Khalid Mahmood is an unremarkable character. However, this man has, at every major policy level implication regarding the Muslim minority, by and large taken the neoconservative line against and to the detriment of, the Muslim minority. Born in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and a graduate from UCE Birmingham (not to be confused with University of Birmingham) in engineering, Mahmood was elected as a Labour MP on 2001 for the Perry Bar (Birmingham seat).
Anti-Muslim Policy Support
His voting choices on critical motions which have impacted the Muslim minority are worth an analysis as they indicate towards an excessive “Uncle Tommery” towards neocon domestic and foreign policies.
Mahmood was absent when voting against the motions for the Iraq war. In a recent radio interview on Unity FM, he claimed he was in hospital. The only problem is that looking at the voting motions, he was absent on all critical motions (on four separate days spread across six months) at which he could have rejected. Furthermore, Mahmood has never really come out to condemn the Iraq invasion, perhaps to keep both the Muslim community of Birmingham at bay and keep his neocon masters (Policy Exchange for instance) happy at the same time. On the question of the necessity of the Iraq Investigation, of the sixteen possibly motions over the course of six years, for two he was absent, and for the remainder motions he voted very strongly against such investigations. Why would Mahmood want to delay an inquiry to a war which resulted in 500,000 Iraqi deaths? If anything it is another way of minimising government scrutiny and opposing the principle of government accountability to the people.
However his erosion and opposition to democratic principles, especially with regards to the Muslim minority, does not stop there. Mahmood has consistently voted strongly for the anti-terror laws which have ripped up human rights and the habeas corpus. At everyone opportunity he has followed the neoconservative line of opposing human rights wherever possible. For instance, in the motion to reject the House of Lords amendment which explicitly stipulated the necessity for compliance with human rights obligations, specifically Article 6 Right to Fair Trial, Mahmood voted in favour of the removal of this amendment.
In what can only be regarded as an extreme obsession in doing away with human rights, Khalid Mahmood even voted for the motion of extending detention of a suspect without charge to 90 days from 28.
Only towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, in a sudden policy switch on Syria from supporting and arming rebels to changing the narrative to “Islamist” blowback, the government and police have been hounding Muslim charities, humanitarian aiders and even Muslim mothers. However, from amongst the first people to talk about the as-yet-unverified-claims of “Islamist radicalisation” of youth, albeit in a slightly altered form was Khalid Mahmood. In 2012 BBC reported that,
Mr Mahmood said the situation around Syria reminded him of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
“I am extremely concerned at the moment because I see similar things to what happened during the initial stages of the Afghanistan war where we were supporting the mujahideen against the Russians,” he said.
The MP also fears there could be a security risk from people returning to the UK after fighting in Syria who may have been trained and “been brainwashed by some of the leaders out there”.
What would one expect when you are attending meetings on PREVENT held by “experts” from the Henry Jackson Society. Of course Mahmood ignored the fact that, in his comparison example (mujahideen fighting in Russia), there were no “blowbacks”. In fact one of them (Usama Hasan) swung completely the other way and became part of the narrative against the Muslim minority!
Mahmood thus, is in fact one of the first to contribute to the discourse which has resulted in the thwarting of the ethical humanitarian response against the brutal Assad regime. It has exasperated the categorisation of the civil war in Syria from an Internal Armed Conflict (and thereby subject to the Geneva Convention) to terrorism.
Rings of Steel
Back in 2010, news broke out in Birmingham that under the premise of combatting “burglary and crime”, “rings-of-steel” had been set up around Muslim majority areas of Birmingham tracking the movements of residents. They consisted of over 200 cameras, including automatic numberplate recognition cameras, 64 of which were classed as “covert”. This programme, euphemistically named Project Champion, had been funded with counter-terrorism money with approval from MI5 and Home Office. After a campaign by residents of the affected areas, the cameras were eventually removed.
When three individuals were arrested on terror charges, Mahmood used it as an opportunity to justify Project Champion and called on it to be re-implemented. To date, his human-rights violating calls have fallen on deaf ears in Birmingham. Of course he ignored the fact that the arrests he was using as justification were based off investigations without the intrusive, Big Brother-esque surveillance cameras. On top of this, his call was tantamount to a justification of ethnic and religious profiling as the cameras were specifically set up in Muslim majority areas. This would not only unsettle the mind of every upright, reasonable and conscionable human (a description which is sadly not applicable to Mahmood), but it would violate international law.
Of course Mahmood has in the past attempted to justify Muslim profiling in opposition to… Maajid Nawaz! In fact Mahmood’s ridiculous levels of blind obedience to neoconservatism led him to call Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam apologists for extremism.
Mahmood and the “Trojan Horse” Plot
Of late he has joined the cacophony of voices, without substantive evidence and in-line with the neocon Government-architected hyperbole which has been riddled with procedural short-comings and bias, and has placed the Muslim minority of Birmingham under the spotlight. Mahmood has been pushing the Sufi/Salafi divide which has been the strategy employed by neocon policies and organisations such as the Sufi Muslim Council and Radical Middleway in the past. According to a report earlier this month,
Mr Mahmood told the Mail said he wanted a thorough investigation and claimed people running some city schools were Salafis – hard-line Muslims – who may be ‘‘trying to import their views into classrooms and the day to day running of the school.
“But the majority of kids are Sunni mainstream Muslims,’’ he added. “It is an attempt at indoctrination.”
With such dangerous – not to mention patently false – comments, one would expect this to come from someone like Michael Gove or perhaps Quilliam. In order to understand Mahmood’s statements, one has to analyse the root of his sectarianist understanding. His mentality is tied to a simplisitc cultural understanding of “Sunnis” and “Wahabis”. By highlighting “mainstream Sunnis” and “Salafis”, Mahmood is bringing this cultural understanding of extreme sectarianism to the politics of the UK. Theologically, Salafis and Sunnis are the same thing, with Salafis being an orthodox Sunni school. But this of course does not sit with Mahmood’s neocon friends in the government, nor his intellect for that matter. Shockingly, recently he even supported known Muslim-hater of the Ismaili religion, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and regurgitated the “Wahabi” takeover myth.
Mahmood the Possible Root of “Trojan Horse”
Gove and Mahmood have history. A history which points to Mahmood as one of the roots of this Trojan Horse plot. Back in 2010, during the days of the ideological, neocon imposition of Sufis being the government-friendly, peaceful “mainstream” Muslims, Michael Gove announced that there were “genuine dangers” in Birmingham which had been targeted by “Islamic extremists” trying to infiltrate the education system. He declared that he had been working with Mahmood to “counter the threat”. The method of countering was having workshops which can only be tantamount to brainwashing of children into a particular sect: they taught students about Sufi music. According to Mahmood,
“[T]he aim was to teach young people about the true nature of Islam and counter the false impression they might get from extremists who deliberately target students.”
If Mahmood could, with government approval, impose a particular ideology on Muslims, what moral ground does the DfE or Ofsted have to investigate schools if the parents themselves who are of different Islamic understanding choose to become governors and get involved in the development of their child’s education? This picking and choosing of one minority over another minority violates international norms related to minority rights and is deeply repugnant. The Human Rights Council-authorised Sixth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, in their recommendations clearly stated that there should be a recognition of variances of within a minority:
The diversity that exists within religious minority groups must also be recognized. The rights of every single member of such minority groups must be respected fully. (A/HRC/FMI/2013/3, 26–27, November 2013, para. 13)
Not only does such opportunist highlighting of the simplistic “Sufi/Salafi” divide in political arena violate this recommendation it highlights the grotesque nature of neoconservatism in their wanton pursuance of the divide and conquer policy, in flagrant violation of international norms.
Returning to Mahmood, he boldly declared that he was working with Gove and Theresa May, the government-certified extremist. In short then, this fabricated school-takeover hyperbole has been hatched in cahoots with the neocons before, although with less publicity as there is now. And with Gove having successfully instigated the coup of the Department of Education and compromised the Ofsted, all the tools, including the sycophantic Mahmood, are at his disposal to perpetuate the mass-hysteria at the expense of the Muslim minority and hard work of the schools of Birmingham.
The above analysis points to Mahmood being the causal-link at the most and a major driver of the Trojan Horse plot at the very least.
Mahmood then, has a history of supporting his neocon masters. He has by and large toed the line of the neocons, be it national or foreign policy. Recently, he even wrote a letter to Gove asking him to encourage teachers who previously worked at the schools (read: disgruntled employees) to come out and safely give evidence. The fact that Mahmood is an advisor to the anti-Muslim, Henry Jackson Society whose Associate Director is the Muslim-hater neocon extremist Douglas Murray, speaks volumes about his neocon-serving capabilities and his credibility.
There is so much I have left out on this man. From his support of all things anti-Muslim and anti-human rights to him giving oxygen to hatemongers like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Michael Gove and the Henry Jackson Society, Khalid Mahmood is a danger to the Muslim minority as well as Britain herself. People of Aston and Perry Bar, please do not vote for this Uncle Tom again.