Azad Ali is a British Muslim activist and a spokesman for the Islamic Forum of Europe. He was founding chair of the Muslim Safety Forum, is Vice-Chair of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and director of engagement at Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND). He has also been employed as an IT worker and civil servant for the Treasury.
Islamic Forum of Europe[edit | edit source]
Ali was community affairs co-ordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe, an offshoot of the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami. According to fascism and anti-fascism specialist Nigel Copsey of Teesside University, this brought Unite Against Fascism into disrepute as a group unconcerned with Islamic extremism.
Muslim Safety Forum[edit | edit source]
Ali was founding-chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum from 2006. While in that post, he became a "key member" of the Metropolitan Police's 'Communities Together Strategic Group', chaired by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rose Fitzpatrick, which met fortnightly to "oversee and review community reassurance and engagement measures" involving the Muslim community. Ali was also a member of the Kratos Review Group, to examine the Met's response to suicide bombings.
Ali left the post of chairman in 2008, then resigned entirely from MSF in 2009 after publicity over his comments. In July 2010, he was reinstated as MSF’s chairman.
Controversial views[edit | edit source]
In a 2008 IFE blog, Ali called al-Qaeda's Anwar Al-Awlaki "one of my favourite scholars and speakers".[unreliable source?] Ali has denied that the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the 2017 Westminster attack were terrorism.
In 2009, Ali was suspended as a civil servant in the Treasury after he praised Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, Osama bin Laden's key mentor, and wrote approvingly on his blog of Azzam's son saying that as a Muslim he is religiously obliged to kill British soldiers in Iraq. In the blog he also criticised the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband after the minister had condemned the Palestinian Muslim militant organisation Hamas for encouraging attacks on Israeli civilians. The exposé was by The Mail on Sunday, whom Ali unsuccessfully sued in 2010. Later that year, the Labour Party were accused by the opposition Conservatives of appearing with Ali to gain Muslim votes, after two Labour ministers, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, spoke at a campaign event with Ali. He used his speech to praise the Muslim militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Dispatches documentary[edit | edit source]
When a documentary on the Islamic Forum of Europe was made by the Channel 4 programme Dispatches in 2010, an undercover reporter filmed Ali saying "Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that." Ali later attacked the undercover reporter on the IFE's official radio station, saying: "We've got a picture of you and a lot more than you thought we had. We've tracked you down to different places. And if people are gonna turn what I've just said into a threat, that's their fault, innit?" Andrew Gilligan, who produced the documentary, has labelled Ali as an "Islamic fascist".
References[edit | edit source]
- "Muslim group with links to extremists boasts of influencing election". Telegraph.co.uk. 4 April 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- Copsey, Nigel. Anti-Fascism in Britain. Routledge. p. 216. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- Gilligan, Andrew (24 July 2010). "Police Muslim forum headed by Islamic extremist". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Gilligan, Andrew (1 March 2010). "Sir Ian Blair's deal with Islamic radical". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "IFE - Error 404". islamicforumeurope.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "UK civil servant says 26/11 not terror attack". The Indian Express.
- Ramzan, Iram (29 October 2017). "MPs ditch meeting with Muslim group Mend over Islamist claims". The Times. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "Extremist leads Muslim lobby group". The Times. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- Gardham, Duncan (12 July 2009). "Muslim who justified killing British troops back at Treasury". The Daily Telegraph.
- Luft, Oliver (2010-01-28). "'Kill British' blog man fails in MoS libel bid". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2015-02-21.
- Harper, Tom (31 January 2010). "Ministers slammed for speaking at meeting with Muslim who justified killing British troops". Daily Mail.
- Gilligan, Andrew (4 March 2010). "IFE: not harmless democrats". The Guardian.
- Gilligan, Andrew (29 February 2012). "Ken Livingstone's anti-fascist group appoints fascist as vice-chair". The Daily Telegraph.
[edit | edit source]
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