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Why Cameron is Right on Multiculturalism

8:00 AM, Mar 2, 2011 • By MICHAEL WEISS
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The MAB was set up in 1997 to, in its own words, “fill in the gap in terms of Islamic Dawah work in Britain where the call for a comprehensive Islam that encompasses all aspects of life is lacking.” Its founder, Kamal el-Helbawy, has appeared on British television identifying himself as an emissary from the Muslim Brotherhood. Other prominent members of the MAB include Dr. Azzam Tamimi, the British-Palestinian activist who publicly supports Hamas and has defended suicide bombings in Israel as a “noble cause”; and Mohammed Sawalha, who has been identified by the BBC as a “fugitive Hamas commander” living in London where he raises funds for of the Palestinian terrorist organization. In 2009, Sawalha signed the so-called Istanbul Declaration, which termed Arab-Israeli peace negotiations a “betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause,” legitimized “jihad and Resistance” against Israel and, by extension, “everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals.” The Istanbul Declaration also exhorted Muslims to attack foreign naval vessels that might prohibit the smuggling of arms to Gaza.

In 2009, the Cordoba Foundation was one of the sponsors of “Beyond Guantanamo,” an event in the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall that was to have featured a video address by Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-based al Qaeda cleric whom the White House has designated for capture or assassination because of his role in recruiting and mentoring various jihadists, from U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan to “underpants bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Pressure from the local council forced the organizers into canceling the Awlaki video at the last instant.

Cordoba received £38,000 from the Tower Hamlets Prevent Council between 2007 and 2008. Some of the money was earmarked for funding a “debating society,” which in February 2008 hosted an event titled, “Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?” Arguing for the motion was Dr. Abdul Wahid, the UK Chairman of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is a worldwide Islamist party that supports “defensive jihad” (i.e., killing American and British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan) and espouses anti-Semitic and homophobic views such that its representatives have been wholly banned from speaking on British university campuses by the National Union of Students. (Cameron, before becoming prime minister, described Hizb ut-Tahrir as an “extremist” party and vowed to outlaw it, a promise he has so far failed to make good on.) During the Cordoba-hosted debate, Dr. Wahid used the occasion to admonish Muslims MPs, such as Sadiq Khan, for supporting gay rights and preferring British law to its sharia alternative.

Another recipient of Prevent money is the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), founded in 1997 as another umbrella organization for Muslim community groups; today it is the biggest of such umbrellas with around 500 affiliates. It was founded by Iqbal Sacranie, a vocal defender of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa demanding Salman Rushdie’s death. After 7/7, the MCB became one of lead advisers to the UK government on Islamic extremism and radicalism, which makes a kind of perverse logic given that it specializes in both. Indeed, roughly £850,000 of Prevent money has gone to an organization that strongly allies with Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Al Jazeera’s famous Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated cleric, now returned to post-Mubarak Egypt. Qaradawi has described the Holocaust as God’s way of sorting out the Jewish question and given equally ugly opinions about homosexuals, women and apostates. When Qaradawi was denied an entrance visa to the UK in 2008 for inciting violence, the MCB raised a hue and cry. 

The organization courted further scandal in March 2009 when its deputy secretary Daud Abdullah, a well-known Hamas supporter, appended his name to the Istanbul Declaration. Then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears said that if Abdullah did not resign his role the British government would cut Prevent’s funding. The MCB refused to comply. After Blears resigned, her replacement, John Denham, left the MCB and its public coffers alone.

Troublemaking mosques, too, have received Prevent money even as they offer platforms and board memberships to the most reactionary Islamist speakers. 

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