UK Stealth Islamists Turned Counter Extremism Advisors Blame Israel For Muslim Violence Against Jews
January 8, 2009
Gaza conflict fuelling anger in UK, Muslims warn Brown
Representatives say Israeli government's use of 'disproportionate force' has 'revived extremist groups'
Anger within Britain's Muslim communities over the Gaza conflict has reached "acute levels of intensity" that could have repercussions for national security, leading Muslims will warn Gordon Brown today.
In a letter to the prime minister, representatives of Muslim organisations will say the Israeli government's use of "disproportionate force" to combat threats to its security has "revived extremist groups" and "empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict".
The letter, a copy of which can be read on the Guardian's Comment is Free website, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/08/open-letter-gaza-gordon-brown-israel [PASTED BELOW] also says that the "current, partisan and simplified narrative" emanating from the White House is of "serious and direct harm" to relations between the UK, North America and Arab countries.
Among the signatories are Dr Usama Hasan, imam of Al-Tawhid mosque, London, Dilwar Hussain, head of the policy research centre at the Islamic Foundation, Zareen Roohi Ahmed from the British Muslim Forum and Ed Husain, co-director of the anti-extremism thinktank the Quilliam Foundation. All are active in tackling extremism in the UK and overseas.
They say it is imperative for the UK to distance itself from the Bush government. The letter goes on: "We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its approach and to ensure the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction. We also believe the UK - bilaterally and as part of the EU - has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed."
The letter adds: "As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government's use of disproportionate force ... has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process."
Their intervention follows a meeting on Tuesday between Bill Rammell, foreign and commonwealth affairs minister, and 30 people drawn from Muslim organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain.
In what was said to be a testy meeting, representatives told Rammell the government's position on Gaza could provoke UK terrorist attacks. One of those present was Dr Hany el-Banna, youth worker and co-founder and president of the charity Islamic Relief.
He told the Guardian: "We are all working tirelessly to try and cool them down. I am telling them to change and bring something positive, but they see these images and they trigger extremist thoughts in the simplest individuals. Many millions of people will see these images in the media, what do you think the effect will be?
"The government is responsible for the country and its foreign policy. I don't want something to happen here."
Another participant in the discussion, Khurshid Drabu, said there was widespread concern about radicalisation. "What we are looking for is equality of treatment when international law is breached. When a Muslim country does that the weight of the world is on them, why does Israel have such impunity?"
A perceived double standard has alarmed the Young Muslims Advisory Group (YMAG), which the government launched last October to help prevent violent extremism. The group sent a letter to Brown this week saying government failure to condemn Israeli action against Palestinians was undermining efforts to reduce homegrown radicalisation.
The letter, first published in Muslim Youth, said: "We are in grave danger of sending a message to youth today that the mass murder of civilians can be justified if the right grievances are cited. In the current climate there is a real danger young people who witness the impotence of institutions that are supposed to be protecting innocent life will turn to other organisations in an effort to make their voices heard and the violence stop."
'We are witnessing a time of great danger'
Leading Muslim counter-extremism advisers urge Gordon Brown to hold Israel accountable for its attacks on Gaza
More than a dozen of the government's leading Muslim counter-extremism advisers have signed a joint letter to Gordon Brown to warn that Israeli actions in Gaza are damaging the British government's efforts to tackle religious extremism at home. The 14 signatories – which include several prominent moderate Muslim community leaders – say that while the British government should not alter its foreign policy in order to placate Islamist extremists, it should also avoid taking actions which will play into the hands of radicals.
Dear Gordon Brown
As friends of the UK government and firm allies in the government's efforts to tackle extremism at home and abroad, we write to express our acute concern about the possible repercussions of the serious on-going conflict in Gaza.
We wholeheartedly support your calls for an immediate and permanent
As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government's use of disproportionate force to combat threats to its security has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process.
We agree with your statement on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme (4 January 2009) that we are witnessing a time of great danger. We must do our utmost to prevent permanent damage to relations with Muslim-majority countries, and to work together to ensure such an escalation of violence does not happen again.
A strong transatlantic relationship has been of immense strategic value to the United Kingdom, but we now believe it is imperative that we make our differences and views clear. We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its current approach and to ensure that the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction. The current partisan and simplified narrative emanating from the White House is of serious and direct harm to relations between the UK, North America and Arab countries. It is also potentially undermining our national interests.
We also believe that the UK – bilaterally and as part of the EU – has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed. We believe the time has come to suspend the EU-Israel upgrade process until the present conflict has been brought to an end. The UK should make clear to Israel, publicly and privately, that genuine and lasting improvements in the occupied territories are a prerequisite for continued political support.
In view of the urgency of the situation, we would like to relay our concerns to you in person at your earliest convenience. It would provide us with an opportunity to subsequently inform our national and global networks of the UK government's efforts to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under the peace process and to ensure that effective negotiation triumphs over violence on all sides.
Dr Tahir Abbas
CC: Rt Hon David Miliband, foreign secretary
MIM: Ed Husain, co founder of the Quilliam Foundation a stealth Islamist organisation is cited in the article below saying that Muslims can't help but react violently to the Israeli actions in Gaza.
For more on Ed Husain see: "UK Self Proclaimed Ex Radical Ed Husain Exposed As Anti-Semitic Extremist" http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3788