The Guardian has a new report on the boo hoo hooligans who are being sent down for attacking police officers and smashing Starbucks at last winter’s Gaza demonstrations in London. It includes this line:
Muhammad Sawalha, president of the British Muslim Initiative anti-racist group
The British Muslim Initiative (BMI) was one of the leading organisers of the Gaza demos. BMI placards taunted Jews with the Israelis-are-Nazis slur: “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza”.
The BMI likes that vicious line. Here it is again in August 2009 at a “Stop the War Coalition” and BMI demonstration at Downing Street. The man in the beige suit is Sawalha.
At the Gaza demos, speaker after speaker hailed Hamas. Here’s Azzam Tamimi ranting on January 10, the night of the worst violence near the Israeli embassy:
Today we are all Hamas! Today we are all Hamas! Today we are all Hamas!
Israel has dug its grave. Zionism has dug its grave. You count the years. That embassy over there one day will be a Palestinian embassy. The Zionist flag will come down and the flag of Palestine will go up.
Pro-Hamas demonstrations are Mr Sawalha’s element. He is a fugitive Hamas commander who has found London a welcoming refuge and handy operating base since the 1990s.
New in town, he became a Hamas facilitator, according to the US indictment (pdf) of Mohamed Salah, one of his accomplices, for obstruction of justice:
Mohammed Qassem Sawalha, a/k/a “Muhammad Khadhem Sawalha,” “Abu Obeida,” “Abu Ubada,” “Abu Ubaydah,” “Abu Ubeida,” and “Abu Obadah,” was initially a Hamas leader in the West Bank until he relocated to London, England in the early 1990s. Defendant Salah and co-conspirator A met with Sawalha in London while en route from the United States to Israel in 1992 and 1993. During these meetings, defendant Salah and co-conspirator A received instructions from Sawalha regarding particular Hamas-related activities they were to carry out while in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
In approximately August 1992, Salah met with co-conspirators Marzook and Mohammed Qassem Sawalha regarding the need to revitalize Hamas terrorist operations in the West Bank. During the meeting, Sawalha, who had previously been in charge of Hamas terrorist operations within the West Bank, identified specific Hamas members still residing in the West Bank who could be used to revitalize Hamas’ terrorist activities.
Sawalha is still at work for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2004 IslamOnline, the Muslim Brotherhood website headed by Yusuf al Qaradawi, named him “manager of the political committee of the International Organization of the Brothers [i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood] in Britain”.
In 2005 Robert Lambert of the Metropolitan Police and other fools gifted the Finsbury Park Mosque to supporters of Hamas, including Sawalha. He is a trustee of the renamed North London Central Mosque to this day. At the time the mosque was taken, he was queried about Hamas. He’s a have-cake-and-eat man, who says he supports Hamas, but he will not comment on “military activity”:
Sawalha’s link with Hamas emerged after he was named as a co-conspirator in an American court case involving racketeering and conspiracy. Last week the cleric, who arrived in Britain 15 years ago and has been given indefinite leave to remain, said that he still supported Hamas, notorious for its suicide attacks in Israel.
Asked whether he supported the military activities of Hamas, he replied: “I have no comment on the question of military activity. I am working here to give a new direction to this mosque and break with the past.”
The British Muslim Initiative (BMI) lauded Qaradawi, chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and a trustee of the Oxford University Center for Islamic Studies, as an “eminent” scholar.
It regretted the government’s decision as “an unwarranted insult” to Britain’s two million Muslims.
“The negative impact of this ban is no less than that of banning the Pope from entering any of the Muslim countries,” said Mohammad Sawalha, BMI president.
“We would have to go as far back as the medieval age when scholars were hounded and vilified in order to find a similar retrograde decision.
In February 2009 he was one of the UK signatories of the pro-Hamas Istanbul declaration (pdf), alongside Daud Abdullah of the Muslim Council of Britain and Shah Jahan Abdul Qayyum, the imam of the East London Mosque.
Around the turn of this year, he was an important contributor to George Galloway’s convoy for Hamas. For example, here he is (middle left) in Damascus, meeting Hamas leader Abu Marzook on behalf of the convoy.
After the convoy, it was off to Beirut. Sawalha and Sabah al Mukhtar, the former Viva Palestina trustee and mad Jew hater who thinks “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is some kind of prophecy for our times, attended a conference that united leading figures in Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iraqi “resistance”. The conference statement celebrated jihad:
The statement pointed out that resistance is the logical road for people to reach their goals, paying tribute to the heroic resistance in Lebanon and Palestine as outstanding models for resistance values and ethics in confronting the terrorism perpetrated by the Zionist enemy, as well as the role of resistance in Iraq in confronting U.S. occupation and hegemony.
Back at home in Britain, Sawalha is a Guardian fan who dismisses the government’s anti-extremism measures. It is all a Zionist plot, he suggested last October:
The British Muslim Initiative (BMI) is appalled by reports that government has been using its Prevent programme to spy on Muslim citizens. We hail the principled decision of the Guardian newspaper to publish the findings of its investigations, which confirm that the programme has maliciously targeted Muslim communities through what Liberty describes as “the biggest spying programme in modern times”. BMI president Muhammad Sawalha said, “This campaign of espionage is a hallmark of totalitarian societies. It is an unfortunate throw back to the Cold War years when spying was the order of the day.” “We are deeply aggrieved that such measures should be adopted to target law-abiding citizens in a modern democracy”, he added. The BMI recognizes in the government strategy a dark political undercurrent of hostility engineered by the Zionist, Islamophobe and Neo-Con alliance (ZINC).
The BMI calls on our government to scrap the discredited and wasteful Prevent programme and disassociate itself forthwith from the jaundiced advices of the anti-Muslim ZINC alliance. For further information and interviews, contact: Anas Altikriti 07899 80600 British Muslim Initiative
This time round, Sawalha pretends to support the law but actually speaks up for rioters, telling the Guardian their trials will only lead to more trouble:
But, because of the fact that the people being brought before the courts are disproportionately Muslim, Sawalha says, the consequences could be disastrous: “The British Muslim Initiative encourages Muslims to express their feelings and ambitions and frustrations only through political and legal processes. But if anything sends the message that Muslims cannot express themselves through political processes, and they will not be dealt with like others, it will give more strength to the fringes within the community who say democracy and the political system doesn’t apply to Muslims in this country. This will only increase the frustration and sense of alienation among these people.”
Er, these are not people out to “express themselves through political processes”. They’re thugs.
This is what the “political processes” looked like to a police officer who was at the January 10 demonstration:
All of a sudden we heard calls from one of our other serials that dozens of people tried to break through the gates to get to the embassy and were climbing the fencing, throwing anything to hand, throwing burning flags at the gate and that they needed more units to help out. Within seconds we heard the call that no police officer wants to hear “more units now, urgent assistance, we’re under attack, officer down”
What had started as a several dozen turned into a hundred or so and the officers were being attacked with missiles including glass bottles, balloons filled with paint, scaffolding clips and metal poles, and a couple had been dragged into the crowd and were beaten to the floor. One officer was knocked unconscious by a scaffolding pole, two received really bad facial injuries and the other officers (male and female) were kicked and punched repeatedly until a couple of PSU’s managed to get to them.
We got back to our posts near the front of the march to be told that a couple of shops opposite the embassy had been attacked and ransacked and that protestors had been seen stealing bottles and knives which were distributed through the crowd and subsequently thrown at the officers at the front gate. We were then informed by a serial at the gate that they had had several bottles of accelerant thrown at them which failed to ignite.
So some of the thugs have been brought to book and sent down. Yes, best call in an “anti-racist” campaigner from Hamas UK to complain about justice being done. Guardian standards must be maintained.