My sources in Birmingham actually attended this event and confirm the statements of CAGE. I quote directly from what the person had to say. The attendee felt he was personally attacked by these “ridiculous comments” because he found the event confidence-inspiring:
“I actually attended thinking it as a community event, and looking at the number of people in attendance (there were a lot of people) the community considered it as an important community event also. We regarded it as a community event because the community in Birmingham is still sore from the Trojan Horse lies. The event came as a breath of fresh air, and instilled confidence. For the journalist to raise the “locking of the door” jest speaks more about the level of journalism at Telegraph. The fact that parts of the audience responded with laughter should be self-explanatory. This type of journalism is either uninformed or maliciously deliberate: if the Trojan Horse smears are anything to go by, I am inclined to perceive it’s the latter.”
My comment: the issues raised by the Telegraph certainly highlight one thing. Such a seriously strained effort to continuously smear CAGE, and those who support or associate with them, is a sign that the establishment and their mouthpiece hacks are getting desperate. This is really clutching at straws. It is a part of the effort to manage the perceptions of a failed counter-terror policy. And indeed, the wider society is beginning to recognise the indispensable democratic function CAGE is fulfilling, by holding to account the belligerent abuse of power wielded by fascist neocon Government.
A planned report by the Daily Telegraph into an alleged ‘CAGE-sponsored event’ held by the Muath Trust on April 25 and chaired by Raza Nadim is inaccurate, biased and misleading.
By building a story based on lies and comments taken out of context by parties unassociated with CAGE, the Telegraph is contributing to a witch hunt against the organisation, a move that should be seen as part of a broader assault on Muslim civil society by the right-wing establishment.
CAGE was approached by Deputy Investigations Editor Edward Malnick to answer questions in relation to the article, for which we were given a deadline of 1pm today.
While the Telegraph alleges that the event was sponsored by CAGE, this is inaccurate – CAGE did not organise the event, nor did we sponsor it. The article’s main assumption is false.
Most of the questions put to CAGE concerned alleged quotes ascribed to Mr Nadim, a well known activist in the community who is dedicated to educating people about the abuses of the security state. He is not a member of CAGE. Thus it would be more appropriate to direct these questions to Mr Nadim himself. CAGE asked Mr Nadim for comment and he forwarded the following:
“The manipulation of my words by The Telegraph is more telling of the Islamophobic racist nature of the paper than my world view.
To be lectured by the paper that pushed for illegal wars killing millions about moral conduct and responsible speech is the height of hypocrisy.“
This attack on CAGE is not surprising. We are now making a leading contribution to opposing and creating awareness around the continued erosion of the rule of law in the War on Terror. We have been very successful in exposing and undermining the government’s PREVENT policy. We have also been able to link the British government’s foreign and domestic policies as primary causes of political violence, as opposed to ideology.
CAGE does not support terrorism in any way. We advocate for due process and the rule of law as a means of ending the War on Terror. We stand against torture and detention-without-trial, and we stand for freedom of expression and association. We oppose the government’s PREVENT strategy as we believe a securitised approach will not prevent political violence, but rather encourage it.
We invite the Telegraph to come to visit us at our offices and sit with our staff and volunteers, there is no need to conduct a secret investigation which has resulted in the investigator presenting inaccurate facts in a malicious way. Our doors are open.
In the meantime, the Telegraph posited the following questions to CAGE, to which we have responded below:
Telegraph: At one point Mr Nadim asked for the doors of the hall to be locked, before inviting audience members to donate sums of up to £1,000 to Cage.
Why it was necessary to “lock” the doors, for a discussion about fundraising for Cage? Would you agree that this could give the impression what was about to take place was secret?
A widely advertised event where a journalist quite easily managed to gain a recording of the event for the press, could not have been less secret. This request by the lead fundraiser to lock the doors was a humorous dig at the audience – he was demanding that everyone in the hall stays inside and “doors are locked” so they can’t get away without donating. It was a humorous statement. Presenting it otherwise spins suspicion and lies.
We note that Cage’s bank accounts have been frozen amid concerns about its links with jihadists, and that earlier this year the Charity Commission told two charities to stop funding your organisation. In light of this, do you consider it appropriate for a charity to be carrying out for your organisation?
CAGE has no links to jihadists. Advocating for people who have been denied due process and not afforded a fair trial, does not mean that you accept whatever crimes they are alleged to have committed. CAGE stands for the principle of the rule of law. It is defamatory to allege links with jihadists.
Her Majesty’s Treasury confirmed that there are no concerns with CAGE. Furthermore, the Charity Commission may have acted outside its powers in demanding charities not fund CAGE. The High Court has granted us permission to get that decision judicially reviewed.
We are an advocacy organisation whose cause is an unpopular one with the prevailing government and its associate Charity Commission: we campaign for the rights of those adversely affected by the securitised policies that are part of the War on Terror. We believe that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, association, due process and a fair trial. We argue for an end to oppression and injustice and for a rational, dialogue-based approach for ending the War on Terror that recognises the rights of all.
During the event Mr Nadim introduced Moazzam Begg, and said: “Jihad is not extreme. Jihad is the greatest deed a Muslim can do.”
Firstly, the chair of the event is not a member of our organisation. Secondly, jihad has several meanings. For many it means the struggle against injustice. It was in this context that jihad was mentioned, and in so doing the statement was a concerted attempt to re-own the term, which has taken a skewed meaning in the media, linked to terrorism only.
He also referred to criticism of Lewisham mosque, where Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers worshipped, saying that if such criticism was not “tackled” the Muslim faith “will become watered down”.
Blaming the mosque for what the killers did is like blaming a church or a school for the actions of a serial killer that may have attended them. This is an understandable view, but again, Mr Nadim’s opinions are his own. We should not be held responsible for comments made by someone outside of our organisation.
He also said: “If you want me to apologise for Jihadi John, make the Queen apologise for the colonial empire. Make her apologise for giving OBEs to paedophiles”.
Mr Nadim’s comment is an effort to highlight the double-standards applied between crimes committed by Muslims and non-Muslims. Although this is Mr Nadim’s point (who is not a member of CAGE), we should understand the context so as to better develop dialogue between communities.
Are these views that Cage endorses?
CAGE should not be held responsible for comments made by someone outside of our organisation. This is an attempt to make CAGE liable for comments deliberately taken out of context to create a story when there is not one there. It is an attempt to smear CAGE.
We would be grateful if you could also clarify the nature of Cage’s relationship with the Muath Trust.
We have no relationship and have never worked with this organisation in the past.
The Telegraph wishes to reflect your views fully in any article it chooses to publish.
We note that neither CAGE members Moazzam Begg nor Cerie Bullivant are alleged to have made any objectionable comments. This story is based on innuendo and allegations attributed to innocent and explainable comments by a third party. Stating otherwise is an attempt to smear CAGE, and our views need to be reflected.
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