Exactly what kind of message is that expected to send to Britons in general, and to the Vast Majority of Moderate Muslims who probably ought to be outraged at this sort of thing?
You may want to read this one sitting down — especially the part about the Muslim Safety Forum sharing offices with the Islamic Forum of Europe. An update on this story. “Police Muslim forum headed by Islamic extremist,” by Andrew Gilligan for the Telegraph, July 24 (thanks to Twostellas):
An Islamic extremist who has described al-Qaeda as a “myth” and justified the killing of British troops in Iraq has been chosen as the main link between the Metropolitan Police and the Muslim community.
Scotland Yard will now face pressure to renounce Azad Ali, the new chair of the Muslim Safety Forum, which is recognised by the Met under a formal written agreement as “the principal body in relation to Muslim community safety and security”.
The deal says that the Met will “use the MSF as a consultation body to help formulate policy or practice”. Mr Ali was the founding chair of the MSF in 2006, but left that job in 2008 and resigned entirely from the group last year after publicity over his extremist comments. Last week, he was quietly reappointed as its chairman.
Reappointed by whom?
Mr Ali is a senior official of the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which works, in its own words, to create an Islamic state under sharia law in Europe. The IFE and the MSF share the same offices.
He has previously praised a key mentor of Osama bin Laden. Earlier this year, he was filmed by an undercover reporter from Channel 4’s Dispatches stating: “Democracy, if it means not implementing the sharia, of course nobody agrees with that.”
When the documentary was aired, Mr Ali attacked the 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?”
Mr Ali’s comments about terrorism were made on his official blog on the IFE website. Earlier this year, he lost a libel action against a newspaper which reported them. The judge, Mr Justice Eady, said that Mr Ali “was indeed taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified”, describing his claim as “bound to fail” and having an “absence of reality”.
Patrick Mercer, a Conservative MP and counterterrorism expert, said: “It beats me why the police should want to take the advice of this man. They should have nothing to do with him. I know for a fact that there are just as knowledgeable members of the Muslim community who do not share his subversive views.”