UK Politicians Collaborate with Muslim Brotherhood Islamists?
At the end of this month, on November 23-24, UK politicians, in a crushing betrayal of Britain's moderate Muslims, are planning join many of Britain's most outspoken Islamist groups and preachers at the sixth Global Peace and Unity conference, due to be held in London. Tens of thousands attend these conferences; journalists applaud the initiative, and cabinet ministers, political commentators and other policy-makers address its crowds.
Mohamed Ali Harrath, a leading figure in the British Muslim community, founded and organized the Global Peace and Unity conferences in 2005. He claims the events are designed to "promote dialogue, exchange ideas and information, and work towards dispelling misunderstandings surrounding the multiculturalism and co-existence of faiths."
Speakers at this annual event, however, have included Ebrahim Rasool, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, who has described its founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, as an "inspiration;" as well as Zakir Naik, an Indian Islamist preacher recently banned from entering the UK, who has expressed support for suicide bombings and claims that Jews "as a whole" are the enemies of Muslims.
In 2010, the Daily Telegraph reported that, "items glorifying terrorism were on open sale [at the conference] … Also available were 'shahada headbands' as worn by many Palestinian suicide bombers... The headbands contain the personal testimony of the suicide bombers."
Harrath, incidentally, has a conviction in Tunisia for terrorism-related offenses, and the television station of which he is CEO, the Islam Channel, has been accused by a Muslim think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, of promoting extremist groups and encouraging hatred towards women, Jews and minority Muslim sects.
This year, Veritas Consultancy -- a company that also provides services to groups such as Interpal, a US-designated terrorist organization -- is handling the logistics of the conference. Veritas Consultancy, however, has just one director: Mohamed Ali Harrath.
Harrath is a leading Muslim Brotherhood member; and the wealth of evidence that ties the conference, its affiliates and the proposed speakers to Islamist networks seems inescapable. Paul Goodman MP has described the conferences as the "Royal Ascot of the British Islamist calendar."
Despite these warnings, however, a number of public officials and politicians from across the British political spectrum seem happy to share a platform with leading Islamists and, in doing so, legitimize the organizers of the conference as genuine representatives of British Islam.
Not everyone, however, has supported this involvement. A number of senior politicians from across the spectrum have, in fact, disagreed very publicly over the suitable response and degree of "engagement" with Islamist-run Muslim community events.
In 2008, the then-Labour Government deemed another conference, IslamExpo, to be beyond the pale, and banned its MPs from attending. This policy did not, at the time, receive total support from senior politicians. One anonymous Labour Party minister, unhappy with the ban, decried the policy of boycott as "completely counterproductive," and added: "You have to engage with those with influence over those you want to influence."
In the same year, Policy Exchange, a think tank, circulated a briefing paper highlighting the extremist ideology behind the Global Peace and Unity conference. In response, Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats and now the Deputy Prime Minister of Britain, condemned the Policy Exchange report as "offensive," demanded its retraction and, despite the wealth of evidence demonstrating the questionable company he would be keeping, chose to speak at the conference.
Clegg, after praising the "diversity and unity" of modern Britain, said:
Clegg seems to have been under the misapprehension that the extremist speakers were an aberration, when, in fact, their views were outspokenly emblematic of the organizers' ideological designs. The more extreme preachers were not accidental invitees -- they were presented as the conference's star speakers.
Dominic Grieve MP, despite attending the conference, markedly expressed his disappointment at the choice of fellow speakers, and named several whose views he regarded as abhorrent.
By the time of the fifth Global Peace and Unity conference, there had been enough warning from counter-extremism activists for a few politicians to take note. In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron decided to ban his party's chairwoman, Baroness Warsi, from addressing the conference.
This month, the upcoming Sixth Peace and Unity Conference has announced speakers gathered from among the usual litany of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and apologists:
The conference's list of "Supporters" and "Associates" includes organizations such as Interpal, designated a terrorist organization in the United States; Human Appeal International, which the CIA claims to act as a conduit to terror organizations; Islamic Help, which funds organizations run by senior Hamas leaders; Muslim Aid, which funded a number of terrorist front groups; Muslim Hands, a charity accused by Israel of having links to Hamas; the London-based Palestinian Return Centre, an Islamist lobby group considered by intelligence agencies to be a front for Hamas; and Al-Hiwar TV, a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled television station that was recently fined $158,000 for broadcasting a speech that advocated murder as a punishment for blasphemy.
In light of this assortment of speakers and supporters, have British politicians sought to distance themselves from that array of views?
Not in the least: Politicians and public officials speaking at the upcoming event include Andrew Slaughter MP, the shadow Justice Minister; Sadiq Khan, the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC, a Labour Peer; Simon Hughes MP, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats; Khurshid Drabu, a senior immigration Judge; and Shahid Malik, former Minister for International Development. Malik met with Hamas leaders in 2012.
Most remarkably, alongside the extremist organizations, two other "supporters" of the conference include the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police.
Does the focus on the extremist speakers and the affiliated extremist groups unfairly impose guilt-by-association upon the conference organizers?
Apparently not: Of the 29 announced conference speakers, six are public officials or politicians. Of the remaining 23 announced speakers, 19 have expressed extremist views, as listed above.
In other words, the conference speakers can be categorized as follows: 65% are self-proclaimed anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic and pro-terror preachers, 20% are public servants offering legitimacy and moral credibility to them, while the remaining 15% could perhaps claim to be part of the conference's "project dedicated to creating a more harmonious world" -- or, as Simon Hughes MP told the conference in 2008, "Peace and unity...thanks be to Allah...a fantastic thing."
It is all the more astounding, then, that leading politicians have chosen to proclaim the men who espouse these views as cheerleaders for "peace and unity" and a "diverse...tolerant Britain."
The abundance of information already published about the Global Peace and Unity Conferences suggests that politicians are not oblivious to the sort of ideas to which they offer their political legitimacy; rather, they are perfectly cognizant, but have chosen collaboration over criticism. In doing so, are these public servants not actually promoting radical Islamism as the future of Western Islam, and betraying genuinely moderate Muslims everywhere?
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