The Sunday Express has published this statement:
East London Mosque
OUR article of December 27, 2009 “Jet bomb ordered by 9/11 spiritual leader” stated that Anwar al Awlaki, the Yemen based cleric said to have inspired the failed plot to blow up a plane bound for Detroit, had spoken at the “radical” East London Mosque (ELM).
We would like to make clear that ELM works tirelessly to promote religious and social tolerance and to oppose violent extremism in all its forms. ELM tells us that it was not aware of any credible allegation of violent extremism against Anwar al Awlaki prior to the single occasion on which he spoke at the London Muslim Centre (LMC) at an event organised by an external organisation. ELM does not promote or support Anwar al Awlaki. ELM would not now permit Anwar al Awlaki to speak at ELM or the LMC.
The East London Mosque “works tirelessly to promote religious and social tolerance and to oppose violent extremism”? This is Soviet level absurdity.
The statement is one outcome of thuggish lawfare, long among several British Islamists’ favourite pursuits.
The Express does publish some atrocious articles about Muslims. The Quilliam Foundation is right here:
Starting with a front page article entitled ‘Now Muslims Demand Full Sharia Law’ on 15th October, The Express, sadly carried no fewer than six articles in which al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary’s propaganda was reported as fact. For example, although al-Muhajiroun failed to convince much more than 100 people to attend their re-launch event in June, The Express repeated his claim that they would be able to attract as many as 5,000 people to their protest last weekend and, published alongside this article, The Express carried propaganda images produced by al-Muhajiroun of how they would like London to look under their understanding of Islam.
We have worked with some of your journalists on various stories and found this reportage to be out of kilt with previous experiences.
More concerning is your paper’s failure to identify this group as being entirely unrepresentative of British Muslims, a failure which risks fanning the flames of right-wing extremism. For example, on 15th October you used the headline ‘Now Muslims Demand Full Sharia Law’ whilst your article on the day of the protest, 31st October, ‘Uproar as Fanatics Go On March For Sharia Law in UK’ opened referring to “A Muslim march to promote sharia law” and repeated Choudary’s claim to be “Britain’s chief sharia law judge”. This could easily give the impression to your readers that British Muslims respect and follow Anjem Choudary and share his desire to turn Britain into his medieval vision of an Islamic state.
However, calling the East London Mosque “radical” is no exemplar of the newspaper’s taste for nasty spin.
Now there are semantic arguments to be had about the term in the context of the mosque. But none of them should involve libel lawyers. Nor is the mosque’s long and documented record of hosting extremists, if that is a term you prefer, open to debate.
Furthermore, “the single occasion on which he spoke at the London Muslim Centre (LMC)” is misleading.
Awlaki spoke at the mosque itself in 2003, when he was in the UK and touring the country with the assistance of the Muslim Association of Britain, which was led in those days by Islamist activists Kamal el Helbawy, Mohammed Sawalha, Azzam Tamimi, and Anas al Tikriti. Awlaki’s message to the East London faithful was simple: don’t help policemen investigating terrorists.
In January 2009 the London Muslim Centre hosted the “End of Time” event, where Awlaki was the star speaker via a video link from Yemen. The mosque brushed off criticism:
But an East London Mosque spokesman said: “Mr Awlaki has not been proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone is entitled to their point of view.
“The subject matter is about judgement and the afterlife, a common theme in many religions.”
The meteors reining down on New York in the poster referred to ‘the end of the world’ which had no official reference to September 11, according to the mosque.
In February 2009, another conference at the London Muslim Centre was organised by the same shady group that produced the January event – Noor Pro Media. The on site speakers were Uthman Lateef and Murtaza Khan. The organisers said they would repeat the speech Awlaki delivered at the “End of Time” event a month earlier:
[Message from “Abu Salahudeen”]
Re: Noor Pro Media…Don’t Despair
For those who missed the opportunity to watch the video lecture by Anwar Al Awlaki (Your Just Reward…Paradise or Hell) at our last event, we will be airing this video again at this event.
So please arrive early and make sure you have purchased a ticket, as we have limited seating available.
A year on, Noor Pro was still welcome at the London Muslim Centre. At a January 1 2010 event it organised, it said it would sell DVDs of Awlaki speeches.
Read this again:
ELM tells us that it was not aware of any credible allegation of violent extremism against Anwar al Awlaki prior to the single occasion on which he spoke at the London Muslim Centre (LMC) at an event organised by an external organisation.
“Not aware”? Of Awlaki? That late in the al Qaeda preacher’s game? At a time when Awlaki’s jihadi blog, written in English, was available for all to see? More than four years after he appeared in the 9/11 Commission report and two months after a top American security official spelled it out very clearly?
Another example of al-Qa’ida reach into the Homeland is U.S. citizen, al-Qa’ida supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11th hijackers Anwar al-Awlaki—who targets U.S. Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen.
Let’s take the mosque at its word. Well, there’s one outfit that is certainly not qualified to participate in any campaign against extremists.