A Muslim teacher who claims to have changed his name from Hamid Mahmood to Harry Mason in order to get more job interviews spent years at a terror-linked mega mosque in Dewsbury, in West Yorkshire.
But Mahmood’s name may not have been the reason that he was rejected. He also removed a reference to the Islamic Institute of Education, otherwise known as the Markazi Masjid, a mega mosque in the north of England, where he studied for years.
He told the BBC Asian Network’s Nihal Show, unchallenged on air, that he believes “Islamophobia still exists”, despite recently released Pew Research polling that shows the ‘Islamophobia’ is an over-exaggerated phenomenon. Mahmood also neglected to mention that his job application was made to a school in Newham, London – an area in which only 17 per cent of the population are White British, and where Asian communities make up around 40 per cent of residents. The idea that Islamophobia can take root in a predominantly Muslim-populated, Asian town seems strange indeed.
Regardless, he claims that this played a part in the school, Langdon Manor, rejecting his application, despite the school’s website being dominated by headscarf-wearing, Muslim children.
Mahmood confirmed to the BBC that he “took off [a] degree from an Islamic seminary” before resubmitting the job application. It turns out that seminary – the Markazi Masjid – has been repeatedly implicated in terrorism.
In 2006, the Daily Mail linked the mosque, and a ‘Muslim rights activist‘ in the news, to the 7/7 bombers who committed terrorist atrocities in London. “The mosque is run by Tablighi Jamaat, a radical Islamic movement believed by intelligence agencies to be a fertile source for recruiting young extremists,” the report stated.
In 2006, the Times stated: “Several of the suspects arrested in August over the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners had attended meetings of Tablighi Jamaat, which French intelligence has labelled an ‘antechamber of fundamentalism’. The FBI says it is a fertile breeding ground for al-Qaeda.”
In 2007, the Times reported: “One of the suicide bombers who attacked London in July 2005, Shehzad Tanweer, studied at the Deobandi seminary in Dewsbury and Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 terror plot, was a regular worshipper at the adjoining mosque. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, was said to have been influenced by Tablighi Jamaat, several of whose adherents were also among those arrested last year over an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners.”
While no allegations have been made of Mr Mahmood himself, it appears that changing his name to “Harry Mason” may not have been the motivating factor behind schools being suddenly willing to interview him.
Indeed Mahmood ‘likes’ the mega mosque on Facebook, as well as a Chinese Tablighi mosque, and one in Pakistan. A Telegraph article from 2006 calls Tablighi Jamaat the ‘Army of Darkness’ and said of the group: “…with increasing and alarming frequency, the name of Tablighi Jamaat is cropping up in the worldwide fight against terrorism.”
“Several of those arrested on August 9 in connection with the alleged plot to blow up airliners en route from Britain to America, had attended Tablighi study sessions in Britain.”
“The group’s ideal of a world governed by an ultra-conservative, neo-medievalist form of Islam, in which women are subservient and all laws and customs are based on religious dictates, is barely distinguishable from the wish lists of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.”
“In Britain, the group is run from the 3,000-capacity Markazi Mosque in Dewsbury – built with funds from Saudi Arabia – which also functions as Tablighi Jamaat’s European headquarters. Signs around it warn: ‘Photography prohibited. Unauthorised persons not allowed. Trespassers will be prosecuted’.”
Mr Mahmood’s own Facebook activity references extremists. He ‘likes’ the Tayyibun Institute, linked to an extremist preacher who appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Undercover Mosque’ documentary in 2007, he also likes the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, a group that has received a number of anti-Semitism allegations, and Uthman Lateef, another controversial Muslim cleric.
Langdon Academy, which Mr Mahmood accuses of Islamophobia, told Breitbart London: “The Academy does not comment on the details of confidential staffing matters. However this allegation is refuted entirely.”
Mr Mahmood has not yet responded to a request for comment.