As the world paused on Sunday to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks, much ink has been spilled over their legacy.
In Muhammed Abdul Bari's recent piece for the Huffington Post, he claims:
Almost all mainstream Muslim organisations were put in the dock. Fear of Islamism was used to hide other real issues: job losses, economic insecurity, the profligacy of bankers, and so forth ... Even 'moderates' were treated with suspicion - they could be viewed as part of the 'conveyor belt towards extremism'.
The hypocrisy is breath-taking. There is much Bari didn't tell you about himself and his friends.
Muhammed Abdul Bari is presently the chairman of the East London Mosque and a former chairman of an organisation called the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which is based in the mosque's London Muslim Centre. The IFE promotes extremism and aims to spread its influence through entryism. The IFE is closely connected to the political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). JI is the South Asian equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. It supports theocratic government and was complicit in the Bangladeshi genocide in the 1970s. The mosque's clear links to JI are outlined in this government report (pdf).
When the author, Salmon Rushdie, was knighted for his services to literacy, Bari told the Daily Telegraph that Rushdie's book of fiction, The Satanic Verses, "should have been pulped". Why is it that Bari's perception of freedom of speech only goes one way?
Under his leadership of the Muslim Council of Britain, Bari's organisation boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day, raising the spurious argument that: "It should be inclusive, commemorating all massacres.". Holocaust Memorial Day has, in fact, consistently commemorated a wide range of genocides. I'm sure readers of this blog will pick up on the irony that in the very same interview, Bari warned against Britain becoming like Nazi Germany.
Whilst Chairman of the East London Mosque, the Mosque gave a controversial Saudi hate preacher his own plaque (pdf). The Saudi hate preacher in question was Abdul Rahman al Sudais. Here is what Sudais thinks of Jewish people:
Read the history to know that yesterday's Jews are evil predecessors and today's Jews are worse successors. They an ingrate people, they altered God's words, worshipped calf, killed Messengers and denied their Messages. They are exiled people and the worst of mankind. Allaah cursed them and cast His wrath upon them. He turned some of them to monkeys and pigs and worshippers of creatures. They are worst in position and are astray from the right path.
History of Jews is full of deception, trickery, rebellion, oppression, evil and corruption. They always seek to cause mischief on the earth and Allaah loves not the mischief-makers.
When Londoners worried about this man's appearance at such a prominent mosque, the East London Mosque didn't attempt to rebuke any of the accusations made of hate-preaching, but simply chose to smear those concerned as "Islamophobes". To this day, Sudais has not retracted, nor apologised, for such ugly anti-semitism.
Under his leadership a string of hate preachers have been invited to speak in one way or another, including one who believes that Muslims should have the "desire to shed blood, to smash skulls and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah", another thinks that gender mixing is a sin punishable by death and one hate preacher who was so extreme, that even the Saudi royal family had to reign him in.
In another case, the Mosque and the associated London Muslim Centre hosted a homophobic presentation titled 'spot the fag'. The audience were asked riveting questions such as: 'Is the faggot Elton John? Put your hands up. Don't be shy, brothers, we're family here. And how many would say Tupac is the fag?'.
And when East London Mosque were asked to help in the organising of a 'Stop sex education (specifically homosexual sex education)' campaign, the Islamist activist involved proudly stated: "They [the authorities] are going to make sex education compulsory, no matter what. We've got a petition and, alhumduillah, East London Masjid said to us "Give us the petitions, we'll organise it, we'll do it and may Allah reward you for doing that".
In the same talk, the preacher called homosexuality an unacceptable 'lifestyle choice'. You can only imagine Mr Bari's rage if anyone on the Huffington Post had a history of calling worship of Islam as an 'unacceptable lifestyle choice'. Why does the tolerance only go one way?
In 2009, East London Mosque hosted Anwar al-Awlaki - al-Qaeda's chief ideologue and, now, de-facto leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Imagine that. Al-Qaeda in your mosque. Awlaki was featured in a pre-recorded video message to an event at the mosque's London Muslim Centre and also at a live Q&A session with the audience. Other speakers of the event included Khalid Yasin, an Islamist preacher who has been revealed as a source of inspiration for three men recently convicted of terrorism offences in Manchester, and his fellow extremists Murtaza Khan and Uthman Lateef.
When former Conservative MP, and Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, Paul Goodman complained about al-Awlaki's visit, Bari dismissed all concerns, saying "we found no evidence that the event was promoting hate". Take a look at the poster that was published to promote the event, the image appears to show a sinister caricature of the September 11th attacks on New York.
So when Muhammed Abdul Bari talks of overplaying the threat of extremism from Muslim communities he should be aware that his mosque and his connections are part of the problem in the first place.