Censored at ‘Comment is Free’: Information about pro-Islamist sympathies of CiF contributors

As I observed the last time I commented on a CiF piece by Wajahat Ali, the commentator plays the Islamophobia card so liberally that he even characterized the U.S. Government’s prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) as an example of anti-Muslim racism.

Far from a racist witch hunt, the FBI prosecution of HLF for the “charity” group’s ties to terrorism resulted in five convictions – including “conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization (Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood), providing material support to a foreign terrorist, and conspiracy to commit money laundering”.

The case was dubbed the “largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history”.

Ali can be seen here contributing essays to the English website of the Muslim Brotherhood. One such essay included, in the “related article” section beneath an Ali piece, an essay titled “Israel is Effecting Holocaust in Gaza“. 

For those unaware of the MB, you can see the group’s spiritual leader, Sheik Yousuf al-Qaradawi, in a released WikiLeaks cable, asking Allah to kill every last Jew on earth.

Undaunted, CiF again commissioned Ali to opine on American Islamophobia, in “Lowe’s pulls TV ads – and gives a Christmas gift to Target et all“, Dec. 14, on the decision by the American retail chain to pull its advertising from TLC’s reality TV show “All-American Muslim”.

While Lowe’s decision certainly seems, on the face of it, entirely unjustifiable, it’s reasonable to question why CiF would choose someone affiliated with the MB to opine on bigotry in the U.S. – especially while not revealing the author’s Islamist sympathies.

Here’s one comment left by a reader beneath the line of Ali’s commentary.


14 December 2011 1:31PM



I absolutely agree that it is absurd and obnoxious to withdraw advertising from All-American Muslim: a show which follows very integrated and largely non practicing Muslims in America.

A stupider or nastier decision it would be hard to find.

HOWEVER, I’m very concerned by your own politics. Here is an article you wrote in the Guardian a couple of years ago, slamming the successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation

The HLF trial uncovered a significant network of funding, propagandising and political fronts for Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood in the USA. Those fronts were explicitly set up for two purposes:

1. To demolish the Oslo peace initiatives; and

2. The secure Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood leadership of US Muslim community politics.

One of the most remarkable pieces of evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial was this document, entitled “On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.” :

The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

These Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood fronts included some organisations which I understand you’ve been involved with yourself.

Now look. Most people here will stand up against rabble rousing and bigotry towards Muslims. However, it really does not help to have the case against Muslim-bating made by somebody with your politics.

CiF moderator Isabella Mackie (who, for those unaware, is Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger’s daughter) was none too pleased, writing to the heterodox commenter:

A lot of off topic comments here. The article is about an American TV programme, an American TV channel, and an American family organisation. All the comments about the Muslim brotherhood etc will be removed.

Our commenter responded to Mackie’s warning:


14 December 2011 4:45PM

Response to IsabellaMackie, 14 December 2011 4:22PM



I really wouldn’t recommend deleting the comment in which I discuss the wisdom of commissioning an article, attacking anti-Muslim bigotry, written by a writer who appears to have been a Muslim Brotherhood activist, and who previously wrote an article attacking the US Government for prosecuting the Holy Land Foundation for terrorist fundraising.

Do you not remember the Dilpazier Aslam/Hizb ut Tahrir affair?

The Guardian commissioned a writer who was linked to Hizb ut Tahrir, but didn’t disclose his extreme politics. Eventually, the Guardian dismissed Mr Aslam, paid him compensation, and put up a correction.

Now look. It plainly is relevant to this article, that the person who has written it has a background in a Muslim Brotherhood group, and has previously attacked the prosecution of Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas linked terrorist fundraising.

In fact, it is highly relevant to a very important point: namely, “are people with a background in Islamist politics best placed to campaign against anti-Muslim hatred?”

My view, and that of a lot of other opponents of bigotry and discrimination, is that they hinder the fight against anti-Muslim hatred.

Shortly after this exchange, these comments were deleted, and the commenter banned.

What this commenter was pointing out, which evidently runs afoul of ‘community standards’ at CiF, is that proponents or defenders of militant Islam (a movement whose ideology is based on hate and intolerance towards Jews and all non-believers) have absolutely no moral authority when taking a stand against racism.

A genuinely liberal newspaper would understand this painfully obvious and intuitive truth.

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