A known Islamist has appeared in Parliament to present a ‘Muslim Manifesto’ ahead of the general election. Azad Ali, who has previously spoken of his “love” for al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, received a warm reception from the audience which included a number of Labour MPs and former cabinet minister Baroness Warsi. (h/t Guido Fawkes)
The manifesto has been put together by the Institute for Muslim Community Development, as a “call-to-action” for parliamentarians, “pinpointing key issues of high importance to the Muslim community.” According to their website, it was assembled through consultation with “grass roots members, community leaders, religious leaders, social activists, academics, thinkers and politicians.”
The list of 33 points is comprehensive, but amongst other things, the manifesto calls on members of parliament to “Support efforts to accurately remember Muslim and non-Muslim histories including oppressive and genocidal actions against Muslim peoples by British and European peoples”; “Celebrate and support Muslim heritage and cultural institutions”; “Eliminate the root causes of institutional discrimination against Muslims and introduce tougher legislation to prevent it”; “Introduce more robust legislation to curb media hate campaigns against Muslims” and “Acknowledge that the holy scripture of Muslims (the Qur’an) does not endorse terrorism and the murder of innocents.”
It was highly praised by the parliamentarians in attendance, including Baroness Warsi who said that the “Muslim Manifesto is something you can take to your election candidates”.
Labour Members Yasmin Qureshi, Gerald Kaufman, Kate Green and Andy Slaughter were also present at the event, as was Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth, who added: “I think this manifesto is really important and a great initiative. I will be studying it very carefully and I will be passing it on to our Shadow Cabinet”.
— Azad Ali (@azadaliCCM) March 4, 2015
The event was organised, and the manifesto presented by Azad Ali, a former civil servant in the Treasury. Ali is currently Head of Community Engagement at Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), an anti-Islamophobia think tank and sits on the board of Unite Against Fascism as a Vice Chair.
Yet he is also a known jihadist sympathiser. In 2008, ahead of the American Presidential elections, he wrote an article in which he said of Anwar al-Awlaki: “I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”
During the same post, which discussed whether or not Muslims should engage in Western democratic processes, he opined: “I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms, and not on terms set by others. Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by “rules” that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter?
“These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God. This is manifested in almost every Western government’s foreign policy in the guise of spreading democracy. If only they would spread freedom!”
Ali was suspended on full pay from the Treasury for six months for blogging: “If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation. If I found the same soldier in Jordan I wouldn’t touch him. In Iraq he is a fighter and an occupier, here he is not. I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.”
He later lost a libel case against a newspaper who reported his comments. The judge, Mr Justice Eady, ruled that Ali “was indeed taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified”. The judge described his claim as “bound to fail” and said that Ali had an “absence of reality”.
Despite the episode, in 2010 the Telegraph reported that the Metropolitan Police were working with Ali in his role as head of the Muslim Safety Forum, despite Ali also being involved at a senior level in the Islamic Forum of Europe, an organisation dedicated to the creation of an Islamic state under Sharia law in Europe. The two organisations shared office space.
Earlier that year he had been filmed by an undercover reporter from Channel 4’s Dispatches program saying: “Democracy, if it means not implementing the sharia, of course nobody agrees with that.”