Another adherent to radical Islam welcomed by the Guardian

Riazatt Butt, CiF’s Religious Affairs correspondent, pens a weekly column called “Divine Dispatches”  in the Belief Section of CiF, which represents a round-up of sorts on religious news in the UK and around the world.  

While the latest edition of the column, on Oct. 6th, curiously omitted any mention that the following day would be Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, even more worth noting is the fact that filling in for Butt this week was Nadiya Takolia of iEngage.

Who is iEngage?

Well, they claim to help empower and encourage British Muslims within local communities to be more actively involved in British media and politics. 

However, iEngage’s idea of politically empowering Muslims has a very narrow and decidedly illiberal focus. Indeed, the group puts a significant amount of energy into opposing moderate and liberal Muslims , while defending radical Islamist organisations.

Per Harry’s Place:

“The nature of iEngage is demonstrated by its support for the East London Mosque, London Muslim Centre and Islamic Forum Europe: three bodies with a worrying history of extreme politics, which have repeatedly hosted hate preachers and supporters of terrorism.”

“ENGAGE has repeatedly attacked, as Islamophobes, any journalist or Muslim who criticises the East London Mosque, the London Muslim Centre or the Islamic Forum Europe.”

“The Department of Communities and Local Government has identified the links between the South Asian Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the East London Mosque.”

“The East London Mosque twice hosted the Al Qaeda-aligned preacher at the East London Mosque/London Muslim Centre. Awlaki has been identified by the 9/11 Commission as the spiritual adviser of two of the 9/11 hijackers. He has been active in recruiting Muslims to fight military jihad since the mid 1990s, and now has been connected to various further terrorist acts, including those of Major Nidal Hasan, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and the attack by Roshonara Choudhry on Stephen Timms.”

Added Lucy Lips at HP:

“This was the problem with iEngage all along. It is an organisation which is very closely tied to specific Islamist political parties, which both defends those political parties and associated hate preachers, while attacking Muslim liberals in the most personal terms. Indeed, iEngage operates from an office within the Islam Channel: a tv station which has beencensured by OFCOM [ for advocating marital rape, violence against women, and promoting violent extremist views], and whose CEO Mohammed Ali Harrath is both a Trustee of iEngage, and aveteran of the Tunisian Islamist extremist scene.”

In 2010, iEngage was appointed as the secretariat to a new UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia.  As The Telegraph’s Andrew Gilligan noted at the time:

 “Islamist sympathisers yesterday established a key bridgehead in Parliament….

iEngage is an organisation of Islamist sympathisers which has consistently defended fundamentalist organisations such as the East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum of Europe. It routinely attacks all criticism of them as “Islamophobic.”

It attacked the BBC’s recent Panorama documentary on racist Muslim schools – showing that some children are being taught anti-Semitism and Sharia punishments – as a “witch-hunt.” 

As Standpoint reported:

“Two of IEngage’s directors are men with a long background in Islamist politics.

Iqbal Sacranie was General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) until June 2006 after which time Mohammed Abdul-Bari took over — he is, of course, also the current chairman of the East London Mosque.

The MCB’s commitment to reactionary politics is well-known. Under Sacranie’s stewardship the group also boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day regularly and opposed the ‘glorification of terrorism’ clause in the Terrorism Act 2006.”

In July, 2011, after UK MPs voted overwhelmingly to drop iEngage as the secretariat for the all-party parliamentary group on Islamophobia, Inayat Bunglawala complained bitterly in a post at his personal blog, titled, “Israel lobby gloats over removal of ENGAGE from APPG on Islamophobia”, and dismissed evidence of iEngage’s support for militant Islam.

Bunglawala helped create iEngage, has acted as their CEO, and is an Advisor on Policy and Research for the group.

Of course, Inayat Bunglawala is also an Islamist who believes that the the BBC and the rest of the media are “Zionist controlled.” 

Bunglawala is also a frequent contributor to Comments is Free.

As Israelinurse wrote on these pages back in March about Bunglawala and the problem of Islamism in the UK:

“British Islamism is able to function and grow largely unfettered within broader society in part because of the fact that many of its proponents are British born, educated, eloquent people who understand the system and know how to use it to their advantage. Without such attributes, they would have been unable to achieve the level of entryism into government-funded think-tanks and commissions, universities, community organisations, political bodies, media and other mainstream institutions.”

As with CiF’s licensing of Bunglawala, the decision by the Guardian to hand over a non-sectarian column devoted to reporting fairly on all religious happenings in the UK to  iEngage’s Nadiya Takolia demonstrates again how proponents for militant Islam continue, under the veneer of human rights and tolerance, to avoid being held responsible for their reactionary, racist, and violent political agenda. 

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