Who said this?
Living in Britain kills me. Everything is so safe, so sanitized and regulated, life here feels like being shut into a tiny box
Not some problematic young Muslim male – but rather Aris Roussinos – author of the recently published My Life Behind Enemy Lines with warlords, fanatics, and not so friendly fire
Scoffing David Goodhart
So Demos went ahead and held its seminar dealing with Muslim statistics bang in the middle of the Friday congregational prayer! A fly on the wall notes that the introductory remarks were by David ‘there is no racism anymore’ Goodhart. In self-congratulatory vein, he scoffed, “Look, there are Muslims present”. Zamila Bunglawala, one of those referred to, pulled him up short: Friday prayers were obligatory for Muslim men but not for women. Goodhart rolled his eyes. One more black mark in his book! This is the man who made the awful remark about Ken Livingstone’s diversity-friendly tenure as Mayor of London: that it was a balkanisation of the city. The allusion of course being to white flight – and ethnic cleansing – because of the Muslim virus.
Shame on Demos!
One would have imagined that a well-informed think tank holding a seminar on an issue of great importance to Muslims in Britain would welcome their participation. However note this invitation that has recently gone out from Demos:
As you may be aware, Demos is conducting research into the barriers young Muslims face in progressing into higher level professions / careers. The research is part of our Mapping Integration research strand, which is chaired by Trevor Phillips former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Research shows that educational attainment rates have dramatically improved in recent years, with young British Muslims showing equal – if not higher – educational attainment than White British pupils. However, data suggests that British Muslims are still under represented in ‘upper professions’ such as finance, banking, media and politics…As part of our research, we are convening a roundtable (with lunch) of experts and stakeholders on Friday 27th June from12.30 – 14.30. …We believe that the research would benefit greatly from your experience and expertise and we very much hope that you will be able to attend.
Are the organisers so unaware (or so indifferent to Muslim practices) that they would time their programme bang in the middle of the weekly jum’a congregational prayer? Must the event be held in Ramadan? Clearly the message must be: Muslims not welcome! Shame.
I love my dog!
Salaam Blogger has been here for half a century but there are aspects of British Values which still baffle him. Apparently – as a mark of affection and friendship - Lady Carla Powell (wife of PR guru Lord Charles Powell, who has served as Tony Blair’s unofficial envoy, and sister in law of Jonathan Powell, TB’s chief of staff) – named one of her dogs, an alsation, “Tony Blair”. No Comment. But it brings to mind Cat Stevens’ first so-Sixties big hit (while blogger was doing his ‘O’ levels):
I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.
All he asks from me is the food to give him strength
All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get
So, I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.
All the pay I need comes shining through his eyes
I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that
I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana…
But in Lady Carla’s case, Beware my Dog!
Remembering Faiz Ahmed Faiz
These verses from Faiz’s great poem against oppression came to Salaam Blogger’s mind when learning of an event organised by the London Business School recently. The chief guest was the Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal. Among his pearls of wisdom were: “Alhamdu liilah Sisi has won….we will crush the Muslim Brotherhood…Saudi Arabia has allocated $40 billion to tackle terrorism…”. These were totally inappropriate and out-of-place remarks, given the audience. The same gaucherie was exhibited by a gung-ho King Abdullah II of Jordan when invited to a luncheon by the Lord Mayor of London in December 2012 – half of the speech was devoted to demonising the Muslim Brotherhood and calling for Al-Azhar to retain its independence and not be taken under the wing of the new government. No one had a clue what he meant by Al-Azhar. These royal scions are on a clumsy quest for support abroad, because the people are not with them.
Hum Dekhain Gay
We shall see
Lazim Hai ke hum Bhi Dekhain Gay
certainly we, too, will see/ We shall see
Woh Din ke Jis ka Wadah Hai
that day that has been promised us
Jo Loh-e-Azl pe Likha hai
Which is written with God’s ink
Hum Dekhain Gay
We shall see
Jab Zulm-o-Sitam ke Koh-e-garaan
When the mountains of cruelty and torture
Ruii ki Tarah Urd Jain Gay
Will fly like pieces of cotton
Hum Mehkumoon ke Paun Talay
Under the feet of the governed
Yeh Dharti Dhard Dhard Dhardkay gi
this earth shiver, shake and beat
Aur Ehl-e-Hukum ke Sar Uper
And over the head of the ruler
Jab Bijli kard Kard Kardke gi
When lightening will thunder
Hum Dekhain Gay
We shall see
Jab Arz-e-Khuda ke kabay se
When from this God’s earth’s (Kaa’ba)
Sab but Uthwaaiy Jain gay
All the idols will be removed
Hum Ehl-e-Safa Mardood-e-Haram
Then we, of clean hearts–condemned by
zealots those keepers of faith
Masnad pe Bithaaiy jain gay
We, will be invited to that altar to sit and Govern
Sab Taaj Uchalay jain gay
When crowns will be thrown off
Sab Takht Giraaiy Jain gay
and over turned will be thrones
Bas Naam rahay Ga Allah ka
Then only God’s name will remain
[Above extract sourced from http://qausain.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/hum-dekhain-gey/]
Surprising players in Britain’s Islamic Finance Market
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London in October 2013 seemed quite gung-ho: “…our ambition is to go further still. Because I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world.I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world”. The market opportunities have been picked up in unexpected quarters, including UK Israel Tech Hub, an enterprise founded by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv in order “to create partnerships in which British companies help Israeli innovation go global, and Israeli innovation gives British companies a global competitive edge”. An event in London on 19th June (2014), sponsored by the corporate law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham has three logos on its publicity flyer: UK Israel Tech Hub, HMG’s UK Trade & Investment and the ‘NewFinance’ network. And the event? ‘Innovations Islamic FinTech, roundtable discussion’. The invitation notes, “the UK is well established as a global player in the Islamic Finance industry…the purpose of this event is to bring together the growing number of interested parties in Islamic FinTech for an exploratory discussion to examine the application of technological innovation to Islamic financial services”. All this begs many questions: is not the technical expertise to be found where Islamic finance is well established, for example enterprises like LembaagaTabung Haji of Malaysia, that has been developing IT systems for Islamic finance for over forty years? Is Israel, a state that denies its Muslim citizens equal rights, a legitimate partner for a discussion to fulfill needs of the Muslim market? Why is HMG promoting Israeli interests, a country in violation of UN resolutions? Is UK Israel Tech Hub’s interest not at odds with the stand taken by anti-Shariah corporate lawyers in the US with Israeli and neo-con connections such as David Yerushalmi?
Bahrain: a betrayal of Christian Liberation Theology?
Bahrain is ruled by a despotic dynasty that is paying out attractive sums of dosh to British and US PR firms to bolster up its image. According to Bahrain Watch these include Bell Pottinger, G3 (Good Goverance Group) and Olton (“leaders in corporate intelligence…that go the extra mile”). Now apparently, Bahrain’s Information Ministry is trying to gain influence in British Muslim civil society (Salaam Blogger has witnessed this first hand – there is no dearth of rentier publicists). It seems the 21st Century despots have gained a new sophistication and skills in camouflaging violence. They are also willing “to go walking on the cat walk” – to use Professor John Keane’s description of the despots. A pity therefore that Church in Need, a Catholic charity, has succumbed to the charm offensive. Impressed that King Isa Al Khalifah has donated land in Awali, south of Manama City, for a cathedral, Bishop Camillo Ballin has thanked Bahrain’s king and ruling family “for their magnanimous gesture of goodwill to the Catholic community of Bahrain in granting 9,000 square meters of land” that will also serve as the vicariate’s apostolic headquarters. What has happened to Christian liberation theology? It was about providing succour to the oppressed rather than solidarity with the oppressor. Remember the words of Gustavo Guterez, its founding figure, in his powerful essay, ‘Notes for a theology of liberation’: “What ultimately brings Christians to participate in liberating oppressed people is the conviction that the gospel message is radically incompatible with an unjust, alienated society.They see clearly that they cannot be authentic Christians unless they act”. Is not Bahrain today an unjust, alienated society, whatever the PR charm offensive?
Ex-MP Andrew Dismore and the Londonistan narrative
Some years ago, Mr Dismore, former MP for Hendon and now London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, was among the vociferous voices highlighting the ‘threat’ posed by Abu Hamza. For example, in 2004, he called for Abu Hamza to be “thrown out” of the UK”, asking why “the British people” were tolerating this man “despite his anti-Semitism, holocaust denial and hatred for our country and our society, from Her Majesty the Queen downwards”. Well, now we know, but alas a decade later when the damage to community relations has been done and the British public have become deeply suspicious of Muslims. The reason why Abu Hamza’s activities were not curtailed, according to a report by Philip Sherwell in the Telegraph: “Holding up what he said were reports from Scotland Yard, Joshua Dratel [Abu Hamza's lawyer in the US trial taking place in May 2014] described the cleric as an ‘intermediary’ who cooperated with MI5 and the police to try to end foreign hostage-takings and defuse tensions with the Muslim community in Britain….Mr Dratel cited specific cases in which he said that the British authorities turned to Hamza for his assistance. After arrests were made in Britain related to the civil war in Algeria, Hamza was asked ‘how the community is reacting and how to keep the community in equilibrium”, he said. “He agreed to do so and made proposals.’ On another occasion, when a British captive was taken in Kashmir, Hamza was reportedly asked to try to intervene as he had connections with the hostage-taking group from his time in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Mr Dratel said his client made “some phone calls” but was unable to help. And the lawyer said that after two suspects in the 1998 US embassy bombings in east Africa were subsequently arrested in Britain, there was a discussion between Hamza and the authorities about ‘cooling the hotheads’.”
So Abu Hamza was a manufactured hothead and a honeytrap. Will Mr Dismore now acknowledge he was rather too eager to pass judgement and is sorry for his role in framing the Londonistan narrative? Telegraph, 7 May 2014
A note for Mr Shawcross
William Shawcross landed the job as Chair of the Charity Commissioners having served on the board of the Henry Jackson Society. It helps to be friends of Michael Gove, a fellow trustee of HJS, an institution that purports to be a think tank but arguably a home from home for Likudniks and holders of a Manichean world view (that ‘Islam is Darkness’) . He now has Muslim charities in the crosshairs. Woe betide them if they send money to groups in Syria! According to him “Islamic extremism is the most deadly threat to charities”. Sounds like hyperbole – the sort of talk one hears from security chiefs seeking to increase their budgets. Don’t expect Shawcross to investigate British registered charities connected to Israeli settler activity in the occupied territories of Palestine. Don’t expect him to finger the many front organisations in the UK that support Hindu fanaticism and have served as a conduit to Modi’s party machinery in the guise of relief funds (as suggested by the fearless Priyamvada Gopal).Oh No!
Perhaps Shawcross was brought to the CC to ensure good governance. We hope the organisation keeps a register of conflicts of interest. Shawcross is partisan – once described as “politically somewhat to the right of Lord Voldemor”. According to the Greater Surbiton blogger he has described Guantanamo Bay as representing ‘model justice’ and as being ‘probably the best-run detention centre in the world and with more habeas corpus rights for detainees than anywhere else’; claimed that ‘Rupert Murdoch has been the bravest and most radical media owner in Britain in the last 40 years’, whose ‘real crime is to have challenged liberal conventions in the US and here.’ Believe that!
Charles Farr’s no-show
Representatives of Muslim charities and other groups were looking forward to meeting the Home Office supremo at the Office for Security & Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) on March 21 at the Baker Street mosque. The organiser was the Muslim Council of Britain and the aim was to seek some explanation from Mr Farr for his frequent briefings to the media about the ‘extremist’ dangers posed by Syrian returnees, rather than raising the matter with Muslim bodies directly. Attendees were disappointed: he did not turn up, but was represented by Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and the PREVENT spokesperson. According to one fly on the wall, Fahy had one message: MUSLIMS, DON’T GO TO SYRIA.How disciplinarian! Those present responded robustly – why is it no concerns are raised when ‘White ethnicity’ doctors and surgeons respond to the humanitarian crisis, but are for ‘people of colour’! Why is it that registered Muslim charities are being viewed with suspicion rather than non-Muslim ones? How come the PM was ready to send in British troops but now criminalising others wishing to go and help? Why are passports being confiscated from aid workers who are Muslim? Finally, a domestic blowback is less likely, because most Muslims accept that the mess has less to do with Western machinations and more with the Saudi vs Iran regional power games. Apparently Mr Farr has scheduled another meeting – watch this space.
Lord Curzon’s Ghosts
Lord Curzon was an imperialist of the old school, who did not think much of the freedom struggle in India, once dismissing the peoples of India for feebleness because they did not indulge in contact sports (like rugger) and dismissing Bengalis as a chattering class of “babus” – during his years of Viceroy of India (1899-1905) he presumably never encountered either kabbadi or Tagore! So like the HMG-philes of Quilliam Foundation appropriating the name of Abdullah Quilliam, so a body called Curzon Education Ltd seems to believe that a quintessential imperialist nabob’s moniker might add a touch of class! Director of CE is retired captain Afzal Amin, also Tory candidate for Dudley North – a Labour marginal – which can turn blue if a 1000 of the constituency’s 5000 Muslims decide to back him. He was recently spotted at Woking Mosque’s WWI commemorations, hobnobbing with Brigadier Mark Abraham, Chief of Staff Headquarters Support Command. But why CE at Woking? Because this company is associated with the Curzon Institute, which apparently has a grant from CLG for talking about the contribution of Commonwealth soldiers in WW1 in British schools. The brief seems to have been extended to include venues like mosques – where Hugo Clarke of the Institue delivered a talk on 4 February.
À la QF, such talks were going to include a counter-terrorism agenda, but thanks to a scoop from Ahmed Versi, editor of The Muslim News, this was scuppered when he declared, “In its latest misguided policy, the British Government is planning to send Muslim soldiers into schools to challenge Muslim children about their patriotism rather than address the abuse, attacks and victimisation suffered following the Woolwich murder.” Lady Macbeth at the CLG has apparently shelled out CE with “£120,000 for 50 talks this year at an average of £2,400 each.”
A justified Anger
Even the mild-mannered, distinguished, interfaith champion Lord Indarjit Singh of the British Sikh community is upset by revelations that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sanctioned British Army advice to Indira Gandhi for the attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. If Lord Indarjit is upset, what about the others? Note his strong language on Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement in the Commons (4 Feb 2014) based on a review of documents (some were destroyed) relating to the incident: “smug and condescending”. On the claim that UK advice had a “limited impact” of the Golden Temple attack: “It is like saying that I had only a minimal involvement in a massacre or a holocaust.” He said the language in the documents was “insulting” to Sikhs – suggesting they were all extremists – and the UK’s real motivation in assisting India was keeping its arms contracts. All this is particularly poignant during World War I centenaries – after all 130,000 Sikhs volunteered (and some conscripted) to fight for Empire. Will Indarjit talk of his hurt on his next ‘Thought of the Day’ slot on Radio 4? Tory politicians are rightly worried about the Sikh vote in marginal constituencies – there are 800,000 Sikhs in the UK.
Donkey’s bray, people cringe
The e-mails from the Chairman of Quiliam Foundation, Maajid Nawaz, to senior civil servant Mark Caroll at the Department of Communities & Local Government will long be cited as examples of ingratiation and naivite! In the pursuit of what exactly?
8 October 2013
Due to the nature of this unprecedented news, we have been coordinating this transition [Stephen Yaxley's apparent defection from the English Defence League] and all costs associated to it
without a budget. Please let us know if you can urgently help us with a direct contribution so that we may fund Stephen’s transition and cut off his previous dependency on EDL donors. Finally, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support for Quilliam as we make history in this way. Today we hope to make you proud!
11 June 2013
The Prime Minister has indeed been listening to us. Only a week before the Woolwich murder he called upon me to visit him and the Foreign Secretary at Chequers in order to
advise officials on what our governments policy should be towards new Islamist regimes in the Middle-East. However, we believe that much more needs to be done to roll out the Prime Minister’s counter-extremism vision mandated back in 2011…
We at Quilliam believe that the solution lies in the development of grass-roots counter-narrative initiatives, and capacity building within communities. Only by providing civil society with knowledge and tools will we see a decline in the threat of extremism and terrorism in
the UK. In fact, we already have ideas about what such initiatives could look like.
Going for the chops!
The honourable Lord Sheikh of Cornhill has had a bumpy ride in the media recently and he must have spent many a meditative hour at his club, Whites, reflecting on the change from the gentlemanly world of insurance underwriters where he made his mark. It all began when some personal details of his life found their way to the pages of the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail – something to do with a young waitress. Then there were bizarre accounts of a once-confidante being chased by the benign Tory peer, now more a fist-shaking ghostbuster, down the hallowed Peers Corridor. None of this must have impressed the dignified Lady Sheikh, who runs her husband’s office with an iron fist clad in a velvet glove. However two recent interventions have gone some way to restoring our shaikh’s credibility - as the most intellectually well-equipped Muslim peer. The first was in the debate to counter Lord Pearson on the issue of Islamophobia. Then on 16 January 2014 Lord Sheikh made an important intervention in a Lords debate on religious slaughter (dhabiha or schehita):
Islam permits the slaughter of animals for food, but dictates that such slaughter must be exercised humanely. There has never been any conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that religious slaughter is less humane than conventional mechanical methods. The controversy revolves primarily around the issue of stunning. Exemption from stunning is allowed for halal and kosher slaughter. In halal slaughter the animal ceases to feel pain due to the immediate brain starvation of blood and oxygen. For the first few seconds after the incision is made, the animal does not feel any pain. This is followed by a few seconds of deep unconsciousness as large quantities of blood are drained from the body. Thereafter, readings indicate no pain at all. It is important to consider that prohibiting halal meat would have profound social and economic implications. There are now 2.7 million Muslims in the United Kingdom, 4.8% of the population. Halal meat accounts for between 10% and 15% of UK meat sales; some of this meat is, however, pre-stunned. People from all religions and backgrounds now choose halal as an alternatively produced meat. I want to see a rigorous code of conduct and an efficient system of self-regulation. This would reassure non-Muslims that such animals are being respected and standards are being adhered to. I would also like a full and transparent system of labelling for all meats, so that the consumer can make an informed decision about the meat they buy. Labelling should not be confined to religiously slaughtered meat. Finally, Islamic leaders have asked the Jewish community for guidance on this, and I hope they can work together.
The fuss on halal meat has arisen for several reasons: at one level it is Islamophobia – one dim wit peer made a link between the cruelty of FGM and dhabiha. For animal welfare lovers, it is the fact that some meat from animals subject to dhabiha (and hence possibly unstunned) is entering the distribution network. Strangely they think that stunning before dhabiha would be more humane – even though stunning involves harsh regimes such as electrocution or shooting a mechanical bolt into the brain. The noble Lord has made a good stand and will shame the Muslim lobby that seeks to make pre-stunning mandatory (e.g. who have accepted lamb from New Zealand which is stunned and then dhabiha). All this information should be leading to more Muslim vegetarians!
Until recently Fiyaz Moghul, CEO of Faith Matters , was quite ardent about the Lib Dems – in fact a Lib Dem councillor (for Noel Park in Haringey) and even a London mayoral aspirant in 2008. He was advisor to Nick Clegg no less, on “interfaith and preventing radicalism and extremism”. However the talk in the street is that he has become upset with this allegiance and is now a Labour Party man! Has Moghul’s disaffection and defection anything to do with the new darling of the Party – the Quilliam Foundation boss, Mr Majid Nawaaz - recently selected Lib Dem PPC for Hampstead & Kilburn? Was there a fallout between these two ‘Preventing Extremism experts’. Did they draw swords when vying for the same pot of shiny lucre? Maybe Fiyaz is returning home, after all he was quite effusive of Labour’s neo-con sympathising CLG minister Hazel Blears – someone with “a strong grasp on her portfolio… I welcome her vision.”
Lady Macbeth’s boo-boo -
Some gossip late in the telling but which remains amusing. Apparently she who bestrides ministries in both the FCO and CLG ruffled a few feathers in No. 10 in August. One of her favoured gatekeepers arranged for the PM to visit a mosque in North Manchester – deemed to be of the ‘non-extremist variety’, on Eid ul Fitr. However when the time came for the Friday khutbah on the day, the imam lashed out in a most florid speech denouncing his bête noire, “the sharabi wahabbis”. When the evidence of this extremism was brought to No. 10′s attention, the reaction was not sanguine!
In the Corridors of Power
“Whitehall’s most secretive mandarin” – a description attributed to Charles Farr, Home Office’s head of the office of security and counter-terrorism. He was asked to front the security organisations’ response to the Intelligence & Security Committee in July 2012 reviewing the draft communications data bill (aka the ‘snoopers’ charter). He did this in true Civil Service ‘economic with the truth’ style, not mentioning the GCHQ Tempora programme, now public knowledge thanks to Snowden. What do we know of this adroit operator? For a start, he was pipped to the post heading up MI6 when Tony Blair backed John Sawers. His enemies put the story that he was “too gung-ho”. At the Home Office he has been very much his own man, prepared to stand up to the superficial Neville-Jones, and later disagreed with Home Secretary May over the Zakir Naik affair. However, he does have history: according to one report, Farr came to prominence ‘flying round Afghanistan in a helicopter with thousands of dollars in bundles, doing deals with farmers to not grow opium. Bad policy as it turned out, but he did it very well’.
Will she, Wont she? Salma Yaqoob did well in the 2010 General Election, even though losing to Labour’s Roger Godsiff in Birmingham Hall Green, she obtained a swing
of 8%. It seems that Godsiff will stand again in 2015, while Salma now no longer has the Respect Party machinery to back her since her entirely justified resignation over George Galloway’s remarks on women. She lacks the sort of opportunistic ambition that will make her join Labour for a safe seat elsewhere? Most likely, so there is now an opportunity for a conscientious and principled woman to take up a leadership role within Muslim civil society.
Salaam Blogger slams a few wide balls to the boundary…
Much ire from Lady Macbeth
Our lady straddling the FCO and the CLG has apparently not taken kindly to the Muslim News’s scoop
Editor Ahmed Versi forthrightly declared, “In its latest misguided policy, the British Government is planning to send Muslim soldiers into schools to challenge Muslim children about their patriotism rather than address the abuse, attacks and victimisation suffered following the Woolwich murder.”
Soon, as is the lady’s want, one of her lackeys was at the other end of the phone to Mr Versi, making all sorts of high-handed claims and questioning the veteran journalist’s sources. Mr Versi rightly pointed out, the need of the hour was for school visits that raised awareness of Islamophobia.
APPG on Islamophobia
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has had a chequered history. When first mooted, many Muslims hoped it would be named the APPG on Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism, because these are both manifestations of hatred due to religious prejudice and stereotyping. However there was a strong lobby amongst peers associated with the Board of Deputies to block this – in fact their agenda was to ensure that the APPG looked at anti-semitism amongst Muslims! Then they successfully blocked the Muslim civil society group Engage from providing secretarial services on charges of being critical of Israel. Now, according to academic Chris Allen, “This week (16 July 2013), the APPG on Islamophobia will again being relaunched. Hoping for third time lucky, the APPG will launch with a meeting considering events post-Woolwich. Whilst this presents much food for thought, I am slightly concerned by the potential connotations some will conclude by naming the meeting ‘A Tribute to Drummer Lee Rigby: Lessons from Woolwich’….” So now for the great and the good at Westminster efforts to tackle Islamophobia are to be neutered by viewing it within the counter-terrorism security lens!
No. 10′s tame cats
On the Muslim civil society grapevine is the news that a recent visitor for tea at No.10 was the chairman of Quilliam Foundation, the counter-terrorism think tank that “stands for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy”. The same gentleman was also in the audience at a recent event when Education Secretary Michael Gove commended Israel’s record ‘on democracy and equal rights for women and Arab Israelis’! Apparently not a contradictory word from the QF chairman. Has no one heard of the discrimination in property laws that only apply to Arab Israelis? Or access to welfare and higher education? In Mr Gove’s book criticism of Israel is extremism – what does QF think? A clear statement is needed from eminent poly wonks at QF.
…Ah yes – the tea at No.10 – that was when our shallow PM said that the gentleman was “his favourite Muslim”. The purring could be heard across the road.
What a travesty that the fiercely independent and pan-Islamist Abdullah Quilliam should have his name associated with an institution devoid of a sense of justice. Education Secretary Gove: Muslims must counter antisemitism
The revelations on Lambert’s infilltration of environmental groups and ‘sleeping with the enemy’ bring to mind another undercover officer – Alexander Wilson – see the brilliant biography by Tim Crook.
Salaam Blogger in his time has attended a few meetings convened to discuss ‘violent extremism’ post 7/7. The well-dressed and dignified Robert Lambert was often present, representing the Muslim Contact Unit in Special Branch and later, on his retirement, as director of the European Muslim Research Centre at Exeter University. Did his colleague at EMRC, Jonathan Githens-Mazer (now Professor), know of his colleague’s history of spying during their joint work on Islamophobia? Why were MEMO and the Cordoba Foundation so trusting and so ready to provide him their platform? Was it a two-way street? Let us hope so!
What about Alexander Wilson? Well, he was inflitrated into Islamia College, Lahore in the mid-1920s and employed by a trusting Abdullah Yusuf Ali!
Saatchi’s ‘playful tiff’!
So domestic violence can be construed as a playful tiff – “About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point”. Imagine if instead of powerful personalities with a fleet of PR gurus to handle damage limitation it would have been a Mr and Mrs Siddiqui! There would have been an outcry about Islam’s treatment of women and Muslims not appreciating Britain’s values!
Saatchi: ‘Nigella Lawson Caution Was Best’
Well said, Ed Hussain
“When the London riots broke out two summers ago, the United States government did not call for police restraint, despite 3,100 arrests, nor seek to be involved through its ambassador as police harshness became known. We do not lecture our democratic allies — and Turkey, on balance, is a democratic country and a vital ally. We should support the government and, if anything, understand that the stakes are high….” Supporting Erdogan Helps Democracy
Return of the Living Dead
Quilliam calls for a resurrection of Blair’s neo-cons: “…Quilliam believes that the urgency of the challenge ahead necessitates that any such strategy now devised should be directly coordinated by Downing Street itself, and led by an appointed expert on a non-partisan basis. The UK possesses a number of such experts who have previously served in official senior government capacities, and who would be well suited to filling this role, having the maturity and experience to coordinate issues arising from the Prime Minister’s Task Force..”
Quilliam Policy Document
Henry Jackson Society & our Charity Commission boss
The Charity Commission has been one of the blue-ribbon institutions of Britain. Eyes are now on its new chair, William Shawcross. He has close links with the highly opinionated Henry Jackson Society and nest of neo-cons – a member of its Board, no less. Civil society will be watching the CC closely for any politically-charged policies and initiatives. Someone should challenge the HJS’s public interest status!
David Cameron’s positive intervention
Due acknowledgement should be made of the Prime Minister’s comments in the wake of the Woolwich atrocity: “…This was not just an attack on Britain – and on our British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam – and of the Muslim communities who are give so much to our country…Terrorism that has taken more Muslim lives than any other religion….” Statement on Woolwich incident
Lord Patel’s politics
The peerage bestowed on Lord Adam Patel in February 2000 was widely seen in the local Blackburn community as a gift from Jack Straw to mark both access to the Gujarati vote bank for Labour and also a long-standing personal friendship – apparently the young Straw spent his honeymoon in Adam Patel’s village in Bharuj, Gujarat?! The noble Lord’s service in Parliament has been low-key, though some of his Parliamentary Questions have been surprising – for example in 2011 “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to reduce the vulnerability of global navigation satellite systems to terrorist attacks…”. Lord Adam Patel was also gifted a position in the until-recently FCO sponsored British Hajj Delegation. Now the noble Lord has raised some eyebrows in his local community by endorsing the butcher of Gujarat,Chief Minister Nerendra Modi. According to the Batley journal ‘Paigham’, Patel stated, “as a Gujarati myself, I consider it to be a gross insult that the CM of my state, hower, wronged (sic) one might feel he is, cannot express his views at a global forum because a few (!) in the audience dislike him”. Paigham also reports that “…in January Patel is said to have met Modi during a visit to Gujarat”.
Source: Paigham Publications, Batley, Issue 241, April 2013
Austen Ivereigh, man of principle
Man to watch – Austen, head of the Catholic Voices group, former media officer to Cardinal Murphy O’Connor and lead campaigner at London Citizens for asylum seekers’ dignity. He is now valiantly fighting the corner to ensure the word ‘marriage’ remains what it should be. But was it right of him to vote UKIP as a sign of disgust with the main political parties?
Baroness Warsi was a keynote speaker at the launch of the exhibition ‘Righteous Muslims’ at the Board of Deputies of British Jews in London in April 2013, an event co-organised by Faith Matters. The accompanying booklet by Fiyaz Mogul of Faith Matters has been a long time in the coming – it was first announced in April 2010!
Mr Mogul has several interfaith bridge-building credentials: board member of European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism (EISCA, chaired by Denis Macshane) and associated with the Community Security Trust through the Islamophobia recording project funded by HMG, Tell Mama. Faith Matters has a remarkably wide range of expertise, having previously published a study, The Tanzimat: Secular Reforms in Ottoman Turkey’. And the Baroness? She apparently made a “frank” speech – hopefully not as cliche ridden as the one to EISCA she delivered in November 2011 – must every politician quote “First they came for the communists…”
Riding High, Riding Low
Let us hope that William Hague is taking steps to unhitch the FCO bandwagon from State Department bunglings…”Karzai has infuriated US officials by accusing Washington of colluding with Taliban insurgents to keep Afghanistan weak…In Baghdad, Kerry confronted the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for continuing to grant Iran access to its airspace and said Iraq’s behaviour was raising questions about its reliability as a partner”.
John Kerry makes surprise visit to Afghanistan
The Real Twit?
Official Saudi cleric Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheikh says Twitter “a council for jokesters” while dissident cleric Salman al-Odah has 2.5 million followers!
The Dark Side
Glenn Greenwald brilliantly exposes “a separate justice system for Muslims” in the US – the FBI paid one informant $200,000 to infiltrate a local mosque in Lodi, California. It is known that in the UK our agencies have been giving Somali youth a stark choice – join our payroll or life will become unbearable. Similarly the Prevent strategy has fragmented Muslim civil society by creating overnight wealthy groups and ‘King’s Parties’! Just look out for very sophisticated websites or young men with apartments in Dubai….
Remember the Brtish Army/Special Branch informer Stakeknife in the dirty war in Northern Ireland and also Agent Rupert, US-born David Rupert, paid £700,000 to infiltrate dissident Republican groups (Financial Times, 19 June 2003). The dark side of our liberal democratic dispensation.
Saudi Musical Chairs
With the demise of Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Governor of Riyad curiously described by the OIC as “one of the biggest leaders of the Islamic Ummah”, some more shuffling amongst the remaining sons of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. Room is now being made in the second-tier leadership for his grandsons – the new Governor is Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz. Tipped as a coming monarch is the former intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz – the last of the first generation – currently second deputy prime minister. Incumbent King Abdulllah was born in 1926 – the succession fun and games will come after Mugrin’s departure because then it will be the Abdul Azilz’s grandsons competing for the throne.
Sadiq Khan’s blunder
An analysis of the way Muslim-heritage MPs voted on 5th February 2013 in the successful adoption of the Equal Marriages Bill which allows same-sex civil partnerships to be deemed as marriage:
- Rushanara Ali
- Sadiq Khan
- Shabana Mahmood
- Anas Sarwar
- Sajid Javed
- Rehman Chishti
- Yasmin Qureshi
- Khalid Mahmood
The decision of Sadiq Khan to vote for the Bill – a former chair of MCB Legal Affairs Committee – has prompted derision within community circles! “He could have abstained”, remarked the incandescent head of the Lancashire Council of Mosques
His Master’s Voice
Majed Nawaz of Quilliam: “Cameron has rightly said that efforts to undermine al-Qaida in the Sahel-Saharan region will take decades….”
Voice of Sanity from the Guardian in its editorial, ‘Only Folly lasts for Decades’ (22nd Jan 2013, “Words matter, particularly after the past decade of western intervention in Muslim countries, and particularly when uttered by a British prime minister. After such a history of sustained and repeated failure one would have thought David Cameron would choose his words with care in the aftermath of the attack on the Algerian gas plant.”
Counter-terrorism & Mars
At her trial on the media leaks case to News of the World, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn offered an insight into the nation’s Counter-Terrorism Centre – “male officers who drank together and played golf together”; she also likened the atmosphere to ‘Life on Mars in the 21st century’. So this is the CTC to whom the State has given such draconian powers.
Hacking: Scotland Yard anti-terrorism officers regarded investigation as ‘bit of a jolly’
Lady Macbeth stalks again!
According to the OIC’s December bulletin – ” United Kingdom’s Senior Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Saiyda Warsi, sent an invitation letter to the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to join a core group of influential government ministers and policy makers in London on 22 January 2012 in order to brainstorm on building common ground on combating religious intolerence”.
Why is the SG obliging? Something to do with his next assignment once his term finishes in 2013? And who will be invited by the Baroness to the high-table from the Muslim community?
Our distinguished Parliamentarians!
Mr Sajid Javid, Conservative MP for Bromsgrove & newly appointed Treasury minister. December 2012: Mr Javid, who described himself as a ‘proud British-born Muslim’, announced that if he had to leave Britain to live in the Middle East, then he would choose Israel as home. Only there, he said, would his children feel the ‘warm embrace of freedom and liberty”. For him, only Israel shared the democratic values of the UK.
“My own family’s heritage is Muslim. Myself and my four brothers were brought up to believe in God, but I do not practise any religion. My wife is a practising Christian and the only religion practised in my house is Christianity”.Report by Martin Bright, JC, 13th December 2012; http://alturl.com/fcwaa
Baroness Warsi, Conservative Peer, December 2012:”She thinks her background also plays an important part in international relations, and even refers to herself as ‘the minister for Pakistan’.” Interview with Decca Aitkenhead, The Guardian, 9th Dec 2012
Rehman Chishti, the Conservative Muslim MP for Gillingham, after Baroness Warsi’s remarks on growth of Islamophobia: “I dissociate myself from her comments. I’ve never experienced prejudice.”
Fury as Labour ‘smears’ David Cameron after he attacks multiculturalism
It may be a bent bank, but it is our bent bank?
So HSBC has a “pervasively polluted” culture that lasted for years, allowing it “to move billions around the financial system for Mexican drug lords, terrorists and governments on sanctions lists. HSBC’s Mexican operations moved $7bn into the US operations, for instance, which the Senate was told was tied to drug money”. Remember when BCCI was abruptly closed down for misdemeanours that were peanuts in comparison! Because it was a ‘Muslim’ bank?
How The Guardian buckles?
The hardcopy morning edition of the paper on Monday 10th December 2012 had a leading article in the Financial section with the headline- ‘Eurasian mining firm severs ties with Israeli diamond billionaire’ – a story of shady dealings around Dan Gertler – accused of “making most of his $2.5 billion fortune from looting Congo at the expense of its people”. However the online Guardian seems to have been under pressure.
The story’s headline at 8pm the same day was suddenly circumspect: “ENRC ends Congo mining deal with controversial billionaire Dan Gertler”
How to win friends & influence people!
A recent report on JewishNews1 has the title ‘Muslims want to have more more influence on British foreign policy’, adding, “…despite a six-fold increase in the number of Muslims in Britain over the past 30 years it appears, for now that this sizable community has a limited influence over policy making on the Middle East and on Britain’s relationship with Israel”. The question is: will Her Majesty’s Government now run much needed focus groups to see what are our specific gripes? Muslims want to have more influence on British policy
Sir Iqbal’s sixer
Ex-cricketer Sir Iqbal Sacranie executed a neat cover drive and expelled the bumptuous Montgomerie’s website ConservativeHome to the long grass. The website has published a full apology to Sacranie for falsely alleging that he had been rejected as a possible candidate for membership of the Muslim Leadership Council. Well done Adam Tudor of Carter-Ruck – but who would have briefed ConservativeHome in the first place if not Lady Macbeth?
The Double Speak of Jonathan Sacks
The Chief Rabbi told BBC’s Evan Davis that Iran was the real issue behind the crisis in Gaza – probably characteristic of the twisted analysis that is being offered to William Hague to justify Israel’s bombardment. But when he realised the mike was on, the BBC reports: “Lord Sacks then swiftly adopted a more formal broadcasting manner [sic] and suggested the crisis demanded ‘a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region’.
Not for the first time the Chief Rabbi has shown two faces: when a respected leader of the Progressive Jewish community, Rabbi Hugo Gryn died in 1996, Sacks attended the memorial service and made an eloquent address – but this did not go down well with the Orthodox rabbis who regarded it a sign of recognition of Reform Judaism. Sacks then wrote a ‘’confessional letter’ in classical Hebrew to the Beth Din judge, Dayan Chanoch Padwa, ‘expressing his pain at having to honour a man he regarded as a destroyer of the faith’.
Our tart MPs
So this notoriously Muslim-hostile MP Denis Macshane has had to resign – for “deceiving” Parliament’s expenses authority [November 2012]. Ironical for someone with a PhD in Economics! Where else has this gentleman been economical with the truth? Perhaps in his comments on Muslims in Britain and their institutions: ” The sanctimonious Muslim Council of Britain put out a statement yesterday condemning the Mumbai killings. Yet the MCB and Islamist extremists in Britain will not condemn the killing of Jewish civilians in the Middle East, and continue to pander to fundamentalist organisations like Hamas or Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, as they call for jihad against Jews and for the destruction of Israel [November 2008]; ” Nato soldiers are accused of brutality but the men with the most blood on their hands of fellow Muslims have been Islamist ideologues. Yet there is no outrage against the perpetrators of those attacks compared with the onslaught on Israel and on Jews….” [Feb 2009]. Given the greed in Parliament, it is ironical that he was quick to condemn the Summer 2012 attacks on shops – “What the looters wanted was for a few minutes to enter the world of Sloane Street consumption” – was not Denis Matyjaszek (MacShane’s family surname) among those Parliamentarians also on the lookout for a quick route to jam tarts?
Lady Macbeth in Djibouti
Baroness Warsi is due to attend the Foreign Ministers conference of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) in mid-November. What messages has she been charged to deliver? That she is the voice of Muslims in Britain? That Britain is a safe-haven for Muslims and does not extradite its citizens unjustly? That the only Muslim member of the Human Rights & Equalities Commission has been sacked? That her Government continues to “suspend” its relations with the Muslim Council of Britain? The MCB is unfairly derided by the likes of Christina Odone for being ‘self-appointed spokespersons’. What does this make the Baroness? And would Lady Macbeth sabotage community bodies in the UK from being formally recognised within the OIC framework because she favours her own ‘Muslim Leadership Council’ who will then crown her Queen!
The Good Shepherd General Guthrie
Our former Chief of Defence Staff once said, “Islam is difficult. Most Muslims don’ t believe in war any more than we do. But they haven’t the kind of tradition we have.” Now we know a bit more about his own ‘traditions’: General Guthrie is Knight of of the Order of Malta – requiring him to take elaborate oaths – including one of “poverty,chastity and obedience” (The Tablet, 26th May 2012). How did he manage dual loyalties – on the one hand to his sovereign the Queen and on the other to the Grand Master of the Order?
‘Caliphate’ or Islamic Government?
Salaam Blogger has been habituated to see HT’s press releases conclude with a stock phrase like “…support the inevitable re-establishment of the Caliphate” , “…work towards establishing the Islamic Caliphate that will bring a truly accountable government”. But recently it seems that references to the Caliphate have been dropped and replaced with ‘Islamic government’. For example, a recent PR called on us to multiply efforts “to establish an Islamic government in the Muslim world that will stand up for the interests of Muslims and Islam the world over”. If fetishes with particular terminology are under review, maybe now is a good time for this body to commence exploring beyond the prescribed reading lists and say delve into the writings of the pan-Islamist Said Halim Pasha (like his ‘Islamlashmak’ – see the ‘City of Islam’ chapter in Pickthall’s ‘Cultural Side of Islam’) and Abul ‘Ala Maududi? Of course these are not the last word on the subject of Islamic hukumiyat, but a basis for some badly needed fresh thinking.
Our tart Members of Parliament
Apparently Gary McKinnon’s MP – the Tory Edward Burrowes – threatened to quit if his constituent was extradited to the US. Would Babar and Talha’s MP Sadiq Khan demonstrated the same backbone! Not a chance from someone who believes that “it is better to survive to fight another day”. There will not be another day for him after the next General Election, given the mood amongst the Muslims in Tooting.
Our tart Generals
Outed in the Sunday Times [14th October 2012] for alleged lobbying on behalf of arms manufacturers while still in the so-called ‘purdah’ period – the two years after retirement when top government servants are not to engage in any work related to state contracts – our General Applegate has been linked to the Israel’s Elbit Systems – “we manufacture and integrate advanced, high-performance defense electronic and electro-optic systems”. Applegate set up Eagle Strategic Ltd. which dealt with Israel and he became head of Elbit Sytems UK. His service record includes important command responsibilities in UNPROFOR during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. The French, who regarded the Bosnians with contempt, awarded Applegate with high honours! Much like the Israelis view the Palestinians, the French troops referred to the Bosnians with the derogatory label ‘les indigènes’. So join the dots: the British High Command was inclined to the Serbs – General Michael Rose and his fellow gentlemen officers…their policy led to a scrupulously enforced arms embargo on the Bosnian Army while the Serb militia received large quantities of weaponry from Israel. A good time for networking?
A Minister for the indigènes
So Baroness Warsi has been demoted from co-chairmanship of the Tory Party with a seat in Cabinet to ‘Senior minister of state at the Foreign Office and minister for faith and communities’ who will be invited to No.10 when relevant. A few days after the reshuffle it was clarified that the latter position entailed being a Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Muslims will wish the Baroness well – she is after all one of the few high-profile BME politicians in the country, though tainted by the expenses scandal. However her pleas to Cameron were abject: “We need more people from urban areas voting for us, more people who are not white and more women….’I’m a woman, I’m not white, I’m from an urban area, I’m from the north, I’m working class – I kind of fit the bill.”
Ironically, the Baroness based her case on the very same sort of representative politics she had been quick to condemn as ‘identity politics’ e.g. declaring to the Muslim community newspaper ‘The Muslim News’ in April 2010, ‘We must change the way we engage with communities and stop treating British Muslims as some sort of special interest fringe group’. She was dutifully repeating the right-wing neo-con mantra that the State should deal directly with citizens and there should be no intermediaries to bargain or negotiate on their behalf. This mantra was applied foremost to Muslims in Britain. This is the woman who recently told an MCB Secretary General that “the MCB should grow up”, because it believed in speaking on behalf of a community. The MCB is far too polite to reciprocate. What now of ‘identity politics’, Baroness Warsi?
Clearly HMG remains confused on how best to reach an accommodation with British Muslims and accept them in mainstream life. She is basically a ‘Minister for Muslim Affairs’ in all but name? Is there a Minister for Roman Catholic Affairs?
The appointment will mark just one more episode in the tortuous history of the ‘Muslim’ desk in Whitehall. At first Muslims were seen as part of an urban regeneration challenge, and so in the early 1990s the regional directorate in Department of Environment set up a forum to seek the views of faith communities, the ‘Inner Cities Religious Council’ (ICRC).
Later under new Labour this unit movement moved to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. After 9/11 the security lens became dominant. The Faith unit moved to the Home Office, under the watchful eye of civil servant Neil Frater. Blair then decided to carve out another fiefdom – Communities and Local Government – to bestow to a lucky poodle. The neo-con Ruth Kelly (she who wished to ‘recalibrate’ relationships with the MCB and launched the Sufi Muslim Council) became Secretary of State. One equally young and ambitious Mark Carroll was appointed her head of ‘Race, Cohesion and Faiths’ – the gentler and mature Neil Frater being eased away. Carroll flourished for a while in the subsequent Hazel Blears regime – at a time when CLG continued its policy of fragmenting Muslim civil society so that it would not have to negotiate and bargain with any central entity. Carroll then became a security-type guru for Charles Clarke at the Home Office, working behind the scenes to create an imams’ body in the immediate aftermath of 7/7 and by 2006 reaching the position of ‘acting Director General, Communities Group’ (sic) at the Home Office. HMG was seeking to control Muslim affairs from both CLG and the HO. Later, to confuse the situation further, an intergovernmental group drawing on representatives from CLG, HO and (mainly) FCO referred to as RICU was also established.
The public sector cuts have thankfully done away with a lot of these paper-shuffling posts. Even CLG’s senior man in its faith unit, Maqsood Ahmed, was allowed to retire. Surely it is a bit ornamental to have a Minister for the indigènes when there isn’t much of a senior team to direct. The hard-headed Secretary of State at the CLG, Eric Pickles, with years of experience in local government, probably needed someone who could stand in for him in the Commons on technical issues of housing, economic regeneration etc. No wonder the Barnoness’s office is at the FCO in Whitehall rather than Eland House in Victoria.
But why has gallant Foreign Secretary William Hague come to the damsel’s rescue with a seat at his high table and office space in his fiefdom? A case of Yorkshire camaraderie? Not in politics – more like lining up a loyal friend when it comes to the next leadership contest!
Listening to a tired/tiring record
In November 2005 Tony Blair asserted that Muslims found it easier to blame others than to look inward; that ‘given half a leadership’, Muslims would ‘face up to the extremist menace in their midst’ (18th November 2005, The Guardian)
Fast forward to September 2012 -” What, I’m afraid, is very dangerous and actually is wrong is the reaction to it (‘Innocence of Muslims’). We need both the leadership within these countries and within Islam to stand up and say, ‘Look, there is a proper modern way of reconciling religious faith, democracy in society”. (17th September 2012, BBC Radio 4)
Lord Carey’s victim mentality
Britain’s evangelist is at it again: “I have often said that Christians have acted like ‘doormats’ for too long in a culture which owes so much to the formation of Christian faith. Now is the time to stand up and be counted in support of ‘tolerance’, freedom of expression and worship, in the face of these new heresy trials” (in the Daily Mail, 4th Sept 2012). Here is someone with a acute sense of victimhood – “The Muslim voice is very strong, so politicians and others are scared of it” – the sort of exaggerations that fan Islamophobia.
Damaged goods in Parliament
First there was the case of Bashir Khanbhai (MEP 1999-2004) who resigned over expenses; then there was the thrusting Shahid Malik (MP 2007-2010) who lost his seat after achieving the dubious distinction of claiming the highest amount in parliamentary expenses for any MP!
The conduct of our Lords Bhatia and Baroness Pola Uddin has been iffy – the latter has just returned after a long suspension. Lord Nazir has blown this way and that, sometimes accusing the security services of plotting against him and also raising eyebrows amongst his own communities for suggesting that first-cousin marriages are linked to sex crimes committed by Pakistani men!
Even Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP – he who claimed that the Muslim community was “his hinterland” – is facing criticism for not going the extra mile for his constituent Babar Ahmad.
And now the Tory Asian pin-up Warsi is in trouble in a mysterious case – first her co-chair of the Tory Party Lord Feldman alienated Dr Wafik Moustafa of the Conservative Arab Network (one wonders why – was it because Feldman feared a pro-Palestine lobby group?) – the same Dr Wafik is connected with Warsi’s expenses controversy.
Warsi and others will claim that they have not done anything wrong ‘technically’. That is the crux – it may not be technically wrong, but is it morally right? Why this greed? Why this difficulty in saying “I have sinned” and then Profumo-style, redeeming themselves through genuine public service? Alas for role-models for young Muslims! Let us hope the 2010 crop of MPs and Peers realise they need to be purer than Ceasar’s wife given the prejudices and powerplays to limit the Muslim voice in the Westminster village.
Jack Straw’s role and the MCB
When interviewed by a university researcher on Muslim issues, the former Home Sec and Foreign Sec Jack Straw claimed that “senior Labour ministers were heavily involved in the MCB but this causes deep division in the Government”. The interview was apparently in April 2011 – when Labour had lost the General Election. So which Government was he referring to – the outgoing Labour one or the Coalition? Could well be both! And when he says ‘involved’ it is presumably one of a destructive kind – weakening the collective bargaining strength of Muslim communities by nurturing the Quilliam Foundations of this world and similar obsequious poodles.
Airbrushing Islam out of the picture
Following the Chief Rabbi’s blanking out any references to Muslims in his public statements, Lord Carey is a kindred spirit: he warns of a drive to remove ‘Judaeo-Christian values from the public square” (Daily Telegraph, 14th April 2012). The ‘I-word’ is taboo! What to expect of someone who said (on 11th April 2010): “The Muslim voice is very strong, so politicians and others are scared of it.”
Is love a commodity?
Even the language of our young British Muslim leaders reflects the market economy paradigm. At an event recently, the case was being made for the importance of providing financial support to the umbrella body the Muslim Council of Britain. On hearing this, the young head of Britain’s best known aid charity remarked, “I don’t believe that there is ever a problem of resources – you need to have a product”. He then repeated this mantra several times in the evening to make sure the MCB supporter got the message! The question is, what can be the ‘product’ of an organisation that exists to work for the security and well-being of Muslim communities in Britain? The young leader’s management-speak brought to mind what Anthony Russell says in his remarkable short but weighty recent publication [Evolving the Spirit, Dreamstar Books]: “The ‘market’ has truly failed us because it has taken the ‘spirit’ or spiritual out of life and left us with a suspicion of anything that is not a commodity for sale. Unfortunately love is not a commodity and so has suffered as a result and left us all the poorer in our wealth”. By insisting Islamic projects must have a ‘product’ our young leader has absorbed the form of civil society work but is grasping for the essence.
Following Zakir Naik’s ban from entry in the UK in Summer 2010, the top of the range PR consultants Max Clifford Associates and legal eagles from Cherie Blair’s Chambers were hired to fight his case. The costs were astronomical – who could have supported such expense? When he addressed the Oxford Union in Feb 2011, the PR was still being handled by MCA! Hopefully there was a firewall to prevent sadaqa funds being used for this purpose? However even if that is the case, is such spending justifiable?
Many cooks spoil the broth
How many anti-Islamophobia initiatives are in the pot – Salaam blogger knows of at least three: (i) the one at Faith Matters (ii) a proposal to set up a National Muslim Hate Crime Monitoring Group at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) (iii) the ‘Data Project’ financed by some public-spirited Muslim businessmen. What matters is that the monitoring project should have community trust (not ‘CST’ trust)!
Wadah Khanfar in London
The ex-head of Al-Jazeera had a busy week in London (starting 16th Jan, organised by MEMO, Middle East Monitor) with commanding presentations at venues such as SOAS and Chatham House. His message: there has been a paradigm shift in the Arab world, and this needs to be mirrored in the West in a reshaping of foreign policies. Wadah has established the Sharq Forum to facilitate the dialogue, with offices in Tunis and Cairo. The old pro showed some nice footwork at Chatham House: Questioner from the floor: Why did you leave Al Jazeera? WK: So that I could speak to young people like you.
“Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words”…so now we have Mr Cameron calling for Britain not to be constrained by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights [Abu Qatada's torture case] in the name of “democratic override”. Perhaps even Orwell would not have imagined a British PM associating the concept of ‘democracy’ to justify injustice!
Bakewell’s tart comment
Joan ‘the thinking man’s crumpet’ Bakewell makes a grudging appreciation of Islamic values: “we can’t be surprised by their shock and distaste for some of the West’s indulgences”. It is refreshing to find a touch of introspection sometimes appearing amongst the litterati…
The discredited Tony Blair – the man who rarely consulted his Cabinet on key decisions (and took Britain into the Iraq war on deliberate misinformation to Parliament) now has the gall to provide advice on what is ‘Democracy’: “Then you have got this Islamist movement, in the Muslim Brotherhood, which is very well organised, and where frankly, it is not clear that they want the same things as us and it is not clear that the type of democracy they would create would be a genuine [sic] democracy.”
This is the man who said ‘I think we are in a battle and I think the western world, a large part of it, is in a complete state of denial about it. Now I feel so strongly about it that I can’t back away from that. And I think that we are in real danger in a large part of the western opinion of completely misunderstanding the nature of the battle and the need to fight it, and we are really not fully appreciating the force that has been put against us, and you know this is not a set of isolated incidents, this is a global movement with an ideology that is fighting us in a very modern and clever way, and we have not got the strategy in place, sufficiently agreed across the western world, to defeat at the moment’ (interview in The Times, 2nd September 2006). http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/dec/29/tony-blair-liberals-islamist-regimes
Con Coughlin – one trash too many
Journalist Con Couglin’s trademark phrase is often ‘according to my well placed source in the security services….’ leading to some fanciful tit-bit – he is considered “an expert on Middle East and Islamic terrorism”. Now his articles on Tayeb Erdogan for the Daily Telegraph have led to a libel case which the newspaper has lost. He alleged that PM Erdogan arranged a supposed donation of £25 million to his AK Party fro a foreign power (Iran). Following the action by Carter Ruck the Daily Telegraph has paid the PM a “substantial sum in damages, together with his legal costs”. Less ‘expert’, more X-spurt! [see http://tinyurl.com/89jzhho]
My Muslim constituents!
“My constituency includes many people of the Jewish faith and the Muslim faith, whose prayer times are dictated by the rising and setting of the sun”. And who is this considerate friend of Muslims? No other than Hendon MP Matthew Offord speaking in the parliamentary debate [Hansard, 7th Dec 2011] on the Daylight Saving Bill. His Muslim constituents would rather he neuter his Israeli partisanship – this is the gentleman wiith a leading role to have the law on Universal Jurisdiction changed [to protect Israeli war criminals visiting the UK] and made offensive remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood [in Parliament in Nov 2010].
Melanie Phillips – hoisted off one’s petard?
After having the distinction of being on Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik’s reading list, perhaps Madam may have become a bit more reflective? But no – she now laments meglomaniac Mubarak’s departure: “It is hard to overstate the extent to which the UK and US governments have helped bring about the very opposite of what they declared they were promoting in Egypt. They helped oust Mubarak, a leader who was not only explicitly useful to the west but who had kept down the Muslim Brotherhood, on the crassly idiotic grounds that the ‘Arab spring’ revolt there would usher in democracy”. More birds of a feather…
Caution: Well-meaning businessmen at work!
Maulana Maudoodi once remarked that there are people who think that because they are rich, they are intelligent too! In June 2010 some City of London Muslim tycoons felt that something ought to be done about Islamophobia. A commendable initiative so an assortment from Muslim civil society visited them in Tower 24. What many found to their dismay was that the wealthy worthies greatly admired the Community Security Trust (CST) and wished to work in cooperation – looking up to an Elder Brother/Cousin. However their venture will be dead in the water if there is no community buy in – which there will not be if it means getting into bed with CST – for CST’s role in muddying community relations in Britain read the latest report from MEMO on Shaikh Raed Salah’s arrest – http://alturl.com/pcc7m
It is not just the CST about which they should be wary. The possibility of HMG ‘encouraging’ a so-called ‘Muslim Leadership Council’ has recently surfaced in the media? The worthies would be advised to stay well clear of HMG patronage if the Islamophobia recording project is to be viable and trusted within the community.
A confident Rushanara Ali MP (purple trouser suit, white blouse) addressing a meeting of the Muslim Professional Forum on Saturday 19th Nov on the August Riots spent a disproportionate amount of time on the recent news of two Muslim boys from Ilford killed in a drone attack in South Waziristan and the religious extremists in the Muslim community. Anas Al-Takriti speaking after her put her in place: while not condoning the boys actions in the least, he said that considering there were 3 million Muslims in the UK the number engaged in such violence was very low in number- but more importantly he asked Rushanara whether she would raise the issue of dual British-Israeli citizens undertaking military duties in the Occupied Territories with her parliamentary colleagues!
Bob Lambert now targetted
The commendable Robert Lambert was heckled at the One Society Many Cultures conference on 15th October for having served as an undercover officer who infiltrated London Greenpeace. And on cue, The Guardian the next day was able to print a scoop – smells a bit fishy! However clearly Lambert’s critique of the Prevent Strategy has earned him enemies in high places, now willing to leak his service record – he retired from Met Police in 2007. He has since been vocal in criticism of counter-terrorism policies and in recent weeks publicly criticised the police officer who called on Muslims to have a dialogue with the EDL and also spoken at the book launch of ‘The Cold War and British Muslims’ – a report that examines the Neo-Con/Likkudite funding of two British ‘think tanks’.
Pushed or Jumped
Why did Al-Jazeera’s hugely talented and successful CEO Wadah Khanfar suddenly resign last month? It has now been gleaned – from a few titbits left over after a dinner given in his honour in London and picked up by a fly on the wall – was that he was more likely pushed! Apparently the Qatari princes coveted his global popularity. Let us watch the channel’s ratings in months to come….the royalists will probably be sycophantic anglophiles who will pack management with White City rejects/redundants.
Guess who accompanied PM Cameron in his July 2011 trade mission to Africa – whiz kid Alastair David Lukies, CEO of Monitise, co-founder of E-Politix ["I built up a reasonably extensive list of high-level contacts"] and devout Baptist. Monitise has awaited a decision from Nigeria’s Central Bank since December last year to upgrade its provisional license to introduce payments by mobile phone across the country – it came through a month after the visit!
Israeli Ambassador at the Labour Conference
Introducing Ed Milliband at the Labour Friends of Israel Annual Reception on 27th September, Ron Prosor apparently remarked “He is not a friend of Israel”. How ungracious!
Chief Rabbi’s blind spot
For the so erudite Jonathan Sacks, the interaction of Islamic culture and civilisation with the Britain is absent! Bypassing Prof Nabil Matar’s work on the Elizabethan interactions, or the writings of Tim Winter on Henry Stubbes or the other educational and cultural impacts – for him “the Judaeo-Christian ethics is the sole [sic] effective force capable of defeating entropy which otherwise leads to the fall of civilisations”! [writing in the Kings College alumni magazine In Touch, Autumn 2011]. In reality religious plurality in Britain has long included Muslims – as apparent in this statement by the Baptist leader Thomas Helwys in 1612 during the reign of James I: “Neither may the king be judge between God and man. Let them be heretics, Turks (ie Muslims), Jews, or whatsoever, it appertains not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.” Sacks should take up a course in Critical Realism to understand the significance of Absence.
Shiraz Maher misses the point
Desperate-to-please Shiraz Maher [formerly of neo-Con coven Policy Exchange & now at Kings] in ‘Ties that Bind – How the Story of Britain’s Muslim soldiers can forge a national identity’ tries to explain why so many Muslim troops served in the army during WWI – “this was bound up with social Indian conventions relating to izzat ñ honour. But for some, Muslim and otherwise, they also felt a religious duty to serve…”. What he ought to have mentioned was the commitment given by the Viceroy that the ‘Holy Places of of Arabia’ – including the holy places of Mesopotamia and the Hejaz’ would be “immune from attack or molestation by the British naval and Military forces”. As Jinnah remarked in a meeting in London on 30th June 1921: “It was those representations which the Mahomedans, against their most sacred feelings of a religious character, came forward to help in this War because they felt secure that their Holy Places would not be touched, they felt secure that the homelands of Turkey would not be demolished and scatterd and broke up”. But Britain did not act with commensurate izzat and violated this covenant – occupying Constantinople, installing a puppet king in the Hejaz, fanning an insurrection with the likes of T E Lawrence – and then imposing martial law in the Punjab to quell the dissent of returning troops! Historians worthy of their salt need to present a balanced view, Mr Maher.
Torture – a shared value!
October 2009: MI5 chief, Jonathan Evans…we do not solicit or collude in torture. We do not practice torture. But we are operating in a difficult and complex environment.î [full text was on the University of Bristol website, 15th Oct 2009]. September 2011: “Evidence that British intelligence agencies mounted their own ‘rendition’ operation in collaboration with Muammar Gaddafi’s security services has emerged with the discovery of a cache of Libyan government papers in an abandoned office building in Tripoli…Since the ousting of Gaddafi it has become apparent that the regime’s enemies were tortured routinely while imprisoned, and at least one rendition victim, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, later died in what the Libyans claimed was a suicide”. [Ian Cobain & Martin Chulov in The Guardian, 4th Sept]
The parochialism of leading British Jewish leaders continues to amaze! For example, Mike Whine of the Community Safety Trust, in evidence to an anti-hate crime investigation in summer 2010 observed that the CST cooperated with the ‘Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities’ in fighting racism. Not one word about Muslims! In fact, the CST ‘ did not have sufficient cooperation with British Muslims as they had not yet been able to identify key partners among this community’! It seems that bodies like the Muslim Council of Britain do not pass Mr Whine’s litmus test. Surely CST needs to find its Muslim partners pretty promptly – if the EDL is targetting Muslims today, guess who will be in the firing line tomorrow? Its a bit like when the Chief Rabbi could not countenance using the M-word [see Jonathan Sacks's blind spot, below]
The Neo-Con network
The British-Israel Communities & Research Centre is becoming a bit of a gateway to the corridors of power! Established for “creating a more supportive environment for Israel in the UK”, it works directly with the Israeli embassy . The Tory benefactor Poju Zabludowicz, close to BICOM noted : “I was with Bibi [Netanyahu] when I brought him to a meeting with British newspaper editors. If he needs help, he can use Bicom. They can ‘tailor a suit’ for him which is suitable for transmitting the message to the British public.î BICOM’s former head of media, Mr Gabriel Milland, moved to Policy Exchange, the neo-con, Islam-bashing think tank. And now his next career move: head of the Michael Gove’s news desk at the Department of Education. Michael Gove is of course former chair of Policy Exchange and author of the polemic ‘Celsius 7/7 – ‘How the West’s Policy of Appeasement Has Provoked Yet More Fundamentalist Terror – And What Has to Be Done Now’. It is no longer ‘Yes Minister’, but ‘You have taken the words out of my mouth, Secretary of State’.
No comment, no content
Our outgoing Security Commissioner, in his end of term report notes, ” I will not disclose publicly the numbers of warrants or authorisations issued to the security and intelligence agencies or the armed forces. That is because it would, I believe, assist those unfriendly to the UK were they able to know the extent of the work of the Security Service, SIS, GCHQ and the armed forces in fulfilling their functions. The figures are, however, of interest and I have included them in the Confidential Annex to this report”. So he is telling us that he is not telling us about any abuses of power! Why produce a report with so little content?
Mr Ed Hussain, now comfortably lodged with fellow neo-cons at 58 East 68th Street, New York (Council on Foreign Relations) could be heard yesterday 15th August on the BBC pontificating on Syria – and drawing a parallel between the demonstrating tactics of the anti-Assad opposition with Al-Qaida! And what makes Ed an ex-spurt/expert on the country – by spending more time with “non-Muslim Britons than Muslims” as he says in his biography. Ed has never quite come clean on how many months precisely he spent in Damascus – often providing a date range that includes time in Saudi Arabia.
“Ironically, [Douglas] Murray himself had started out as a believing Anglican, but began to question his faith as a result of his work on Islam, writing in December 2008, ‘Gradually, scepticism of the claims made by one religion was joined by scepticism of all such claims.” – from the brilliant Spinwatch report ‘The Cold War on British Muslims’
The link between Israeli partisans and rightwing think tanks
Following the citations of Melanie Phillips by the Norwegian Christian Terrorist Anders Breivik, what other dots are waiting to be joined? For example, why are Zionist charities so compassionate towards rightwing/neo-Con think tanks? Take the Lewis Family Charitable Trust founded in 1962. Its beneficiaries have apparently included both the Zionist Federation and Policy Exchange. Or take the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust – it donates both to the Israel-Diaspora Trust, as well as generously to Policy Exchange!
Need to probe Murdoch but also the probers
Muslim readers of The Times will not be unaware of this newspaper’s smears against Muslim scholars and institutions in Britain – often written under the pseudonym ‘Andrew Norfolk’ – for example in September 2007 with the headline: “The homegrown cleric who loathes the British” thus describing alim Riadh ul Haque….And the tabloid the ‘Sun’ of the same News Corp stable was equally vindictive – “Muslim fanatic is crack dealer” (Nov 2010), “In traditional Islamic headgear, Asian ex-gang member Amir poses with his sword….”(Feb 2010), its projection of UKIP… But what about some of the MPs now hunting with the hounds, having run with the hares! Take Tory MP Philip Davies who asked a couple of banal questions to Dauphin Murdoch. Davies should have declared his interests. After all, he has used the Sun for his rants, apparently stating [7th October 2006] “If there’s anybody who should f____ off it’s the Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs”. The Sun apologised for this non-story some months later – Davies has yet to apologise.
British Values & Torture
Jonathan Evans, MI5 DG in October 2009 (speech at the University of Bristol): It was “a very clear and long established principle” that MI5 did not collude in torture or solicit others to torture on its behalf. Fast forward to The Guardian, 13th July 2011: “The supreme court has outlawed intelligence services’ use of secret evidence in court to conceal allegations that detainees were tortured….The appeal was brought by lawyers for MI5 seeking to overturn an earlier appeal court ruling that prevented the service from suppressing accusations British suspects had been ill-treated at Guant·namo Bay and other foreign holding centres….The detainees’ claims for compensation have, in the meantime, been settled. Last November the government agreed to pay out millions of pounds to former Guant·namo Bay inmates”.
HMG downgrades faith consultation
The Faith Communities Consultative Council has been the only formal forum through which Government and faith groups could exchange views – it grew out of the 1990s Inner Cities Religious Council. In June 2011 CLG minister Andrew Stunell has informed members that the FCCC is going to be dissolved – so there will no longer be a formal consultative mechanism – but instead “ad hoc meetings to discuss policy as appropriate”. We will call you – you don’t call us! Not very reassuring for the Muslim community – its national representative bodies will only be consulted at times of crisis, not normalcy. We lack access to the corridors of power, and one more avenue has been slammed shut.
Who’s been leaning on MINAB
While 99% of Musliim civil society has been critical of the recently launched Home Office’s Prevent Strategy [even Quilliam Foundation noted that "there are many problems in the strategy...the strategy is plagued by muddled thinking"] one group’s unquestioning endorsement stands out like a sore thumb – The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) – whose press release stated that it “welcome the refocused Prevent Strategy”. According to the grapevine the MINAB press release was drafted by individuals associated with the department for Communities & Local Government – which of course includes one or two Muslims tasked with selling HMG policies. Names are not difficult to work out!
Jonathan Sacks’s blind spot
“A powerful store of social capital still exists. It is called religion: the churches, synagogues and other places of worship that still bring people together in shared belonging and mutual responsibility. The evidence shows that religious people ñ defined by regular attendance at a place of worship ñ actually do make better neighbours”. Chief Rabbi – why this allergy to the word ‘mosques’ – surely it could have been included in your listing!? There are more Muslims in the UK than all the other non-Christian faiths put together.
In our image
Catholic bishops meeting in Turin wish to “encourage the birth of an Islam more purely and typically religious than political”; a bit rich considering there remains a Vatican State in which the Pope is both temporal and spiritual leader; in fact Britain appoints an Italian ambassador to Rome and a separate one to the Holy See!
Shutting up the debate
Martin Bright et al hounded the Muslim Council of Britain in early 2010 when its then Deputy Secretary General Dr Daud Abdullah signed the Istanbul Declaration on Gaza – it callled on resistance if there was a naval blockage. Now Bright writing in the JC has the excellent London Citizens in the crosshairs – because its trustee Junaid Ahmed gave a speech at a public meeting in 2009 (during Israel’s brutal Operation Cast Lead) in which he paid respects to the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Why raise this issue now? And how long will it be before the JC plays the Pope Pius card – and raise the issue of anti-semitsm – which will sting the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) inspired London Citizens’ activists?
It felt like a scene from a Le CarrÈ novel. Former South African Intelligence boss Ronnie Kasrils speaking a stone’s throw from the British Library – among the audience a scattering from the Muslim embassies – all their ‘first secretaries’ one presumes. Including a wary friend from the Malaysian High Commission – Ronnie slipped in the occasional ‘Assalaamu ‘Alaikum’ when appropriate.
The Royal Wedding. RSVP
There were two Muslim invitees to Prince William’s wedding – one a distinguished maulana from Leicester. But as the event clashed with Juma prayers, he chose to be with his congregation. Doff the cap to a man of principle.
In the cross-hair?
Apparently the new Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson, a distinguished QC, is working on various reports relating to Muslims in Britain. With the Tories’ sounding off again on HT as a possible proscribed group, is this an opportunity for the Reviewer to show his mettle i.e. independence from the political masters – or will he go native like his undistinguished predecessor Lord Carlile? Wait and see.
Dr Stranglelove lives on…
Double dealings galore – Independent newspaper’s report: “An al-Qa’ida operative accused of bombing Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan in 2002 was working for British intelligence at the same time….” Interestingly – the hotel incident features in France’s ‘Karachigate’ scandal – bombing of the Sheraton and death of French engineers – in retribution for withholding of paybacks to finance Baladur’s presidential campaign!
If I had a hammer, I would hammer in the morning…
Objecting to a sacrilegous depiction of Christ in a museum gallery in Avignon, France, two young Frenchmen destroyed the montage by artist Andres Sarrano. They entered the museum gallery on Sunday morning [17th April 2011], and with a hammer and pick-axe, destroyed the art work. This followed demonstrations on Saturday organised by Catholic associations that had denounced the work as blasphemous. During the Danish Cartoons affair Muslims were lectured on Enlightenment values of freedom of expression and called cultural terrorists – will French Catholics receive the same treatment?
Can you be serious?
Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 (1999-2004) and ‘uncle’ to Saif Gaddafi was heard to declare at a recent London foreign policy event – referring to the Egyptian Ikhwan – “they have many appearances, political and social, but we know in their heart of hearts they are essentially terroristsî. What appallingly poor judgement. Dearlove was much miffed when John Sawers emerged as SIS head in 2009 – calling it a “wrong choice” by an “impulsive” Foreign Secretary. It seems that not much credence was put on Dearlove’s views on succession planning.
British Muslims for Israel!
So 22 year old Mr Hasan Afzal would like to spearhead those British Muslims who wish to “advocate for Israel”. He also writes for Conservative Home disparaging Muslim efforts such as the ‘Inspired by Muhammad’ campaign. Let us watch his next career moves when he graduates from Birmingham University in 2012 with a degree in Political Economy.
Emerging from the debate initiated by Paul Goggins MP in support of Quilliam Foundation: that this organisation received more “Home Office Prevent funding than any other single organisation-nearly £1.2 million over the past three financial years. The Foreign Office has provided nearly £1.5 million in project funding over the same period.” Those speaking in favour of continued funding [usual suspects Hazel Blears, Michael Gapes, Patrick Mercer, Julian Lewis, Pat McFadden, Jerry Sutcliffe, Denis MacShane ] vastly over-rated QF’s influence amongst Muslims in Britain – ask the man on the Cricklewood omnibus – he would laugh with derision.
Guess who’s here?
There was one unexpected member of the audience when Kemal Helbawy, Anas Takriti and others briefed an open meeting organised by IFE last Tuesday (8th March 2011) at East London Mosque. Why no other than a mandarin from the Home Office - Tony Heal, Deputy Head of Prevent Unit! Now, Now, is this a sign of personal interest, or at the behest of boss Charles Farr? The speakers did not pull any punches, so hopefully HMG now knows what many think about the West’s double-standards of propping up dictators, while also pontificating about human rights and democratic values.
Musharaff’s double negative
‘General Pervez Musharraf, who is now living in Britain, alleges that he was not told about Britainís disapproval of torture‘. What to make of this – that Britain approved the torture carried out under his regime’s auspices?
Why this vendetta against Foreign Secretary William Hague
Is there a link between (a) Britain’ stand in the Security Council resolution of 22nd Feb 2011 condemning Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as an obstacle to peace (UK support, US veto) (b) the decision to upgrade the Palestinian General Delegation in London to the level of a mission AND the very loud whispering campaign to declare the FS unfit for his post? For example the Daily Telegraph story:”Mr Hague’s commitment to his Cabinet career has waned since last year”. Guess who might be scheming for his job – Liam Fox, or even Michael Gove?
Worrying feedback for Mr Hague…..
Explaining their decision to arrest the SAS team in Libya, one member of the interim ruling council in Benghazi noted that on finding they were British their suspicions were heightened “by Britain’s role in training Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in recent years.” No doubt many Egyptians will similarly remember the way Tories have slighted Qaradawi when it comes to dealing with Britain once the dust settles.
Bahrain’s London PR company
Lord Bell (of Margaret Thatcher times) heads up the PR company Pottinger Bell – his company is now acting for the Bahraini government. Among Lord Bell’s earlier work was on behalf of the Saudi government to discontinue the Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribes in the Al Yamamah arms deal. The firm recently issued a statement ëThe UK backs all initiatives taken by the kingdomís leadership to safeguard the country from extremism and internal division, promote national unity and protect the legitimate ruling system advocated by the Bahraini people.í The FCO quickly denied this!
Mr Dearlove and the dirty shilling
Among UK organisations receiving their shilling from Saif Gaddafi was Monitor Group – he used them to interview the heads of non-government organisations for a paper that argued the ‘central failing’ of current global institutions was that the set-up was ‘highly undemocratic.’ And guess who worked at the time for MG: Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Sir Mark Allen, ‘the intelligence agent who brought Col Gaddafi’s regime in from the cold’.” Perhaps this duo’s texts may even have found their way in Schizo Junior’s LSE PhD thesis!
Now who was recently cosying up to Saif al-Qaddafi?
The RICU-compliant Quilliam Foundation has just published a document ëUnderstanding the Libyan uprisingí written by one Noman Benotman, “a senior analyst at Quilliam, who arrived back in London yesterday after spending two weeks in Tripoli” . In it, he calls for a safe passage to the Colonel and hiis family “into exile”! Please QF, could you tell us how many times your distinguished analyst was entertained by Schizo Jr?
extremum vitae spiritum edere
An international Afghanistan conference held in June 2010 in Kabul has decided to call its operation to transfer the ëlead security responsibilityí to the Afghan government as ‘Operation Inteqal’. This may mean ‘transfer’ in Dari, but in Urdu it is more like the transfer from the realm of the living to that of the dead!
Qaradawi, Scylla and Charybdis Will Odysseus break free?
There is no doubt (7098)