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CAGE events feature roster of extremists

This is a cross-post from Student Rights

The threat posed to the UK by British Muslims fighting in Syria and Iraq has seen increased activity by the government in recent months to challenge domestic extremism.

For the prisoner support group CAGE however this representsan ideological attack” on the Muslim community – with activists ‘criminalised because they care’ – and it is holding a number of events to highlight this.

Featuring some of the UK’s most notorious hate preachers, these events have already been promoted to students, and will likely continue to be so in the coming weeks.

CAGE itself has a history of supporting extremists, including its defence of the Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki in 2009, and the recent publication of convicted terrorist John Walker Lindh.

The group’s former director Moazzam Begg is currently awaiting trial for terrorism offences, while research director Asim Qureshi has been recorded claiming that:

…when we see the examples of our brothers and sisters, fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies…

We know that it is incumbent upon all of us to support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West”.

The events will also feature numerous members of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), including Jamal Harwood, Taji Mustafa, Reza Pankhurst, and Abdul Wahid.

Described as “target[ing] specific universities and colleges…with the objective of radicalising and recruiting students”, HT’s policies have called for the execution of apostates and reject democracy, claiming:

…whoever does not rule whatever Allah has revealed, denying Allah’s right to legislate, as is the case with those who believe in democracy, is a Kafir”.

Alongside the HT speakers, Hittin Institute (HI) head Uthman Lateef – who states “if we are teaching the way of life of…the kuffar, Allah will bring humiliation on us” – will also be appearing at several events.

He will be joined by fellow HI contributors Adnan Rashid, and Abdullah Al-Andalusi, who believesdemocracy, secularism, feminism, humanism, and freedom” are “blatantly un-Islamic concepts”.

Finally, speakers whose extreme views have seen them barred from events including Haitham Al-Haddad and Ibrahim Hewitt will speak, as will Wasim Kempson and Sulieman Ghani who have both called for the release of the convicted terrorist Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

CAGE’s efforts in assembling such a roster represent a significant mobilisation and show the determination of the group and its supporters to undermine opposition to Islamist extremism.

It also shows that, if the UK’s moderate civil society is to be successful in challenging that extremism, exposing divisive and damaging events like these must therefore be a priority.