A leading Muslim activist has accused Conservative Party peer Sayeeda Warsi of allowing Muslim leaders with radical leavnings gain prominent positions within government.
Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks), told the Sunday Telegraph that Lady Warsi – the first Muslim woman to sit in Cabinet – appointed several people with known “anti-semitic” and “radical” beliefs to a committee charged with investigating the issue of anti-Muslim hatred and set up by Warsi and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Mr Mughal was a member of the committee but said he had resigned over concerns about the background of some of his fellow committee members as well as a “lack of transparency” in the appointment of members.
He told the Telegraph: “I was deeply concerned about the kinds of groups some of the members had connections with, and some of the groups they were recommending be brought into government. (The committee) was Sayeeda [Warsi]’s personal project and she was responsible for the appointments. There was very little transparency about who was put on.”
Fiyaz Mughal, founder of Tell MAMA
The committee, set up in 2012, is part of the Department for Communities and Local Government and includes officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the Department for Education, the Foreign Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.
According to the Telegraph, among the non-governmental members is Muddassar Ahmed, a former activist with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), an organization that has been described as an “anti-Semitic” hate group and which has been banned by numerous universities.
Mr Ahmed has said he regrets his role with MPAC and insists that he no longer has links with the group.
However, according to the Telegraph, Mr Ahmed’s Public Relations company Unitas Communications is part of a group – the Newham People’s Alliance (NPA) – which was created to rally community support for the building of a so-called “Mega Mosque” near the Olympic Park in Newham, East London.
Local councillors have refused planning permission for the mosque leading to the NPA branding mayor Robin Wales a “racist” and a “Zionist” and calling on residents in the area – which is home to a large Muslim population – to not vote for him.
The group behind the mosque, Tablighi Jamaat, is appealing the councillor’s decision. That appeal will be ultimately decided by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which run the committee on which Mr Ahmed sits.
In a column for the Huffington Post on Sunday, Mr Ahmed appeared to drum up support for the mosque, saying it would be an “inclusive” institution which would be open to women and non-Muslims.
He described Tablighi Jamaat as a “conservative missionary movement” but one which has “not espoused extremist tendencies”.
Among the other issues raised by the radical members of the committee is the lifting of a ban on foreign hate preachers entering Britain and working with organizations with extremist links, the paper says.
Also on the working group is Iftikhar Awan, a former trustee of Islamic Relief, a charity with links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and Sarah Joseph, a former spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with which the current and previous governments have broken ties over its links to Islamism, the Telegraph said.
The presence of these individuals, Fiyaz Mughal continued, amounted to “Entryism”, the political strategy of an organization infiltrating another with the intention of promoting and spreading a particular ideology.
On Sunday MPAC accused the Telegraph and the author of the article, Andrew Gilligan, of “McArthyism” accusing Gilligan – the newspaper’s London editor – of “continuing his obsessive quest against Muslims”.
Mr Gilligan is well known for his exposes on the British Muslim community, in particular the activities of British Bangladeshi Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rehman, who is currently the subject of a High Court hearing into electoral fraud and corruption.
Fiyaz Mughal too has been the subject of a number of Gilligan articles, including one which criticized Tell MAMA of exaggerating statistics on anti-Muslim hate attacks.