A front group for Muslim extremists has boasted of its intent to act as “kingmakers” in the general election, and claims to be able to influence the outcome of up to 30 seats.
Last month Azad Ali, a senior figure in Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), presented a Muslim Manifesto to Lords and Parliamentarians of all parties in Westminster. A Tory candidate in a winnable seat has revealed that he was repeatedly offered large sums of money for his campaign if he agreed to sign up to the manifesto.
According to the Telegraph, Mend’s chief executive, Sufyan Ismail told an audience at Zakariyya Central Mosque in Bolton “David Cameron recently said that British Jews fighting for the IDF [Israeli army] will not be prosecuted.”
“But British Muslims going to Syria fighting against Assad… will definitely face interrogation. Now do you think that if we landed those 20 seats or 30 seats, he [Cameron] would have the audacity to say that to the Muslim community? Not a chance!”
He explained that the group had organised to “batter the Israeli lobby” in the Commons. “Right now, we are negotiating with the Labour leadership, we are negotiating with the Tory leadership and insh’allah [God willing] will start with the Lib Dem leadership as well, where we have a list of manifesto pledges.
“The Muslim vote is worth ten ordinary votes because… we are heavily concentrated in a few areas,” he said. “Anybody who can give any one party 10, 20, 30 seats, like we can, they have to listen to you.”
A Labour spokesman denied that any negotiations had taken place, saying: “We receive submissions and requests from hundreds of organisations, but it is completely wrong to suggest Mend has any influence over Labour’s manifesto process.”
However, the Labour Members of Parliament Yasmin Qureshi, Gerald Kaufman, Kate Green and Andy Slaughter were all present at the launch of the Muslim Manifesto last month, 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”.
And former Conservative cabinet member Baroness Warsi, who was also present at the launch, commented “[The] Muslim Manifesto is something you can take to your election candidates.”
The manifesto includes commitments to “Celebrate and support Muslim heritage and cultural institutions,” and to “Eliminate the root causes of institutional discrimination against Muslims and introduce tougher legislation to prevent it.” It also calls on government to “allow Muslims greater access to decision-making processes in the security services.”
Last Friday, both Baroness Warsi and Kate Green, Labour’s shadow equalities minister and vice-chair of its national policy forum, spoke at a “professionals fundraising dinner” in Manchester organised by Mend.
Also speaking at the event was Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who has referred to British people as “animals”, insisted that women should not work, and has attacked democracy, and Yasir Qadhi, a salafist Muslim who drew a parallel between the actions of the American government in ordering drone strikes on the middle east with those of the terrorist who flew the planes into the twin towers on 9/11.
The Conservative Party has not responded to questions put by the Telegraph regarding Mend’s claims to be in discussions with its leadership.