Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘East London Mosque

Islamic Forum of Europe, Tower Hamlets, and Luftar Rahman.

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Benefiting Islamist Reactionaries.

“A London council at the centre of an investigation into alleged fraud is also under scrutiny over its links to Islamic extremism, according to a classified government document leaked to The Telegraph.  Ministers sent inspectors to Tower Hamlets council, in east London, last week to investigate the alleged abuse of public resources to reward supporters of Lutfur Rahman, its controversial directly-elected mayor.”


The document, a report to Mr Cameron dated Sept 2013, expresses particular concern about the council’s lavish funding of the East London Mosque and the Osmani Trust, a Muslim-only youth group. The mosque is also named in the counter-terrorism local profile, the document reveals. The document says there are “serious concerns” about both organisations’ “links to extremists, or willingness to host extremist speakers or organisations”.

The East London Mosque has hosted hundreds of meetings with extremist preachers, including a “live telephone Q&A” with the al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, advertised with a picture of Manhattan under bombardment.   Both bodies are closely linked to the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which seeks a sharia state in Europe and played a key part in Mr Rahman’s election as mayor in 2010. Together they have received more than £2 million in council funding.

Can we say, with George Galloway (2010) that, “I don’t know who is or isn’t a member of the IFE, and I have only the haziest knowledge of what they stand for….” ?

Is the IFE the  “European wing” of Jamaat-e-Islami, the violent Bangladeshi Islamist group, normally classed on the extreme right? Wikipedia makes these allegations  about one of the founders of the IFE.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin Mueen-Uddin born 27 November 1948), is one of the convicted war criminal for killing Bengali intellectuals in collaboration with Pakistan army at the time of Bangladesh liberation war.[1][8][9][10] After the liberation of Bangladesh, Chowdhury escape from Bangladesh and took British citizenship.[11][12]

 Chowdhury is a trustee (former Chairman) of Muslim Aid,[3][13][14] and a director of Muslim spiritual care provision in theUnited Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).[4] On 3 November 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal which is set up by the government of Bangladesh to judgeinternational crimes committed during 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, sentenced Mueen-Uddin, in absentia, to death for killing 9 teachers of Dhaka University, 6 journalists and 3 doctors in 1971.[5][9][10][15]

 Mueen has remained in the United Kingdom since leaving Bangladesh shortly after its independence in 1971.[16] Mueen-Uddin denies the charges.[17] Since moving to the UK in the early 1970s, Mueen-Uddin has taken British citizenship and built a career as a community activist and Muslim leader. In 1989 he was a key leader of protests against the Salman Rushdie book, The Satanic Verses. Around the same time he helped to found the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe,Jamaat-e-Islami’s European wing, which believes in creating a sharia state in Europe and in 2010 was accused by a Labour minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, of infiltrating the Labour Party. Tower Hamlets’ directly-elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was expelled from Labour for his close links with the IFE.

Until 2010 Mr Mueen-Uddin was vice-chairman of the controversial East London Mosque, controlled by the IFE, in which capacity he greeted Prince Charles when the heir to the throne opened an extension to the mosque.

He was also closely involved with the Muslim Council of Britain, which has been dominated by the IFE. He was chairman and remains a trustee of the IFE-linked charity, Muslim Aid, which has a budget of £20 million. He has also been closely involved in the Markfield Institute, the key institution of Islamist higher education in the UK.

The IFE makes this bland description of itself,

Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) is a community organisation that seeks social and spiritual renewal. Through the values enshrined in the Islamic faith, members of IFE are obliged to be full and active participants in society, benefiting all people. IFE has branches throughout the UK and has affiliates in Western Europe. Its youth wing is called the Young Muslim Organisation UK (YMO UK), with branches across Britain. Its women’s wing is Muslimaat UK. With origins in the 1970s, IFE brings together Muslims of all backgrounds who have made Europe their home. As a collective, IFE facilitates an enlightened appreciation of Islam that is relevant to the context and realities of our time. We undertake social activities – from schools and youth clubs to community engagement and women’s empowerment projects, spiritual development – from prayer to retreats

But dig a little deeper and we find that the IFE is indeed closely aligned to the Jamaat.

This is their protest against the hanging of convicted genocider and war criminal Abdul Qader Mollah,

The Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) condemns in no uncertain terms the hanging to death of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant Secretary-General, Abdul Qader Mollah, on Thursday as an act of judicial murder( Statement Issued 13th December 2013)

Mr Mollah’s summary execution follows a sham trial which has been described by international human rights groups as failing to meet international standards, politically influenced and discredited.

IFE considers Abdul Qader Mollah’s death as state murder by a government doing all it can to cling onto power indefinitely. The whole process has been a farce, and the Bangladeshi government has ignored international demands to ensure that this process calls under international jurisdiction.

The execution of Mr Mollah, in breach of all international standards will, no doubt, plunge Bangladesh further into crisis. The threat of violence and civil unrest is very real. The IFE is concerned that this pre-determined process will be used by the Awami League regime to declare a state of emergency and derail any attempts to hold free and fair elections in January.

The IFE urges the international community, and in particular the UK government to reconsider the financial and diplomatic support afforded to this regime.

There are clear questions about the public funding of groups involved in Bangladeshi politics.

For the left, apart from those deluded enough to think that Rahman is “Progressive”, the issues are wider.

Last year Gita Saghal commented,

Fundamentalist demonstrations from the Jamaat associated East London Mosque  have been taking place regularly after Friday prayers, according to activists.  Secular Bangladeshis of all religious backgrounds and none were finally able to rally and march outwards from Altab Ali park through Brick Lane and the surrounding streets. It was a suitable demonstration that the secular activists who have been receiving regular death threats have not been cowed into retreat.

Thousands of leaflets have been distributed from the East London Mosque and across the world labelling prominent bloggers as atheists. Sermons have been read attacking atheists, Hindus and suggestive statements made regarding sexual assault.

In Bangladesh, fundamentalists  paraded a banner which said, ‘we demand the death penalty for atheist bloggers because they use obscene language to criticise Allah, Mohammed and the Quran.’  Statements such as these, along with murderous attacks on atheist and free thinking bloggers, need to be considered alongside the leaflets identifying named individuals as atheists and accusing them of insulting religion, to see whether they amount to incitement to  murder.

Fundamentalists consider it an obligation for believers to kill apostates; a recent Moroccan fatwa  makes this very clear, as does the experience of an atheist from Bangladesh, applying for asylum in Canada.

This is worth remembering every time people read something on Tower Hamlets,

John Ware, Independent, 13th of April.
An investigation is not Islamophobia

The Asian Mayor of Tower Hamlets says he welcomes scrutiny, yet he tried to stop a BBC ‘Panorama’ report.


Written by Andrew Coates

April 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Violent Clashes in London East End Over Bangladeshi War Crimes Tribunal.

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Pitched battles between rival groups in the East End

Pitched battles between rival groups in the East End.

The Docklands and East London Advertiser reports (extracts, Hat-Tip, G H),

 A pitched battle broke out last night between Bangladeshi groups in a Whitechapel park, with women and children caught in the middle.

Hundreds had gathered in the park at midnight to place flowers at the Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) for the annual Bangladeshi Martyrs Day ceremony.

But flowers gave way to fists as the night turned violent after a war of words between rival groups over controversial war crimes trials in Bangladesh.

Tensions have been bubbling in the East End over the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, which is trying men accused of war crimes during the country’s 1971 liberation war.

Death threats have been received by activists in London and some have been attacked in the street.


Related Story (November 2013):

A former vice chairman of the East London Mosque has been sentenced to death by a Bangladeshi court for committing war crimes during the country’s liberation war in 1971.Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, 65, was found guilty of the abduction and murder of teachers, journalists and intellectuals as a member of the al-Badr killing squads after being tried in absentia by the court.

Mr Mueen Uddin’s lawyer, Toby Cadman, called the tribunal a “show trial” that has been criticised by human rights groups.

Mr Mueen Uddin, who lives in London, has been vice chairman of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel and helped set up the Muslim Council of Britain.

He has also been Director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision for the NHS and met with Prince Charles as deputy director of the Islamic Foundation in Leicestershire in 2003.

The East London Mosque confirmed that Mr Mueen Uddin had been involved with the mosque from 1978 as honourary secretary, and was until recently its vice chairman, but has not been a trustee since 2009.

The British government will not extradite Mr Mueen Uddin to Bangladesh as it does not send people to countries where they could face the death penalty.

The International Crimes Tribunal was set up in 2010 after an election pledge by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to try those accused of helping the Pakistani army to commit war crimes during the 1971 conflict.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

British Islamist Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin Found Guilty as War Criminal.

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Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and…..

UK-Bangladeshi Muslim community leader Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khanwas were being tried in absentia by a special tribunal in Bangladesh.

They were found guilty on 11 charges relating to the abduction and killing of 18 independence supporters.

Reports the BBC.

Hat-Tip GH.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, the defacto leader of the East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum of Europe, the fascist Jamaat e Islami wing in the UK, has finally been found guilty of war crimes for killing pro-Bangladesh indepedance academics in 1971.

The Independent confirms this:

“During the trial, the prosecution had also informed the Court that Mueen, besides being the former chairman of the East London Mosque, he was also formerly Director of the Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the UK’s National Health Service, according to his website.”

Wikipedia says, “Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin ( born 27 November 1948), is known as one of the masterminds of the 1971 killing of Bengali intellectuals, and trustee (former Chairman) of Muslim Aid.[5][6][7]

On 3 November 2013, the  International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Mueen-Uddin to death for killing 18 intellectuals in 1971. Mueen left Bangladesh shortly after its independence in 1971 and went to United Kingdom and staying there till now.

He was a special editor of the London-based weekly Dawat and a leader of the London-based Jamaat organization Dawatul Islam.

Mueen-Uddin is a director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a member of Multi Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy (MFGHC), and a trustee of Muslim Aid.”

The Bangladesh Daily Star announced today,

The tribunal’s verdict of capital punishment for Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan met the expectations of justice seekers yesterday. But they were hardly relieved by the judgement as the convicts were still at large in the UK and the USA.
And there is little hope of bringing the duo back home as the laws of those countries do not support extradition of any death convict.
Family members of war crimes victims believe that justice will be served only when the verdict is executed.

In a report Mission elimination of Bangalee intelligentsia Inam Ahmed writes

Scorched earth policy has been followed since the days war was invented. But even Hitler’s atrocity in Ukraine as the Nazis retreated from Russian attack pales in comparison.

Mishuk Munier, who as a grade seven student last saw his litterateur father Munier Chowdhury being escorted out by the Badr group, remembered this last scene forever. From the balcony of their house, all he could do was to watch that dreadful, unbearable sight of separation and agony. Munier’s body was never found.

Shumon Zahid, son of journalist Selina Parvin, will always hear her mother’s last words: “Shumon, have your lunch. I will come back soon.” Selina’s body, mutilated, was found on December 17.

Today, the two main killers of that gang, Mueen and Ashraf, are sitting in the UK and the USA respectively. The UK could try Mueen under the Geneva Convention signed in 1957. But that did not happen.

But at least some solace could be found in yesterday’s verdict.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Response to Islamophobia Watch.

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Bob Pitt’s Islamophobia Watch has a take on Bangladeshi secularism – and Tendance Coatesy’s “ultra-secularist” site. (here).

Regarding moves to reintroduce the secularist principle of the Bangladeshi Constitution he notes,

the government has shown little enthusiasm for such a change. Following a meeting last month between the ruling Awami League and its coalition partners, one of whom urged that the constitution should be amended along those lines, prime minister Sheikh Hasina stated firmly that the words “Bismillah-ar-Rahman-ar-Rahim” would be left unchanged in the constitution, as would the declaration that Islam is the state religion.

This is indeed the case. Not one to be celebrated either.

It is not difficult to identify the motive behind this decision. During the 2008 election campaign the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its Islamist ally Jamaat-e-Islami accused the Awami League of hostility towards Islam, and Sheikh Hasina no doubt reasons that if her government were to abolish the religious elements in the constitution this would be exploited by the opposition. So an entirely justifiable change that would restore the secular principle to the constitution has been rejected on pragmatic, not to say opportunistic, political grounds.What, then, are the “secular foundations” of the 1972 constitution that the Bangladesh government wishes to restore? Well, crucially they want to reinstate a provision, subsequently removed, which declared that “no person shall have the right to form, or be a member or otherwise take part in the activities of, any communal or other association or union which in the name or on the basis of any religion has for its object, or pursues, a political purpose”.

Indeed, following the Supreme Court’s verdict, Shafique Ahmed was quoted as saying that all religion-based parties should “drop the name of Islam from their name and stop using religion during campaigning”, and he went on to announce that religion-based parties are going to be “banned”. In short, what the government of Bangladesh is planning to do is to amend the constitution in order to illegalise Jamaat-e-Islami.

Here we pause. The Jamaat – unnoticed in the UK where its supporters are free to run the East London Mosque – has engaged in systematic violence against leftists and secularists in Bangladesh. This continues on a daily basis. The latest outrages and their outcome (today) noted here.

Pitt continues,

What does this have to do with secularism? Nothing whatsoever. If a secular constitution required the suppression of faith-based political parties, then secularism in Germany would require a ban on the Christian Democrats. And nobody, not even a secularist ultra like Andrew Coates, is calling for that.

Quite a few constitutions ban political parties that based on religious, other communalist or racist  ideologies. There are provisions in, say the Turkish Constitution to that effect. The German Constitution bans the resurrection of the Nazi Party – and its laws are extremely harsh towards Holocaust Denial. Political Parties under the Grundgesetz must have “internal organisations that conform to democratic principles”. In general the idea of calling political parties by religious labels is not particularly democratic since it suggests that they have a special role in representing that religion rather than electors. German or other Christian Democrats face the problem that  in today’s  Europe  Christianity is not the only religion of its citizens, and that vast numbers of people are secular. In countries with a majority Moslem population this is particularly acute since it is usually synonymous with a call for Islam (and the Sharia) to be the basis of the Constitution and not democracy.

In that context, groups like the Jamaat seek to impose a narrow vision of Islam. Nor is this just a matter for Bangladesh. As Andrew Gilligan’s Channel Four documentary last night (here) demonstrated beyond controversy how the Islamic Forum of Europe is implementing its reactionary segregationalist agenda.  In this they are aided by generous State and local government subsidies. All the  better to throttle opposition and any Bangala culture – secular or religious – they dislike. That a land, which has one of the richest and most glorious cultural legacies in the world – Bengali –  is threatened by such thugs is of prime importance to progressives across the world.

One would wish to combat such parties – something Islamophobia Watch singularly fails to do.

In this case we would not accept that say the Jamaat should be banned but ought to be politically confronted. Something Respect, the SWP and Livingstone, because of their alliance with the Islamic Forum of Europe, will not do.

Abdul Hamid of the Spitoon notes that the Jamaat and its much larger ally, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), are at present denying the rights of the Pahari people. (Spitoon)

This is in a long line of their sponsorship of pogroms against non-Muslims, ‘tribals’, and secularists.

Something Bob Pitt fails to register.

We leave the last word to a Bangladeshi secularist, Rasel Pervez,

Awami League, as a political party, claims it upholds secularism, and most of the Awami inclined intellectuals simply wants Awami league to follow this secular path. All the intellectuals of Bangladesh wish and want Awami league to become a party that leads the fraction of Bangladesh population which supports secularist view; but, in essence, this particular party never moved further away from its roots and always in practice has nurtured the Muslim sentiments as its party policy.

In fact, Awami League has never really overcome their religious roots. In practice, it uses the religious sentiments of people to stay in power. And, this is precisely the point where it looses its idiosyncrasy from Jamaat e Islami and other non-secular parties.

Actually the spirit of 1972’s constitution was to establish a secular state which would have no state-religion, which aimed for the state not to patronize any religion and should not use religious sentiment of people politically. But Awami League is failing to follow that course of secularism and using the religious sentiment of people to justify its misdeeds. Instead of being called Awami League, we should at least recognize their effort of Islamizing this country by renaming it as “Allama Awami League” and also to respect the believes of  our countrymen start a political movement of having a Islamic name of our country.

(More Here)

Written by Andrew Coates

March 2, 2010 at 11:09 am