Asim Qureshi Reviews Explosive New Book on ‘Jihadi John’

The Muhammad Emwazi I met in 2009 was indeed a polite and friendly young man as the author Robert Verkaik and man others attest to, but by the summer of 2014 he was executing innocent Muslims and non-Muslims in the name of the Islamic State and I could not recognise the man I had once known.

One year on from a difficult period my organisation and I encountered due to my inappropriate description of him once being a “beautiful young man” – one that I am regretful of due to the impact this insensitivity had on all families who were victims of his murders – we now finally have a book that is able to provide some balance to a story that must be understood.

When I introduced Verkaik, at the time a journalist at The Independent, to Emwazi, it was very much because I respected him – and still do – as someone who is balanced and fair-minded. Since before then, we had been orbiting around stories to do with security service harassment of young Muslim men and so developed a rapport where I knew that here was someone who would take the difficulties faced by these men seriously.

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Apologists for terror or defenders of human rights? The Cage controversy in context

Crosspost: Tom Mills, Narzanin Massoumi, and David Miller

Last week, in a widely trailed speech, the Prime Minister laid out the government’s counter-terrorism strategy for the next five years. It is necessary, Cameron explained, to challenge the idea that political violence is rooted in ‘historic injustices and recent wars, or… poverty and hardship’.  Terrorism, he said, is caused by ‘extremist ideology’, which his government is determined to confront.

There was little new in Cameron’s speech, which simply affirmed in strong terms the authoritarian drift of counter-terrorism policy. Influenced by the security apparatus and its supporters in Parliament, and by neoconservative think tanks, such as the Henry Jackson Society, and (partly) state funded propaganda outfits like Quilliam, policy makers have become increasingly preoccupied with ‘non-violent extremism’ rather than political violence. Officially this is portrayed as a political campaign against ‘intolerance’. Thus Cameron claims that his government will be facing down ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ by asserting ‘basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality’.

‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society’

On the face of it this seems agreeable enough. But the actual policy is another matter. As was pointed out in a recent letter to which we were signatories, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 will ‘mean that individuals working within statutory organisations must report individuals suspected of being “potential terrorists” to external bodies for “de-radicalisation”‘. In effect, the government has drawn the entire public sector into its controversial counter-extremist agenda, meaning that public servants once responsible for the welfare of citizens – including children – must now monitor their behaviour, appearance and political views, feeding into the most unaccountable and repressive elements of the state. Since 2014, 400 children, even as young as three-years-old, have been referred to the government’s ‘Channel’ programme for ‘de-radicalisation’. The true political implications of the policy, which has now passed into law, were made clear in May when Cameron told the first meeting of the National Security Council: ‘For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone”.’  So much for liberalism.

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CAGE Refutes Inaccurate Telegraph Article and Exposes Signs of Desperation

asimcageMy 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.”

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