This is a cross-post from the Telegraph.
Leaked emails show union heads’ links with Islamic extremist groups
Leaders and activists of Britain’s biggest teachers’ union are colluding with Islamic extremists to undermine policies aimed at preventing terror attacks.
Private emails leaked to the Telegraph show that Rob Ferguson, a senior National Union of Teachers (NUT) activist in heavily-Muslim Newham, east London, is working with Mend, an extremist front group, and Cage, the notorious organisation which backed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) killer known as “Jihadi John”.
Mr Ferguson is orchestrating a campaign with Mend to discredit Prevent, the Government initiative which aims to spot signs of radicalisation in young people. A member of the NUT’s ruling national executive, Alex Kenny, and Ian Hale, the NUT’s assistant secretary in Newham, are also involved.
Mr Ferguson is a senior tutor at Newvic, the borough’s largest sixth-form college. One of its students was Roshonara Choudry, who later stabbed the local MP, Stephen Timms, trying to kill him, as punishment for his support of the Iraq war. Another student was Hassan Farooq, who stated on social media that “the solution to Newvic’s political problem = Hitler… the hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews.”
Under Prevent rules, college staff have a legal duty to act if they suspect a student has extremist views or could travel to Syria. However, Mr Ferguson claims the policy “effectively criminalises people for being Muslims”.
The emails show he worked with Mend’s chair in Newham, Tahir Talati, to organise an anti-Prevent statement, signed by Mr Hale and local imams. It claimed, falsely, that Prevent attacked “normal Muslim religious practice” with young Muslims targeted “for the views they hold on issues such as government foreign policy”.
The statement also claimed that Prevent was behind moves to “ban Friday prayers” and Islamic dress in two Newham schools.
School officials said this was also untrue.
“They are winding up vulnerable young people with lies in an extremely dangerous way,” said one. “It is disgusting.”
The mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, condemned the statement, saying: “It is the task of professionals to protect their pupils from extremism and it is not acceptable to walk away.”
Mend’s director of engagement, Azad Ali, has supported the killing of British troops and said “democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, of course no-one agrees with that”. Mend has organised many events with extremist, bigoted and anti-democratic speakers and has called for British Muslims to be allowed to fight in Syria.
The other figure closely involved in the campaign, Yusuf Patel, is a former member of the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir who now runs SRE Islamic, a campaign for the “unacceptability of homosexuality” and the prevention of sex and relationship lessons for Muslim pupils.
In one email, dated 7 Dec, Mr Patel writes of his “congratulations on some excellent work, especially from Rob and Tahir…there is a real desire to replicate this sort of statement against Prevent [elsewhere] so your work is also inspiring many others.” In other emails, Mr Ferguson urges Muslim leaders to sign up to the statement.
Mr Ferguson also spoke at anti-Prevent meetings on 13 June and 23 Nov with Cage activists Cerie Bullivant and Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee held on terrorism charges but later released.
Mr Kenny, the NUT national executive member, has also worked closely with Mend to undermine Prevent. On 17 Sep he spoke at the group’s “Five Pillars Of Islamophobia” meeting in Ilford, saying Prevent was “silencing freedom of expression.”
The NUT declined to comment.