Given his doubtful and devious past, isn’t Dr Mohammed Bari a massive security risk?
Britain’s newspapers have been full, over the last few days, with stories of the incompetence of G4S, a security company chosen by Locog (the London Olympic Games organising body) and then allowed to drift ten times over budget. The person at the top of this wobbly human pyramid of disaster (which, to be fair, she inherited from the Blairite Correct Tendency) is the Home Secretary, Theresa May. When it comes to the UK’s security as a whole (let alone Games security, which has already been compromised by G4S’s shortcomings) the buck stops at Theresa May. But two years into the job, one is left wondering why neither Ms May nor the security services have acted to remove an Islamist Trojan Horse on the Locog management board.
Go to the depositions about Locog at the parliament UK website, and you will see an entry for Dr Mohammed Bari, a prominent British Muslim. It’s all jolly reassuring stuff: he trained as an Air Force officer in Bangladesh, he is patron of this and Fellow of that and a Dr of something or other.
But the entry hides what Dr Bari is really all about. For he has been the subject of doubt and controversy for many years – and the subject of penetrating investigations by award-winning Daily Telegraph journalist Andrew Gilligan . Until fairly recently, Mohammed Bari was on the Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCB), the ‘moderate’ organisation that took three weeks and much arm-twisting before it condemned the 2005 London bombings.
In Spring 2011, the MCB dictated to its flock that ‘not covering the face is a shortcoming’, and argued that all Muslims advocating the uncovered female face must be guilty of rejecting Islam. The diktat was signed by…..Mohammad Abdul Bari, still at that time the General Secretary of the MCB. Others doing the same were Imran Waheed, spokesman of the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir, and other fundamentalists like Haitham al-Haddad of the hardline East London Mosque (ELM). The ELM’s chief imam, Abdul Qayum, was also a signatory.
Today, Dr Mohammed Bari is Chairman of the ELM. For some time the Mosque has been notorious for its protection and apologaeia offered to the extremes Islamists of the hardline Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). Bari has been a central part of the controversy around both the ELM and IFE because, to be blunt, he makes a lot of airy promises, but doesn’t actually do anything to control or ban the nutters in his midst. As Gilligan wrote in a seminal piece of June 15th last year,
‘On 10 November 2007, the mosque’s chairman, Muhammad Abdul Bari, told my newspaper: “If I hear of a specific preacher who is inciting hatred, I will ban him from preaching.”
In the six months after this rousing statement, the numerous “specific preachers inciting hatred” not banned from speaking at the mosque included Khalid Yasin, who describes Jews as “filth” and says gay people should be killed; Abdurraheem Green, who says that a husband has the right to administer “some type of physical force… a very light beating” to his wife; and Bilal Phillips, described by the US government as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the World Trade Center bombing (Phillips was officially invited to deliver the Friday sermon.)
In subsequent months, the hit parade continued with (among many others) Gharait Baheer, spokesman for a leading ally of the Taliban; Murtaza Khan (who told his audience that women who use perfume should be flogged); Haitham al-Haddad, who thinks music is a “fake and prohibited message of love and peace;” and Anwar al-Awlaki, a key recruiter for al-Qaeda whose talk was advertised with a poster showing Manhattan under bombardment.
On 6 December 2010, Dr Bari again claimed: “The controversial speakers who were able, in the past, to speak via third-party bookings of our facilities (circumventing our procedures) have now all been banned. All accusations of ‘extremism’ links are also historical.”
Alas, the very next month – on 23 January 2011 – Haitham al-Haddad was back speaking at the mosque (as well as his views on music, Haitham also believes that “the conflict between Islam and the enemies of Islam is an ongoing conflict…we should pay the price of this victory from our blood, and Muslims are ready to do so.”) And on 25 February, we had the homophobic preacher Uthman Lateef plus Hamza Tzortzis, who states: “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom.” Sounds pretty “controversial” to me, Dr Bari!
The East London Mosque’s response to accusations of extremism has three stages. First there are the injured protestations of its deep commitment to community cohesion, democracy, etc, often accompanied by straightforward lying – in 2009, for instance, the mosque’s assistant director, Shaynul Khan, claimed that “Anwar Al-Awlaki did not give a lecture via video link at an event held at the East London Mosque.” Then there are silly legal threats from its libel lawyers, again often based on lies: tedious, but perfectly easy to see off if you know what you’re doing.
Finally, if none of that works and their backs are absolutely against the wall, the mosque will crank out one of their statements claiming they’ve banned hate preachers. The supply of bad guys will dry up for a month or two, then as soon as the coast is clear they’ll start creeping back again.’
A classic example of this criticism-deflection strategy occurred only nine months ago in October 2011, when Bari said perceptions of Muslims were so negative there was a danger that people’s minds would be “poisoned as they were in the Thirties” by Nazis. If you want to head off accusations of dictatorial behaviour, accuse your enemies of being dictatorial. Within moments of making the remark, Dr Bari then went on to call for Britain to adopt Islamic customs like arranged marriage, and to ban the drinking of alcohol in public places. I think there might be a clue in that statement as to why ordinary British people of all races and religions have doubts about the sincerity of Islamic claims to be liberal and democratic.
I have pointed out many times that Islam’s biggest image problem in the UK is its tendency towards disguised fellow-travelling with autocratic and violent elements of Islamism. Even the very word ‘Islamist’ is a pure clerical spin word invented after 2005, in a somewhat laughable and clumsy attempt to ‘separate’ Islamists from Islamics. For many years, the MCB was depicted by New Labour as the ‘reasonable’ face of Islam, but this too is largely a fiction. Four days before the 2005 London attacks, its former director Iqbal Sacranie told a Sunday Times journalist that radical, violent Islam was “an invention of the racist Western media”. Whenever programmes appeared on television about Islam, Sacranie was always to be seen – accompanied by bullying legal threat-letters – attemping to have total control over the programmes, or if necessary have them removed. He was central to the scheme to persuade New Labour’s Useful Idiot tendency to make all criticism of Islam illegal “whether it be true or not” from 2003 to 2005. Literally dozens of media writers and journalists have clashed with Mr Sacranie, and few if any of them see him as ‘reasonable’.
These days ‘Sir’ Aqbal Sacranie, he is also chairman of the ‘charity’ organisation Muslim Aid. Aiding and abetting him in this fine calling is our Locog board member Mohammed Abdul Bari. Muslim Aid is self-admittedly a close partner of the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe, and has channelled funds to eight organisations linked to the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It has studiedly refused to deny allegations that it has siphoned monies to organisations linked to Hamas in particular, notably the Islamic Society of Nuseirat, the Islamic Society of Khan Younis, the Islamic Centre of Gaza, the Islamic al-Salah in Gaza, and the Khan Younis Zakat Committee.
In late 2010, British security sources passed evidence to the Daily Telegraph showing documentary evidence of sums passed since 2005 to the Hamas-linked Islamic University of Gaza, and the al-Ihsan Charitable Society with links to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. The Telegraph also showed how Muslim Aid had flagrantly broken the laws concerning charitable status by extensively funding the MCB. This is contrary not just to charity law, but also to Muslim Aid’s fine-sounding mission, which is “to relieve the poor, the elderly, children and all those who are in need in any part of the world as a result of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, famines, epidemics, poverty and plagues, to relieve those who are refugees fleeing from war zones and war victims.” Hard to imagine that the MCB – a powerful lobbying organisation based in Britain where earthquakes and plagues are hard to come by – matches any of those headings.
Now, whatever she has inherited from the Fluffies, Theresa May is the Home Secretary, and the security organisations around her are tasked with the increasingly complex job of protecting us from violent religious lunatics. So why was this prominent Islamist fellow-traveller and consistent dissembler of the truth about radical Islam allowed to take part in the decision about the choice of G4S as the security company for the Games – a company that has turned out to be woefully unable to fulfil its contract? If he opposes the unveiling of female face-coverings, why on Earth does he have anything to contribute to an Olympic gathering in which women will compete wearing zero headware and shorts halfway up their thighs? If Dr Mohammed Bari had his way, women would not be allowed to compete in the Games at all.
The Slog thinks he should be asked to resign, and questions asked in Parliament in relation to any security surveillance of his activities since being appointed to the Board of Locog….and what they have shown. The latter of these will not, of course, happen, because Cameron will three-line his Party not to support it in fear of horrible embarassment, and Miliband’s Labour would rather chew glass than damn an Islamist…or reopen the can of worms about which clown thought it would be a good idea to give Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari access to detailed security information in relation to the London Olympic Games.