Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, Slams FOSIS

At a Community Security Trust event last night, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, called out the Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the clearest possible terms.

Here is an extract from his speech:

I know that many people in the Jewish community are engaged in interfaith dialogue with British Muslims who represent Islam at its tolerant best. But where individuals and groups express attitudes that are hostile to Jews. Muslim and non-Muslim alike. That cannot be tolerated. And we need to be smart in our approach. How do you do that? I have always believed that, as a general principle. You don’t win the fight by leaving the ring. You don’t walk away from the battlefield and let bigots spread hate unchallenged. You engage – confident in the power of argument. Confident in the power of liberal values to defeat prejudice. Liberalism is muscular, not passive. And I will always defend the right of Ministers to take the fight to those who wish to divide our society.

Of course, there are limits. Some organisations we have no choice but to shun. If we are concerned enough about their activities we will – as a last resort, consider proscription. We won’t provide funding for groups that advocate intolerance.

And ‘engaging to change’ is not the same as endorsing. To give you an example – we recently cancelled a recruitment event aimed at increasing applications by Muslims to the civil service fast stream. The proposed partner organisation was the Federation of Student Islamic Societies. An umbrella organisation which has failed to sufficiently challenge terrorist and extremist ideologies. If Ministers want to meet that organisation, setting out strongly the standards we expect, I am all for it. But am I willing for Her Majesty’s Government to treat them as a credible partner? Absolutely not.  “Engage to change” – yes. Endorse and fund – no.

Nick Clegg has hit the nail on the head. This is precisely the position which a responsible government which cares about defeating extremism, and which has confidence in its “muscular liberalism” should take.

You can read about the crazy proposal to recruit FOSIS activists to work in the Civil Service Fast Track here.

What was FOSIS’s Nabil Ahmed’s response to the cancellation of that event? You can read it here in the New Statesman:

The allegation [of cultivating extremism by neglect] is slanderous, implying as it does that FOSIS fosters and promotes extremist elements. The absence of evidence is deafening.

The government continues to up its rhetoric on integration and extremism, making frivolous claims whilst laying the blame at the doorstep of FOSIS and other Muslims organizations, yet its deeds in policy formation and in cancelling events such as the above are counterproductive to any notion of integration.

It most certainly isn’t defamatory to say that FOSIS has “failed to sufficiently challenge terrorist and extremist ideologies”. The truth is far worse. It is clear from their actions that FOSIS institutionally subscribes to extremist ideologies itself.

Over the last three years speakers at FOSIS events have included the following:

– Daud Abdullah, the Istanbul declaration signatory and head of hate publisher Middle East Monitor.

– Hamas enthusiast Haitham Al-Haddad. The Gaza war made him happy because “it clearly encouraged Muslims to prepare themselves for jihad, all over the world”.

– Canadian Islamist Muhammad Alshareef, who has said Jews should be hated and shunned. As for gays, Muslims should be “proud” to be called homophobic and need to harass gay rights demonstrators.

– Australian preacher Shady Alsuleiman, a fan of Al Qaeda preacher and recruiter Anwar Al-Awlaki. Alsuleiman calls jihad “the peak of Islam”.

– Moazzam Begg, the Taliban fan who heads the terrorist support group Cageprisoners.

– Abdur Raheem Green, the head of iERA. It is an organisation which specialises in staging extremist conferences, such as this one at the Ibis hotel in southwest London which led to a furore earlier this year. Three of iERA’s foreign advisors have been banned from the UK.

– Uthman Lateef, a gay hating and “don’t help the police” extremist. He appeared at events featuring Anwar Al-Awlaki into 2009, when it was very clear that Awlaki was a leading Al Qaeda operative.

– Creepy Stephen Sizer, the church friend of extremists, including the racists and Hamas supporters of Viva Palestina Malaysia.

– Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi, the supporter of suicide bombings.

– Notorious preacher Riyadh ul-Haq, who hates the West and Jews and supports the Taliban.

One of FOSIS’s latest moves was to stand up for the hate preacher Raed Salah. Whose testimony did it call on in defence of Salah? Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas.

FOSIS also did its bit to complicate the police investigation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the undie bomber. Qasim Rafiq of FOSIS was his “close friend” when the pair were at UCL.

There were many reasons that the FOSIS-Civil Service link up was sunk. One of those reasons is that a large number of attendees at the Civil Service recruitment event had declared themselves supporters of Babar Ahmed, a man who is attempting to evade deportation to the United States on terrorism charges. This is what the US has accused him of (there’s more here):

It is alleged that Ahmad and Ahsan, through an entity known as “Azzam Publications,” were members of a group that provided material support to the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen through various means, including the administration and operation of various web sites promoting violent jihad. The Azzam Publications websites, including, e.g., Azzam.com and Qoqaz.net, were hosted for a period of time through the services of a web-hosting company located in Connecticut. The indictment alleges that the defendants, using both cyberspace and real-world efforts, assisted the Taliban and the Chechen Mujahideen through money laundering, as well as by providing funds, military equipment, communication equipment, lodging, training, expert advice and assistance, facilities, personnel, transportation and other supplies, with the knowledge and intent that such conduct would support the military activities of these and associated groups. The indictment also alleges that, during a search of Ahmad’s residence in the United Kingdom in December 2003, Ahmad was found in the possession of an electronic document containing what were previously classified plans regarding the makeup, advance movements and mission of a United States Naval battle group as it was transiting from California to its deployment in the Middle East. The document discussed the battle group’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attack.

This is what azzam.com looked like just five days after 9/11. The main headline is “URGENT APPEAL TO DEFEND AFGHANISTAN”. (Click to enlarge.)

What was FOSIS’s response to being called out on its campaigning for various extremists, hate preachers, and supporters of terrorism?

Why – to ramp up its campaign for Babar Ahmad.

Don’t think that this is the end of FOSIS. These guys never give up. Like the Blues Brothers, they believe that they’re on a mission from God.

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