Rumours have circulated for some time that journalist Martin Bright was researching an exposé of Mockbul Ali, the foreign office’s adviser on Muslim Affairs. Ali’s sin was to have prepared an accurate briefing on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, which underlined the latter’s role as a force of moderation in the Muslim world – see (pdf) here. Clearly, from Bright’s perspective – he was the author of the Observer article boosting Panorama’s witch-hunt of the MCB – Ali was someone who needed to be discredited.
This week’s New Statesman (5 December 2005) contains the results of Bright’s labours – and a pretty damp squib it turns out to be. Ali’s unit at the foreign office apparently co-authored a PowerPoint presentation in which the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami were described (entirely accurately) as “reformist” organisations. We are also informed that “Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, has told the NS she intends to investigate Ali’s role in drawing up government policy towards British Muslims”.
Yes, well you can see why Ellman might not be too happy about Ali’s role. It was she who headed the witch-hunt of Dr al-Qaradawi during his visit to London in July 2004 and called on the home secretary to ban him. In 2003 she took advantage of parliamentary privilege (see here) to attack MAB:
“It is time that the spotlight fell on the Muslim Association of Britain, particularly the key figures, such as Azzam Tamimi, Kamal el Helbawy, Anas Al-Tikriti and Mohammed Sawalha. All of them are connected to the terrorist organisation Hamas. The Muslim Association of Britain itself is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – an extremist fundamentalist organisation founded in Egypt in 1928, and the spiritual ideologue of all Islamic terror organisations. It is militantly anti-Semitic and always has been.”
Yup, that’s the same Anas Altikriti who’s currently in Iraq on behalf of MAB fighting for the release of hostages held by terrorists.
For Yusuf Smith’s comments on the NS piece, see Indigo Jo Blogs, 5 December 2005
For Osama Saeed’s comments, see Rolled Up Trousers, 6 December 2005