A Muslim lobby group, which regularly works with police, MPs, and local government, promotes “extremism”, harbours anti-Semites, and gives a platform to Muslim grievance narratives and Islamist views, a report has found.
Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) claims to help British Muslims engage in the democratic process, but its leaders are detailed as opposing democracy in favour of sharia, having legitimised the killing of British troops, and promoting conspiracy theories about Islamist terror, The Henry Jackson Society report found.
The report also explains how Mend has consistently fought against liberal, pro-West Muslims, and sought to destroy many counter-terror laws including Prevent.
Some Tory MPs have now said they will back away from the group following the report, but Labour’s Stephen Kinnock said he would still host an up-and-coming meeting with Mend.
— MEND Community (@mendcommunity) July 30, 2017
Despite their opposition to Prevent, the Borough of Tower Hamlets once paid Mend £25,262.40 to help to evaluate their “No Place for Hate” campaign, which was part of the borough’s implementation of Prevent.
One of the longest-serving and most prominent figures in Mend, Azad Ali, gives talks in schools and has had meetings with police.
Yet, in 2010, he lost a libel case against the Daily Mail, with the court finding the paper was justified in describing him as a “hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq,” due to writings on his blog.
He has also attacked “infidels” on the blog, saying Muslims should “hate” their actions, praised the leader of the terror group Hamas, and advocated sharia law, which he said should come before respecting democracy. On Twitter, he has urged Muslim to “refuse to comply with” counter-terror laws.
He has also worked for a group accused of bringing extremist speakers to the East London Mosque, including the 9/11-linked Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al Awlaki, who Mr. Ali has personally said he has “love” for.
Cardiff MEND team teaching British Transport Police Wales about Islam & Islamophobia
— MEND Community (@mendcommunity) October 10, 2017
— MEND Community (@mendcommunity) October 16, 2017
Mend has enjoyed considerable influence over the UK’s police, and Mr. Ali and others from the group have worked with numerous forces and councils, training them about Islamic doctrine, Muslim grievance narratives, and so-called “Islamophobic hate crimes”.
They have a huge amount of power in Manchester, where they are one of only two Islamic groups on the ‘Ending Islamophobia Action Planning Group’, alongside Greater Manchester police, Manchester city council, and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner.
Before his election, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham shared a platform Mend, after he implied Muslims should not work with police and opposed counter-terror laws.
Author of the report and Research Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society, Tom Wilson, said:
“This report demonstrates in considerable detail why Mend’s message risks being so dangerous. It also exposes the many shocking and troubling statements from individuals who have been part of that organisation over the years.
“Public figures and elected officials agreeing to speak at Mend’s events should be aware that this is an organisation which has hosted preachers known for their extremist and intolerant views. That is who they are aligning themselves with.”