The Sunday Telegraph has published four articles about the Islamic Forum of Europe’s baleful influence on politics in East London.
The IFE is closely linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, a South Asian Islamist group. For a look into its thinking, see this speech last week by its leader Syed Munawar Hasan:
The JI chief said that in order to malign Jehad, the Western Media, at the instance of the US, had been dishing out false news and circulating these through the ISPR [the public relations unit of Pakistan’s armed forces]. He said the activities of the Muslims against the non-Muslim forces in Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Iraq were real Jehad that would end up in the liberation of occupied Muslim states. He said the oppression of the non-Muslim powers had compelled the Muslim youth to rise against the tyrants. Street terrorism was the weapon of the weak people, he said. The Muslim masses, he said, were more worried about the state terrorism of the US-crony Muslim rulers than the attacks of the aliens as this had increased terrorism and lawlessness. Syed Munawar Hasan pointed out that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) during his ten years of life at Madina, as also his companions, continuously waged Jehad against the infidels. The Holy Quran contained as many as 486 verses that were considered as verses on Jehad. The Muslim Ummah today, was confronting hardships on all sides and the enemy was taking it as soft fodder while the US was labeling Jehad as terrorism only to bring it bad name However, the Muslims all over the world had raised the banner of Jehad to demonstrate their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The objectives of the Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine and Hizbul Mujahideen in Held Kashmir were the same.
One of the IFE’s founders, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, is a war criminal, according to a Channel 4 documentary made in the 1990s:
In March 1971, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a journalist at the Daily Purbodesh, was an active member of the Islami Chaatra Sangha (ICS) – the student wing of the Jammat-I-Islami which actively opposed Bangladesh liberation war and aided the Pakistani military.
In August 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami, according to its own newspaper the Daily Sangram(5), set up the Al-Badr Squad comprising members of the ICS to violently combat the forces supporting Bangladesh’s liberation. Mueen-Uddin became a member of the Al-Badr.
Bangladesh Obsever reported on December 29th, 1971, “Chowdhury Mainuddin, a member of the banned fanatic Jamaat-e-Islami, has been described as the “operation-in-charge” of the killing of intellectuals in Dhaka by Abdul Khaleq, a captured ring leader of the Al-Badr and office bearer of the Jamaat-e-Islami.”
New York Times reports on 2 January 2 1972 – “to his fellow reporters on the Bengali-language paper where he worked, Chowdhury Mueenuddin was a pleasant, well-mannered and intelligent young man…there was nothing exceptional about him except perhaps that he often received telephone calls from the leader of a right-wing Moslem political party. But, investigations in the last few days show that those calls were significant. For Mr. Mueenuddin has been identified as the head of a secret, commando like organization of fantatic Moslems that murdered several hundred prominent Bengali professors, doctors, lawyer and journalists in a Dhaka brick yard. Dressed in black sweaters and khaki pants, members of the group, known as Al-Badar, rounded up their victims on the last three nights of the war…Their goal, captured members have since said, was to wipe out all Bengali intellectuals who advocated independence from Pakistan and the creation a of a secular, non Moslem state.”
Here are some excerpts from today’s articles.
Islamic radicals ‘infiltrate’ the Labour Party
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Jim Fitzpatrick, the Environment Minister, said the IFE had become, in effect, a secret party within Labour and other political parties.
“They are acting almost as an entryist organisation, placing people within the political parties, recruiting members to those political parties, trying to get individuals selected and elected so they can exercise political influence and power, whether it’s at local government level or national level,” he said.
“They are completely at odds with Labour’s programme, with our support for secularism.”
Mr Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar and Canning Town, said the IFE had infiltrated and “corrupted” his party in east London in the same way that the far-Left Militant Tendency did in the 1980s. Leaked Labour lists show a 110 per cent rise in party membership in one constituency in two years.
Since Mr Rahman became leader, more council grants have been paid to a number of organisations which our investigation established are closely linked to the IFE.
Funding for other, secular groups was ended or cut. In the borough’s well-known Brick Lane area, council funds were switched from a largely secular heritage trail to a highly controversial “hijab sculpture”, angering many residents who accused the council of “religious triumphalism”.
Leaked Labour Party membership lists obtained by this newspaper provide clear evidence that someone is certainly infiltrating Labour.
From 2006 to 2008, membership in the Bethnal Green and Bow constituency more than doubled from 551 to 1,159, at a time when the party’s membership nationally was in steep decline. In 2006, the party, like the constituency, was roughly 50-50 Asian and non-Asian.
But 90 per cent of the new members were Asian. Some 175 joined in a two-week period between Sept 14-28, 2007, and 31 on a single day — Sept 20, 2007.
Some of the new members told The Sunday Telegraph they were signed up en bloc by Lutfur Rahman, the man accused of rising to the council leadership with the IFE’s help.
In another case the supposed “members” could not be found and had never appeared on the electoral roll at the address they gave, but a person with the same name as an East London Mosque employee was on the roll at that address. Many other new members have the same names as staff or trustees of IFE-linked organisations. The exercise is not conclusive because many people in the Bangladeshi community have common names — but it is suggestive. The IFE denied it was in any way behind the rise in membership.
Mr Rahman said: “It is because the people of Tower Hamlets are very politicised, are very committed Labour supporters.”
Radicals with hands on the levers of power: the takeover of Tower Hamlets
According to senior IFE activists speaking to undercover reporters for Channel 4’s Dispatches, Tower Hamlets council – with its 15,000 staff and £1.1 billion budget – is their most impressive political achievement yet.
In secret filming, Abjol Miah, an IFE activist and Tower Hamlets councillor, said: “We’ve consolidated ourselves now. We’ve got a lot of influence and power in the council, councillors, politicians.” Abu Talha, an IFE member, said: “Our brothers have gone into positions of influence, council positions.”
At the last annual general meeting of the council’s Labour group, Helal Abbas, a former leader, accused the IFE of controlling the council. Many Labour councillors said Labour’s Lutfur Rahman, the council leader, was helped during his campaign by a senior IFE official, who canvassed councillors – both Asian and white – on his behalf.
Many of the councillors concerned were approached for comment and none would deny it. Typical answers included: “It would be difficult for me to lie, so that’s why I’m not saying anything.”
After Mr Rahman became leader, Tower Hamlets appointed a new assistant chief executive, Lutfur Ali, who – the investigation established – has links to the IFE. In 2006 Mr Ali set up a group called the Centre for Muslim Affairs. The other directors were trustees of the IFE or directors of other organisations closely connected to it.
Mr Ali got the £125,000 job even though council-appointed headhunters described him as “rather limited”, “one-dimensional” and “superficial”. They said he might “struggle with the intellectual challenges [of] a highly strategic role”.
Unknown to the headhunters, Mr Ali was forced to resign from a previous post at the London Fire Authority after breaking rules on political neutrality. He omitted this fact from his Tower Hamlets application.
Inextricably linked to controversial mosque: the secret world of IFE
The [East London] mosque and IFE are inextricably intertwined. Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari, the chairman of the mosque, and its vice-chairman are former IFE presidents.
The director and imam of the mosque are trustees of the group. Of 22 IFE trustees in recent years, only five have not also been trustees or officeholders of the religious centre.
The mosque calls the IFE a “social welfare organisation” and the IFE presents itself as committed to “community cohesion” and “tolerance”.
But the undercover reporters discovered that it was also a sophisticated political group with a structured rank system and hardline goals.
Prospective recruits must attend training. One undercover reporter was told that she would have to take an exam and swear an oath of allegiance and ordered to keep her membership of the IFE a secret.
Azad Ali, the IFE’s community affairs coordinator, was filmed by the undercover reporters stating: “Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, no one’s going to agree with that.”
The IFE is not itself a violent organisation. None of its members is known to have been personally implicated in any terrorist act and it has, apparently sincerely, condemned terrorist attacks in London.
However, the IFE appears satisfied to host speakers who advocate hatred and violence. Several of its senior officials, including Mr Ali, until recently defended Anwar al-Awlaki, who is blamed for inspiring at least three terrorist attacks, including September 11 and the attempted underwear bombing in Detroit.
Several IFE activists and officials, including Mr Ali, support Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the British and American governments. Mr Ali advocates the destruction of Israel, justifies the killing of British troops in Iraq, believes al-Qaeda is a “myth” and has praised Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam.
The mosque also insisted it was tolerant and liberal. Its assistant general secretary, Shaynul Khan, claimed it was “at the forefront of promoting integration [and] cohesion”. Dr Bari has promised: “If I hear of a specific preacher inciting hatred, I will ban him from the mosque.”
The investigation by this newspaper has established that far from being “banned”, hate and extremist preachers regularly appear at the mosque. It has hosted at least 27 of them over the past three years, and at least 18 of them over the past year alone.
They included Murtaza Khan, who said at the mosque that any woman who used perfume was an adulterer; Bilal Philips, named by the US government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing; Hussein Yee, who said September 11 was a conspiracy of the Jews; and Mr al-Awlaki, whose last video talk at the mosque, on Jan 1, 2009, was advertised with a poster of New York under bombardment.
Hussein Ye on Jews and Christians:
It is very good to see some in Labour fighting back against the IFE.
Hopefully certain Tories will do the same, starting with Boris Johnson and London Assembly member Andrew Boff, who have promoted and defended the East London Mosque.
A commenter who claims to be Andrew Boff, a Tory councilor who has strongly defended the East London Mosque, says as follows:
“some in Labour” may be right to think that there are votes in Islamaphobia.
Forgive me if I decline to take up your kind offer of pursuing them too.
I don’t want to feel that dirty when I go to bed at night.
Precisely why a Tory councilor, who is gay, would want to defend a small clique of theocratic entryists, connected to a fascist South Asian political party, who promote preachers who call for the execution of homosexuals is beyond me. Even at its worst, during the Section 28 years, the Tories were never quite that bad.
It is disgraceful that Boff should attempt to attack a targeted exposure of specific activists in a particular political party, whose conduct is a matter of record, as ‘Islamaphobia’.
Boff’s intervention demonstrates clearly that the problem is not limited to the revolutionary Left, or the Labour party. Expect to see move Tory councilors and other grandees courting these fascists.
UPDATE 2: Boff clarifies his position
re: Update – erm .. I’m not a councilor (sic).
Anyway – The fact that there are dodgy goings on in the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets is old news. The fact that their are some nutters who are Muslims is statistically inevitable.
The fact that internal tensions build up when a religion struggles to interprete their holy texts in a modern context is hardly confined to Islam.
The fact that when people don’t integrate they are called aloof and when they do ‘entryists’ is sad.
Any specific allegations of illegality need to be investigated one by one but tying all these together into a plotline worthy of Dan Brown would be funny if it wasn’t being used to tarnish the reputation of some very fine people who, rather than blogging venom, are actually working to make East London a better place.
I’ve got rather tired of these “enemies in our midst” exposés. They always tell us there is a threat but never suggest any course of action other than not to trust people who may have a different outlook to ourselves.
I find it all rather sinister.