This week the British advocacy group CAGE held a press conference in which it claimed Mohammed Emwazi aka Jihad John, was radicalised by the security services after he was questioned by its officers. The Sunday Telegraph has revealed this is not the first time the group has defended terrorist, or lied for its own political purposes.
CAGE claims to be a “Human Rights Advocacy Group” but in reality its narrative is that Muslims are being discriminated against by the British, and that those who turn to terror can blame their neighbours for it. In today’s paper Andrew Gilligan claims “Cage is no collection of loonies… It is part of a closely connected network of extremists relentlessly – and successfully – lying to young Muslims that they are hated and persecuted by their fellow citizens in order to make them supporters of terror.”
He continues: “The unfortunate truth is that they have significant traction with parts of its target market”. This is because many younger Muslims do not read or trust the mainstream media, and instead rely on information from groups like CAGE. The group claims it advocates people who are wrongly accused as part of the war on terror, but in reality they have defended people who have plead guilty in legitimate courts.
These include Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar both from Birmingham and both serving 12 years behind bars for travelling to Syria to fight Jihad. Moazzam Begg from Cage – who was himself held in Guantanamo Bay but released by the White House against the wishes of the CIA and FBI – said the pair had “never joined Islamic State nor expressed any intention to do so”. But he neglected to tell his audience that they had instead joined an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
He then claimed they has “no intention of harming anyone”, an odd claim given weapons grade explosives had been found on their clothes by the Police. The two facts Begg conveniently missed were part of the reason the judge at their trial described them as “clearly dangerous”.
At the press conference CAGE made a number of claims about the British state and the security services, which they later found hard to backup. CAGE claimed: “Britain has multiplied its military interventions in Muslim countries”, whereas in fact there are no military interventions by the British in Muslim countries today. They also said Muslims are, “in the worst case tortured, rendered or killed, seemingly on the whim of the security services” but they have been unable to come up with the names of anyone who was put in this position.
The most shocking fact about CAGE’s claims is the extent to which they are believed, regular polling suggests that huge numbers of Muslims believe them. This has enabled groups like the now banned Al-Muhajiroun to recruit young Muslims to the cause of radical Islam, and then for others to convert this support into terrorism. The process has been so successful that a significant number of terrorists convicted in the UK have links to Al-Muhajiroun.
CAGE itself is run by Asim Qureshi, a public school educated rich kid who lives in a £530,000 property in Surrey. He once conceded that he had been “very fortunate” growing up, having never personally experienced any of the oppression against Muslims that he later became so concerned about.