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Focus on Islamism
Wednesday 31st March 2010
Event at London Mosque Calls for Third Intifada

ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS

Two Arabic media portals, Al Jazeera and the Palestinian News Network (PNN), have reported that on Sunday 21 March, the London Central Mosque (aka Regent's Park Mosque) held an event where leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood called for continued support for the Palestinian resistance efforts to ‘free' the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The Muslim World News (MWN) has provided members with a summary translation of the two Arabic reports.  The event, entitled ‘Al-Aqsa in Danger' was organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain, a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) aligned organisation.

According to the MWN summary:

Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian Nahda movement, praised the spirit of resistance [muqawama] and the risk to life taken by the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian lands from 1948, especially by Sheikh Raed Salah; as well as those resistors who chose the path of steadfastness defending the holy places. Ghannouchi further stressed that this gala was not about paying last respects in a funeral; rather, it was sending hope to a living nation [umma], "which draws its motivation to act from Jerusalem, and not to submitting and shedding tears". Ghannouchi expressed his anguish regarding the retreat in official Arab assistance over the problem of Jerusalem , and queried the value of possessing oil, fortunes and weapons, if they were not used to defend those who follow the path of the Prophet and the three holy places.

Anas Altikriti, director of the Cordoba Foundation, said that this gala was "an answer to the unbearable crimes against the people of Palestine and an answer to the crimes against Jerusalem and al-Aqsa". He added that the gala constitutes a "response to an international stance of the Islamic nation and the stance of the Islamic scholars, a response to the call of the people of Jerusalem and condemnation of silence and weakness". In an interview with Al-Jazeera.net, Altikriti sent a message to the British decision makers, saying that their country "played a historical role in the crime it committed against Palestine , and currently plays a role in keeping quiet against these daily crimes which take place by Zionism".  

Dr. Kemal Helbawy, Chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism (CFSOT) fiercely criticised those he called "the custodians of the Sykes-Picot agreement", saying that "the resistance is the active heart of the Islamic nation, that resistance is the only language that the occupation understands, which Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas's political bureau, grasps well." Helbawy called for action by everyone according to his capacity, "to liberate Palestine -- all Palestine ".

Helbawy expressed his hope that the nation becomes "prepared for jihad in all its forms, until the occupier is expelled from its land, like France acted when Germany occupied it, and committed jihad until its country was released". He asked: "Why was it permitted to France to release its land, while it is forbidden on the Palestinians to release their land?"

Events which support the violent Islamist takeover of Jerusalem and the Palestinian resistance are quite common in Britain, the European hub of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Just to give a few examples of the vast network of interconnecting groups and individuals involved in this movement:

  • Kemal Helbawy is one of the most influential members of the movement, and claims on his own CV to have been the head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and a founding member of both the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).
  • He currently runs the Centre for the Study of Terrorism (CFSOT).
  • Trustees of the CFSOT include MCB deputy secretary general Daud Abdullah and the above mentioned Anas Altikriti.
  • Another name regular readers of this blog may recognise on the CFSOT trustee list is Farooq Bajwa, the solicitor who is currently representing George Galloway and the Viva Palestina Charity in their attempts to sue David Toube of the Harry's Place blog for claiming that they are part of a Hamas funding operation.
  • Anas Alikriti is also a former President of the MAB (2005-2008), a founding member of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) and currently heads up The Cordoba Foundation. In 2008, David Cameron referred to The Cordoba Foundation as a ‘front for the Muslim Brotherhood'. In Parliament, Paul Goodman MP has also made a similar claim.
  • The President of the BMI is Mohamed Sawalha, who is also a former president of the MAB (2001-2007). It is in fact surprising that he was not reported to have had any involvement in the ‘Al Aqsa in Danger' event organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain - although a trawl through their photo gallery shows he is a regular attendee at their events. Here he is (far left) on the panel of their 2008 ‘Palestine Day':

The event at the London Central Mosque two Sundays ago was one of many meetings of the well funded, brilliantly organised and effective network of Muslim Brotherhood activists in the UK - these meetings are often organised with the intention of building up British Muslim support for the Palestinian resistance movement, of which Hamas (itself a Brotherhood creation) is the main representative.

Any secular Islamic movement that tries to come up against this network certainly has a lot of work on its hands.

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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

To contact the authors, click here

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