Harry’s Place is pleased to report some joyous news about Azad Ali, the civil servant who says of al Qaeda preacher 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”.
Azad has stepped down from the presidency of the Civil Service Islamic Society (CSIS), but his replacement is very proud of the contributions of the Awlaki supporter, and “as a Trustee he will remain involved with Society business”. Mashallah.
Here is the announcement from Nayer Afzal, the new president of the CSIS.
A message from the president of CSIS
Assalaamualaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatuh
May Allah’s blessings be with you at all times Inshallah.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Azad Ali for his outstanding contribution to CSIS and introduce myself as the new President as of 4 January 2010.
It is with regret that I announce that the President of the Civil Service Islamic Society, Azad Ali has come to the end of his term. In all honesty, it had come to an end about a year ago but as he was doing such an amazing job, the Board of Trustees were more than happy to let him carry on. However, like all good things that come to an end it is sad to be at this juncture.
Azad, in his role as President has been the face of CSIS since its inception and is well known throughout the Civil Service, including in the corridors of power. His exceptional contribution and inspirational leadership style has not only benefited the Board of Trustees and Members but Muslims and Non-Muslims in the Civil Service and wider society. The good news is that as a Trustee he will remain involved with Society business.
I have personally known Azad since I joined HM Treasury many years ago. I have always admired his ability to engage with people from all walks of life and to represent his views with confidence and conviction. He is a good friend that has always supported me and provided guidance when in need. It is his integrity, confidence and strong leadership skills that led the Board of Trustees to elect him as President in 2005. His success includes securing Sir Gus O’Donnell as Patron to CSIS alongside other Permanent Secretaries across Whitehall to champion CSIS. Increasing awareness of Islam throughout Whitehall and representing CSIS at many events across the Country and providing support and leadership to individual members and the wider Civil Service. This is notwithstanding his dedicated effort in external activities to eradicate Islamophobia and represent Muslims in wider society, on top of his day job.
It is with pleasure that I accept the new role as President and even though my predecessor is a hard act to follow, I do hope I am able to lead and support CSIS to even more success. For those who do not know me, like Azad, I am a founding member of CSIS and was actively involved in creating the Society and shaping its place as a recognised network group within the Civil Service. I was Vice-Chair for the first 3 years and have since taken a behind the scenes role as a trustee. I have worked in HM Treasury, Communities and Local Government (CLG) and am currently a Grade 7 at DCSF dealing with Intercountry Adoptions. During my time in CLG, I worked in Prevent as the Muslim Women policy officer and this gave me an insight into the Muslim community and highlighted the lack of awareness of Islam in many parts of Government and society at large. I am actively involved in my local community and am a parent governor for my son’s Independent Islamic Primary School. I pray my experience as a Muslim women and a civil servant will help me in my new role. I accept this role with great humility and pray Allah (swt) guides CSIS to accomplish even more than we have. I look forward to working with you all and with the concerted effort of COM, continued commitment of members and the will of Allah (swt) we shall Inshallah make more positive change.
‘Kill British’ blog man fails in MoS libel bid
A civil servant at the Treasury yesterday lost his attempt to sue the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail over articles suggesting he had been suspended and was being investigated over comments he made on a blog.
Azad Ali tried to sue over articles which appeared in the two newspapers in January last year under the headlines “Muslim civil servant suspended over ‘kill British’ blog”, and “Civil servant ‘backed fanatic’s call to kill our troops in Iraq’.”
Justice Eady yesterday gave the newspapers’ publisher, Associated Newspapers, his summary judgment in which he said Ali’s case was bound to fail and had about it “an absence of reality”.
Ali had claimed the articles meant that he was “a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified”.
The stories said he had been suspended from his job after posting a number of remarks on his personal blog, published on the Between the Lines website, which is hosted by the Islamic Forum of Europe.
They cited passages from two particular pieces Ali published under the headings “Defeating extremism by promoting balance” and “We are the Resistance II”, which were posted on the blog on 18 November 18, 2008, and 15 January last year.
Justice Eady said Ali had sought to draw a distinction between the position in Iraq up to the elections in 2005 and the position afterwards, and went on: “The suggestion appears to be that until the Iraqi elections the allied troops were ‘occupiers’ and that resistance to them could be seen as justified by his ‘balanced’ view of the requirements of jihad.”
But after the elections the allies were in Iraq with the people’s consent, so could not be properly regarded as occupiers, meaning that violence towards them could not then be justified by Ali’s interpretation of jihad.
But in his blog Ali had not drawn any distinction between those two periods in time.
The judge said the logic of Ali’s argument was that he would have regarded the killing of American and British troops in Iraq as being justified by reference to jihad up, at least, to the elections in 2005.
But the passage in the blog “seems clearly to convey the meaning that, on the ‘balanced’ view of jihad, killing the ‘occupying’ troops would still have been justified in November 2008”, he said.
The judge said he was “compelled” to conclude that Glen was correct and went on: “I would hold that the claimant was indeed, in November, 2008, and for so long as the blog remained available, taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified by his middle or ‘balanced’ interpretation of jihad.
“Moreover, since it is a matter of construing plain language in its overall context, I believe it would be perverse to take a contrary view.
“In other words, it would not be a rational interpretation of the blog to understand the claimant as saying either that the Allied troops were not ‘occupiers’ in Iraq or that they ceased to be ‘occupiers’ in 2005.
“In those circumstances, the claim can be categorised legitimately as ‘bound to fail’ and as having about it an ‘absence of reality’.
“Nothing would be gained by investigating other blogs in the past or the claimant’s background in other respects. Such an exercise could not change or qualify the plain meaning of the blog in question.”
Azad Ali, writing in September 2008:
So, since we are all working our socks off, in different ways, for the resurgence of the Khilafa [caliphate], I have one question who would you give bayyah [allegiance] to today and what would you say are the qualities needed for them to get your vote? Please, no essays or dissertations!
Try to avoid the obvious things i.e. that it must be a ‘he’, and a Muslim and be of high moral character and be learned in the deen etc. I’m asking for what would make you personally choose someone.
My vote for the title of Amir al-Mu’mineen [commander of the believers] would have to go to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Not only is a motivational leader, with political depth and skill, but also he is a Hafiz of the Qur’an, Mashallah!
Name me one other Muslim leader that is currently leading his people in salat al-Tarawih? I cannot think of another single leader that can lead his people like this!
Don’t let ’em get you down, Azad, I’m sure another caliphate will be along shortly.