Last week, Tommy Robinson and Rebel Media challenged Quilliam after one of their researchers wrote an article in the Guardian. The inescapable conclusion that reasonable people would draw from Julia Ebner’s article, “The far right thrives on global networks. They must be fought online and off” is that Tommy Robinson is a far-right extremist and even a white supremacist, or at the very least he is knowingly leading these people. She drew in others, such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, with further slurs and unfounded accusations.
The video of Tommy going into Quilliam’s offices to ask what evidence they have to back up the outrageous claim that he is a white supremacist has gone viral. It lead to a 12-minute segment on the BBC’s flagship Daily Politics show on Thursday between Tommy and Quilliam’s Chief Executive, Haras Rafiq. Veteran journalist Tim Marshall, who weighs in at the end of the segment, had a lot of sympathy for Tommy Robinson’s framing of the debate in class terms: because of Tommy’s “working class voice” and background, people don’t take what he’s saying seriously. He castigated Tommy mildly for barging into the office, but he reprimanded Quilliam’s chief executive:
“Your guys need a bit of media training, don’t put your hand in the camera.”
So who was the primary challenger of Tommy at the Quilliam office, the one who appears to have physically man handled and even broken a camera?
Adam Deen is his name, and we know from his Quilliam biography that he used to associate with Islamic “extremists.” He joined Quilliam in November 2015, but claims to have begun his journey away from aggresive caliphate Islam some years before:
Since leaving Al-Muhajiroun over a decade ago, Adam has continued his gradual journey away from extremism and subsequently founded the Deen Institute in 2011. He has totally recanted his commitment to the Islamist ideology, and now entirely distances himself from extremism of all kinds. He will play a major part in the expansion of Quilliam’s outreach and theological studies department.
This glosses over his intervening history. which seems to be:
- Short stint with Al-Muhajiroun
- Joined MPACUK
- Muslim Debate Initiative
- Deen Institute (his own thing)
- Quilliam Foundation
MPACUK, where Adam worked after Al-Muhajiroun, are absolutely fine with Islamic terrorists who target Jews in Israel. According to their present website, their only two goals are “Reviving the fard (obligation) of Jihad” — the “peaceful” kind of Jihad apparently, and “Anti-Zionism,” which they further expand:
MPACUK oppose the racist political ideology of Zionism and aim to counter the influence of the Zionist lobby. Openly available evidence demonstrates a Zionist agenda to dominate the Middle East and push a ‘clash of civilisations’ between Islam and ‘The West’. We therefore believe that anti-Zionism is a strategic priority to counter the greatest and most urgent threat facing the Ummah.
The kind of “anti-Zionism” practiced by MPACUK has always been close to the new UK working definition of antisemitism. It easily falls into the category of “I’m calling out the loons who make Israel bashing the mother of all virtues,” as Maajid Nawaz, founder of Quilliam, wrote recently. Interesting how a self-defined Muslim group in the UK is so totally obsessed with Israel at the exclusion of any other issues facing Muslims in the UK.
It would appear that Adam had stopped working with MPACUK on their “peaceful” Jihad and formed his own organisation by 2011. But he brought their Israel-hating views came with him. By 2014, when Israel was forced to respond to a massive increase in rocket fire from Gaza coincident with the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish children, Adam was quite a busy tweeter:
— Adam Deen (@adamdeen) July 24, 2014
Yes, Adam, there is copious and unimpeachable evidence that Hamas used human shields in 2014 (UN report) and at all times before. And, unfortunately, when human shields are used, if a legitimate military target is important enough (and only the army fighting a war gets to decide this), then the very unfortunate deaths of children are justified, no matter how regrettable they are. What we do know is that Israel takes extraordinary steps to minimise all civilian casualties, to the point that other armies are nervous of being held to the almost unrealistically high standards Israel holds itself to.
“@RaniaKhalek: How many Palestinian families does Israel need to obliterate to be prosecuted for genocide?” All of them.
— Adam Deen (@adamdeen) August 25, 2014
Sam Harris dealt with false accusations of genocide quite easily:
We know that the Israelis aren’t genocidal because it is well within their power to commit genocide today, and they’re not doing it. That’s a very important difference.
I put it like this: when Palestinian children die under IDF fire, it was never the intention. When Jewish children die at the hands of Palestinian terrorists, it was the intention. Intentions and goals are the difference between murder and killing, but if your value system is Islamic, there are many acts that Jews or Christians will call murder, but that Sharia will consider justified.
This is an interesting tweet that purports to shows a beautifully framed example of precision bombing and demolition of a specific family home in Gaza.
— Adam Deen (@adamdeen) July 11, 2014
These types of video are always remarkable for what they prove, in direct contrast to what their promoters say they prove. Adam Deen asserts that “this is how Israel murders whole families.” So ask yourself this: how did the cameraman come to be zoomed in so tight and at exactly the right moment that you can even see the bomb arriving from the sky!
Obviously the location and time of this strike was not a surprise to those watching; all families should have been out of the area long before. There would have been phone calls from the IDF (a friend of mine is the commander who oversaw calls like that). This may well have been a location where a small warning bomb was dropped first: the “roof knock” bomb. In fact, those watching clearly have enormous respect and faith in the ability of the IDF to put a bomb exactly where they say they will. This is as far from indiscriminate fire as it is possible to get.
— Adam Deen (@adamdeen) July 30, 2014
It’s always interesting when people play the casualty figure equivalence game. So many Palestinians died but only a tiny number of Jews died: there must be disproportionate or indiscriminate killing going on. My usual retort is to ask if Israel were to present 350 Jewish children to Islamic jihadis such as Hamas for easy slaughter, would Hamas take the shot? Would evening up the numbers make the war “fair”?
The reality is very different. Obviously there is a huge discrepancy between how Israel protects its civilians and how Hamas purposefully endangers them. My own apartment in Tel Aviv includes a mandated bomb shelter, as all apartments built in the last few years in Israel must have. No such luxury is afforded Gaza’s residents. It is also the case that we don’t hide military structures under civilians. Hamas operates out of a bunker underneath Shifra Hospital. Intermingling a civilian hospital with military command and control is a top-tier war crime.
Additionally, Adam was quoting figures provided by the “Gaza Health Ministry,” which is basically Hamas. Free reporting in Gaza is impossible, and all information comes from Hamas. It’s also a well-known issue that during Israeli military action in Gaza, almost nobody dies of natural causes. Despite this, even the information put out by Hamas contains the clues for us to deduce that by far and away the number one casualty of Israeli strikes is fighting-age men. We proved this during the fighting, and it was confirmed afterward by academic studies. On July 26, 2014 (a few days before Adam’s tweet), Israellycool deduced the following purely from the Hamas lists of names and ages of those they reported killed:
- The highest demographic category of those killed being young males of fighting age (18-28) – 32% (73% x 44%).
- Over 42% of those killed have been males of age 18-38 (i.e including others who could very well be combatants).
- When compared to the overall population of Gaza, a disproportionately high percentage of young to middle age males have been killed.
- Despite comprising approximately 50% of the population, the percentage of women killed is 21%.
- Despite comprising approximately 50% of the population, the percentage of children under 14 killed is 15%.
Even the BBC ended up using a similar analysis and coming to similar conclusions (in direct contradiction of most of their earlier reporting of countless civilian casualties). It should be noted that Palestinian and other Arab casualties in Syria over the last few years have been many times higher with only a tiny fraction of the international attention.
Obviously, for Israelis, every child killed on either side, is a tragedy: equally obviously for Hamas and other Islamic terrorist supporters, every dead Arab child is a publicity asset for people like Adam Deen to work with. He also tweeted out an explicit image of a dead child but I won’t embed that. Nothing moves hearts and mind like photos of dead infants.
Plenty of people have noticed the disparity between Adam’s views and those stated more recently by Maajid Nawaz. Some have asked him on Twitter about it:
— Catherine Heseltine (@cath_heseltine) November 5, 2015
He’s not seemed keen to answer these questions over the years. In fact, Adam has shown remarkable self-control, never once mentioning Israel in a tweet since July 26, 2014. He hasn’t gone back and deleted these tweets (I hope he doesn’t, but obviously I have screenshots) but he has also never, on Twitter at any rate, seemed to reverse these positions or at least clarify that he’s gained any understanding of why Israel might have been defending itself from the kind of Islamic jihad that he claims to have stopped espousing.
As it appears that Quilliam’s overt desire to be even-handed means that they devote as much time to countering the “far-right” or white supremacists, up to the point of falsely ascribing those slurs widely to those who do not deserve them, they are making exactly the same false equivalence between terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and unfortunate civilian casualties when Israel defends itself.
Without any new evidence to the contrary, how can we conclude Adam Deen isn’t still an anti-Israel extremist?