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Baroness Warsi To Attend Conference With Racists, Homophobes and Supporters of Terrorism

The Global Peace and Unity Event 2010 is almost upon us. For the last few months, we’ve chronicled the nasty and vicious speakers who are being imported into this country, and who will be paraded across the stage of the Excel Centre this weekend.

There will be one more post on this conference, tying all the loose ends together, and in particular discussing those attendees whose names have sadly dropped off the list, in some cases as a result of unforseen bureaucratic travel-related difficulties, and in other cases perhaps, because those speakers have had second thoughts about sharing a platform with racists, homophobes and supporters of terrorism. I notice that “The Honourable Bob Hawke AC. 23rd Prime Minister of Australia” – once proudly displayed as their keynote speaker – is no longer listed as attending. What a pity.

Yesterday, we listed the Members of Parliament who are participating in this event. They are:

Lord Ahmed, Lord Falconer, Simon Hughes, Andy Slaughter and Sadiq Khan.

The organisers of the GPU Event had hoped for Ministerial attendance at the very highest levels of Government. In the event, they have managed to secure the attendance of one very very junior Liberal Democrat Minister:

Andrew Stunell MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

But no Tories. Or so we thought. On the Event Schedule for Sunday, the following session is listed:

The Rt Hon Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury – Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party
Imaam Abdul Wahid Pedersen – Imaam, Denmark
Shaykh Said Rageah – Islamic Scholar, Canada

We haven’t covered Pedersen and Rageah previously, although both are obnoxious and extreme, because they were not the clearest cases for exclusion. Let’s cover them now.

Pedersen is a former drug dealer, who converted to Islam, and now gives news conferences where he expresses qualified support for polygamy and the like. He is a controversial figure in his native Denmark, where he founded the Independent Scandinavian Relief Agency and served as its Secretary General, until 2004 when is was closed down following the designation of one of its partners by the US Treasury as part of the Al Qaeda funding network. Pedersen expressed surprise at this turn of events, and declared his willingness to comply with the law.

Rageah has a similar profile to Pedersen. He’s a Canadian Imam, a Somali brought up in Saudi Arabia, who is an associate of the banned hate preacher, Zakir Naik, who he invited to speak in Canada. Naik was later banned from reentry.

Recently, five Somalian-Canadian kids from Rageah’s mosque simply disappeared. Nobody knows where they are, but there are strong suspicions that they went off to fight for the Al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabab militia in Somalia.

Rageah courted controversy last year with a particularly firey denunciation of his Muslim political opponents, who oppose the niqab and burka:

“Allah protect us from the fitna [sedition] of these people; Allah protect us from the evil agenda of these people; Allah destroy them from within themselves, and do not allow them to raise their heads in destroying Islam.”

Tarek Fatah, a Canadian Muslim author and commentator, said that type of language could be interpreted as a call to violence. As well, the imam asks Allah to “damn” Christians and Jews.

“The cleric’s ritual prayer asking for the defeat of Christians and Jews and the victory of Islam is not unique,” Mr. Fatah said. “It is uttered by many clerics across Canada spreading hate instead of harmony.  There should be no room in Canada’s mosques for such hatred, especially when most of these institutions get [tax-free status].

Perhaps Rageah will deliver the very same prayer, with Baroness Warsi standing beside him on the platform.

I can’t quite believe that Warsi will actually attend this event. It kind of suggests that the Conservative Party has no problem with this sort of thing.