The day after the Government’s Prevent policy decisively rejected the notion that “non violent Islamists” should not be promoted and funded, supposedly as a bulwark against Al Qaeda, we discover that the US Government is actively undermining that policy.
“Non-violent Islamists” is a misnomer. “Non-violent Islamists” are, almost invariably, supporters of terrorism, against civilians, in other countries.
Here is the story, in today’s Times:
US sends ‘radical’ Islam activist to meet British Muslim youths
The United States Embassy has caused uproar by flying an outspoken American Islamic campaigner to meet young British Muslims as part of a strategy to help them to reject terrorism.
Basim Elkarra is a senior figure in an organisation that has been accused on Capitol Hill of radicalising Muslims and obstructing co-operation with the forces of law and order.
British anti-extremism experts said they were shocked that the US Government was introducing teenagers to an organisation that promotes Islamic political activism.
Mr Elkarra was due to be sent last month into the London borough of Tower Hamlets, which has a worsening reputation for intimidation by Muslim extremists.
A religion teacher was horrifically beaten in the borough by a gang because he was a non-Muslim; posters have declared a gay-free zone; and a chemist was threatened with death for not wearing a veil.
Tower Hamlets, home to a fast-growing Bangladeshi community, last year voted in Britain’s first directly elected Muslim mayor, who had been expelled from Labour after claims of Islamist links.
After The Times raised questions, the borough postponed Mr Elkarra’s visit because of “logistical difficulties”. The local authority made clear that the embassy had proposed the visit by the Islamic activist to the local youth council.
Mr Elkarra nonetheless made his second official visit to Britain last month to meet other Muslim youth and community groups as a guest of the embassy.
The Americans’ proposal to bring Mr Elkarra to a hotbed of tension is part of a little-known strategy attributed to one of President Obama’s high-flying experts on terrorism.
Quintan Wiktorowicz, an academic formerly at the embassy in London and now promoted to the US National Security Council, interviewed hundreds of British Islamists for research.
He concluded that the highly religious were the most resistant to becoming terrorists and he set about encouraging engagement with a broad range of non-violent Muslims.
Mr Elkarra, an executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was chosen to meet Britain’s Muslim youth.
His invitation came despite CAIR being severely criticised at a hearing on Muslim radicalisation held by the House of Representatives homeland security committee in March.
Speaking from California, Mr Elkarra denounced what he called lies about CAIR, telling The Times: “The community here is very active. It was very vocal against the war in Iraq but through the proper channels.
“Quintan brought together American and British Muslims to share civic engagement best practices. My visit is strictly about civic engagement, not counter-terrorism. This is about UK Muslims and US Muslims leveraging and sharing our experiences to empower our communities.”
James Brandon, of the counterextremism think-tank, Quilliam, said: “If you look at how CAIR operates, it’s very much that Muslims have to take on their Muslim identity, vote for Muslim causes, for the pro-Muslim candidate. That’s obviously not what Tower Hamlets needs more of.”
Haras Rafiq, of Centri, the antiextremism organisation, said: “Why are the Americans shoving their extremists on to our youngsters?”
Paul Goodman, of Conservative Home, said: “There are clearly elements of the [Obama] Administration who believe that the best way of combating terrorism is to use the bad against the worst.”
The US Embassy said Mr Elkarra was invited as part of a global programme of bringing speakers who share American values to meet groups vulnerable to violence in other countries.
A spokeswoman gave examples of figures from the US who go to the Middle East to speak about non-violence, or to Latin America to meet young people vulnerable to violent street gangs.
She said: “Basim Elkarra is an experienced community activist who works in the US to uphold the values of tolerance, mutual respect and inter-religious dialogue.”
Four points to note here.
First of al, CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Trial, which uncovered a network of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front organisations that had been assembled to fundraise for Hamas, promote the Ikhwan’s politics within Muslim communities in the United States, and build resistance among American Muslims to a peace deal with Israel, based on two states.
Secondly, the FBI has cut off relations with CAIR, because it recognises that it is closely connected with the Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood network.
Thirdly, Elkarra and CAIR have a disturbing record of issuing scaremongering statements in relation to arrests of Islamist terrorists, and of encouraging suspicion and non cooperation with the police, when investigating these crimes. Here is a poster which was displayed by the San Francisco branch, which illustrates CAIR’s message to Muslims.
Fourthly, the villain of the piece is almost certainly Quintan Wiktorowicz, who encouraged and pursued the same policy, of promoting and forging links with extreme Islamist groups while he was based in London. His reward was promotion by Obama to the National Security Council.
So, in summary, the US Embassy tried to send an agitator who works for a Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood front organisation that discourages cooperation with the FBI in relation to terrorism to help launch a youth project in Tower Hamlets, which has a serious and significant problem with Islamist political groups and hate preachers, some of whom also encourage non-cooperation with the police. Quintan Wiktorowicz believes that this will help Britain combat Islamist terrorism, and so this man was sent to the United Kingdom, despite the Government’s own opposition to this strategy.
Correct me if I’m wrong: but isn’t this absolutely outrageous?
Here is a dossier with more details on Mr Elkarra.