The head of an extremist Islamist party in Pakistan has been “honoured” at an East London town hall with the award of a plaque bearing the borough’s coat of arms.
Pakistan’s oldest social conservative and Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), is reportedly linked to extremists and has opposed the country’s Women’s Protection Act — a law protecting female victims of violence — for being against Sharia law.
A post from August last year on the Facebook page of JI’s leader, Senator Siraj ul Haq (pictured above), shows him receiving a plaque bearing Waltham Forest’s coat of arms from Labour Councillor Saima Mahmud, the then mayor of that borough. According to the Evening Standard, the post claims he received it “in honour” of his visit to the area.
According to Rupert Sutton, a domestic extremism and security researcher at the Henry Jackson Society think tank:
“The Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has a history of extreme and intolerant views. It’s hardly a suitable organisation for a British local council to be associated with. This should raise serious concerns.”
The latest revelation affecting Waltham Council comes shortly after the Evening Standard exposed in April how a local blogger called Khalid Malik also received a plaque in the borough’s Mayor’s Parlour in recognition of his “good content”.
This happened even though Mr. Malik prompted outrage after a “religiously extremist” post appeared on his online news channel’s Facebook page praising a fanatic who murdered a Pakistani politician for supporting liberal reforms to the country’s strict Islamic laws. Another post involving a Jewish man was said to be potentially “damaging to community cohesion” because of its “anti-Semitic” imagery.
An investigation carried out for Waltham Forest by barrister Jonathan Auburn found that Allah Khan, the man who set up the Haq and Malik events who is also the father of Labour’s Councillor Ahsan Khan, has been arranging access to the Mayor’s Parlour “for a number of years”.
Councillor Khan said: “I completely disagree with his [Haq’s] views and those of Khalid Malik.”
After the report concluded that there are “one or two members of the community who appear to have the ability to arrange access to the Mayor and Mayor’s Parlour, where others may not necessarily know how to”, Waltham Forest says it has now “tightened up” procedures for use of the rooms.
The report found no council member, officer or employee was shown to have played a role in deciding who to invite, but stated that “requests from Mr Khan senior [Allah] were usually made at short notice and there was a large degree of trust in his judgment”.
Other events were “facilitated” by Dr Shaukat Khan, a 67 year old man found guilty in 1993 of fraudulently stealing more than £10,000. He denied “arranging” any of the meetings or being involved with any honoring guests from Pakistan, but he did assist with events for visitors from China.