.
This is the noxious preacher Cageprisoners promoted all the way up to the Fort Hood attack in November 2009, which was also “inspired” by Awlaki.
Begg has tried to dissemble his way out of trouble:
“After his release [from custody in Yemen in 2007], I am told, Anwar’s position on issues pertaining to US foreign policy had started to become more hostile.”
“I am told”. Cute. Cageprisoners lifted whole pieces from Awlaki’s now defunct jihadi blog and placed them on the Cageprisoners’ website under an “Islamic Focus” section heading. They knew very well what he was doing. And his extremism was there for all to see long before his detention in Yemen in 2006.
By summer 2009, on top of Awlaki’s explicit and specific calls to jihad on his blog, his ties to terrorist cells had been revealed in media reports. He was indeed an “inspirational” figure for angry young men bent on mass murder.
Anyone still promoting Awlaki at that point was exceptionally irresponsible, at best.
For a “leading human rights organisation”, a term Amnesty International used to describe Cageprisoners after producing a report together with the group, pushing Awlaki was obscene.
The nature of the politics of Cageprisoners is on display in the paper trail of group member, Awlaki fan and Sahgal slanderer Fahad Ansari.
Let’s take a look at part of the trail – this take on 9/11:
Let us try and look at this from the viewpoint of a Pakistani detainee. September 11 2001 – as you hear about the atrocities committed in the U.S., you cannot help but feel a little happiness that for once, the hunter has become the hunted. Yes, thousands of innocents perished in the attack but for once, the Americans will feel the pain and anguish felt by victims of American terror around the world from places as far apart as Guatemala to Iraq to Japan. As wrong as it may be, it is difficult to suppress the sentiment of justice being done.
A few weeks later, the U.S. lead international community, begin dropping bombs on Afghanistan, without evidence linking her to the New York attacks. You think; once again the Muslims are being slaughtered by international terrorists.
Now once again, you witness these symbols of terror launching another brutal campaign against the innocent people of Afghanistan. What do you do? Do you stay at home and wait for them to finish and move on to your country? Or do you do what the international community did in 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait? You rush to defend the innocent and the weak and repel the attackers in an act of collective self-defence. You see the American lead troops as not only a threat to your way of life, but as a threat to life itself. So off you go with your rifle in your hand and your heart on your sleeve.
In a truly just world, these brave people would be honoured as heroes for their noble actions. They charged forth from their homes to uphold the virtues of justice, law and order, sacrificing their lives in the process. They strove to uphold principles common to Western systems of justice such as the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, freedom from torture and the right to self-defence.
Mr Ansari does not proceed to argue with his hypothetical “Pakistani detainee” (he means Taliban fighter), who appears to speak for Mr Ansari himself.
He is proud of being an extremist, you see, as he told a meeting of his former employer, the self-styled Islamic Human Rights Commission:
“Now if you want to do a hand count, I don’t know how many police officers are here, so if you don’t want to put up your hand its perfectly understandable, but in your hearts you know if you believe in these things or not. And so if you do, if you believe in the issue if Palestine, and freedom for Palestinians; you believe in Jihad, an integral part of our deen [religious obedience]; you believe in Sharia and you believe in the Khilafa [caliphate]- you are an extremist, and you are a terror suspect. And be proud, because as Malcolm X said when he was asked “are you an extremist?” He said “yes, I am an extremist. The black race here in North America is in extremely bad condition, you show me a black man who isn’t an extremist and I’ll show you one who needs psychiatric attention!” I think I’ll be glad to call myself an extremist after that!”
It is amazing that Cageprisoners, a bunch of extremists who are about as credible as a little boy covered in crumbs insisting he hasn’t raided the cookie jar, has enjoyed this long run.
And it continues, as you will see in the clueless comments of Claudio Cordone, Amnesty International’s interim secretary general, just last week:
CBC / Radio Canada: And yet, there are many reports that Cageprisoners actually does support jihadi views, jihadi views that would be incompatible with the defence of the human rights of women and other minorities. Are you not uncomfortable with that?
Cordone: Of course and we look into all those but that’s the critical point in this debate. Are we supposed to act on the basis of accurate information, or just innuendos or generalisations? When Gita says, or others say, these guys are promoting extremist views, can someone please explain what are these views; look at their website, look at what they’ve been saying publicly, that’s the evidence on which we have to go about.
Not to mention this ongoing UK tour by Andy Worthington, Begg’s vicar on earth, which will take in plenty of Amnesty groups.
Somewhere in the hinterlands of Yemen Anwar al Awlaki must be laughing.