Cross Post

A dilemma for Rushanara Ali

This is a cross-post from Ted Jeory

Ever heard of the Muslim Professionals Forum? Me neither. It has a slightly dated website here and it is run out of an office alongside the Limehouse Cut by a Mohammed Khaled Noor. He is an immigration lawyer and styles himself as a “barrister”; he may well be but he is not listed on the Bar Council’s directory.

It says its aims and objectives are:

  1. To build a common platform for Muslim professionals and to promote ethical values and understanding.
  2. To enjoy, achieve and learn an Islamic way of life and cultural heritage through open and intellectual engagement.
  3. To train and prepare Muslim professionals to face modern intellectual challenges.
  4. To promote dialogue and ethos of peaceful coexistence among cultures, ideas and people.
  5. To organise seminars, symposiums and cultural events and to publish articles and periodicals

And its website recommends the following links:

USEFUL LINKS

Mosque and Islamic Centre
London Muslim Centre
London Central Mosque

Oranisations and Institutes
Muslim Council of Britain
Mulsim Association of Britain

United Kingdom Islamic Mission
Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board
British Muslim Initiative
Europen Muslim Research Centre
Middle East Monitor
Cordoba Foundation
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies
Chatam House

Civil Society and Human Rights
Liberty
Amnesty International

Charity
Islamic Relief
Muslim Aid
Interpal

Regulatory Authorities
Charity Commission
Solicitors Regulation Authorities
The Bar Council
Ofcom 

Note the name Interpal.

On November 19th, this forum will be staging a debate entitled, The August Riots: Is Britain Broken? It will be held at the Davenant Centre in Whitechapel. Here’s the poster for the event:

The keynote speaker is Bennite Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn from Islington, but it’s the list below his name which has caused many eyebrows to be raised.

Firstly, there’s George Galloway’s old pal, Anas Altikriti. He is the former head of the Muslim Association of Britain, often regarded as the UK arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. He’s now president of the Cordoba Foundation which has friendly relations with Hizb ut-Tahrir, even to the point of distributing Tower Hamlets council money to them in 2008.

Then there’s Dal Babu, a policeman whose rise up the ranks of the Metropolitan Police over the last few years has been astounding. When I was at the East London Advertiser, he was a Tower Hamlets Chief Inspector in charge of press relations. I’m sure he must have been very good at his other roles but in his liaison role, he certainly was not. He regarded the council paper East End Life as the major outlet and he pretty much lost our trust, promising us one thing only to do another, although he did maintain very good relations with Galloway’s Respect team. He then moved to Scotland Yard, became chair of the Association of Muslim Police and two years ago he got the Harrow job.

Also speaking is Neil Jameson, the director of London Citizens, and two stalwarts from the Islamic Forum of Europe: its president, Dilowar Khan, and the ever-present Azad Ali, whose profile has been relatively low since he got into trouble with his bosses at the civil service and who once said of the now dead Al Qaeda mastermind Anwar Al Awlaki, “I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”

Which does explain why many are concerned at the final name of the list of speakers: Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali. Some are worried that by attending she will be giving what they consider to be an event organised by front organisations for Jamaat e Islami a moderate and mainstream veneer. Some think she is being used, that she’s being set up. Others say she is being hypocritical: that she should not be engaging with what is largely an IFE event when they opposed her becoming an MP.

I’ve spoken to Rushanara about this and her position is quite clear: she is the constituency MP, a fellow MP is attending, she has nothing to gain by going, but that it is important to engage in debate and challenge “any intolerable views”.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for neighbouring Poplar and Limehouse, takes a different view: he would never attend events with many of these people.

I can understand Rushanara’s view and I think I’d like to go along to the debate and listen to the views.

The thing is, I’d also like to take my friend. She’s female. I’d like to sit next to her so we can discuss together. But we won’t be able to because the event will be segregated. Maybe that’s how Broken Britain will stop the riots.

***
habibi adds: here is Rushanara Ali on a notorious home for “intolerable views” – the East London Mosque:

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “[The ELM / LMC] is a unique and special institution, and I am very fortunate that it is in my constituency. I want to say how pleased I am that the Muslim community, which has had a long presence in this country, has built this institution. It is a credit to Britain and the British Muslim community.

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