Harun Khan, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), likes to strike an aggrieved innocent pose. He has been at the forefront of the MCB’s new campaign for an “inquiry” into “Islamophobia” in the Conservative party, offering words like these:
We have long spoken out and proactively challenged terrorism and extremism, as have British Muslims across the country.
The reality of Islamophobia is that Muslims and the Muslim Council of Britain have to deal with the smear of extremism even though they have clearly and consistently condemned violence perpetrated by people who claim to do this in the name of our religion.
Oh dear, Harun, oh dear.
On the MCB website, Khan proudly states this that he is “a management committee member at my local mosque, Redbridge Islamic Centre”.
Would that be the Redbrige Islamic Centre (RIC) that hosted the terrorist cheerleaders of Cage earlier this year? Why, yes, it would.
That should help people to understand why the mosque is on the security radar. As Al-Jazeera reported back in 2014:
Shakur Rahman, an imam at the Redbridge Islamic Centre in east London, told Al Jazeera that he and other mosque officials had been regularly visited by Prevent officers voicing concerns about invited speakers and other events.
“We have people claiming to be Special Branch [SO15] coming in and demanding a meeting with the imam and saying: ‘If you do not comply we are going to make your life difficult,'” Rahman said.
Let’s take a look at a few more episodes in the record of Mr Khan’s mosque.
Ismail Menk is a preacher from Zimbabwe. He is an enthusiastic supporter of brutal sharia punishments – he grins when speaking about chopping off hands and feet – and has the most crude and harsh words for homosexuals and pop stars.
He delivered the Friday sermon at the RIC just last month.
An influential imam has lost a libel action against the BBC after a judge ruled he had promoted violence.
London-based Shakeel Begg sued after being accused on the Sunday Politics show of espousing extreme beliefs.
The judge said Lewisham Islamic Centre’s chief imam had hidden his true views behind a cloak of respectability.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said he “clearly promotes and encourages violence in support of Islam and espouses a series of extremist Islamic positions”.
You can read the full Shakeel Begg judgment here. It is damning.
A mosque that has no time for extremists would never welcome Mr Begg. The Redbridge Islamic Centre is no such mosque. Begg spoke there this year and has made a number of appearances in earlier years. In fact, he served as the mosque’s regular imam from 2009 to 2011.
Ibtihal Bsis is another noted extremist. She was welcomed at the RIC in March 2018:
She was caught out quite badly by the BBC in 2015. As the then anti-extremist campaigner Sara Khan rightly notes in the BBC report, Bsis’s divisive rhetoric is one of the “push factors” helping to drive Muslims into the arms of the terrorists of Islamic State.
Bsis is reportedly a member of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. You can see her suggesting that Islamic State is an American conspiracy in this Hizbi publication.
Haitham al-Haddad probably needs no introduction here. He is one of Britain’s most notorious hate preachers. If you don’t know him, try this tape, where he says even quiet apostates from Islam will be pursued and murdered.
So, is Haddad welcome at the RIC? Yes, of course.
Incidentally, the MCB “myth busting” page says this:
The Sharia does not permit or sanction acts of hatred or use of violence against any person on grounds of their belief or non-belief.
Perhaps Harun Khan could get that page updated?
Azad Ali, another proven extremist, is also welcome at the RIC. Here he is, billed alongside Shakeel Begg. Ali has since graduated from the Islamist agitation group Mend to Cage, a perfect place for a man who wants Muslims to pray for jihadis.
Asim Khan is currently an imam at the RIC. The mosque promotes him enthusiastically.
What does he think of lashing and stoning for premarital or extramarital sex? It’s a great idea.
There’s more to say about Asim Khan but it can wait.
So, who would want to be friendly with a political fraudster like Harun Khan? You know the answer.
Jeremy Corbyn with Harun Khan at the MCB “Leadership Dinner” in April 2018
Allegations of anti-Muslim bigotry should normally be taken seriously.
When they come from Islamist agitators, though, reach for a whole souk of salt.