Stop the War Coalition: a Misnomer

BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS 

This evening, the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) is launching its newest project, Kafa (Arabic for ‘enough’).  According to the website, the purpose of Kafa is to campaign against attacks on the Muslim community. A perfectly noble project, which I would support if the list of tonight’s speakers and the Kafa signatories didn’t read like a who’s who of the UK’s leading Islamists and their supporters. 

Here is a quick run-down of some of the biggest names among them:

Daud Abdullah – Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).  Earlier this year he was a signatory to the now infamous ‘Istanbul statement’, a pro-Hamas, jihadist proclamation which specifically rejects all possibilities of peace with Israel, calling instead for “jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all of Palestine.”   Not exactly the pacifist sentiments one may expect from an organisation that claims it wants to ‘stop the war’.  (For more on Abdullah and the Istanbul Statement, see my article from the May 2009 issue of Standpoint, and to read the statement in full click here).

Muhammad Ali Harrath – A Tunisian who has been convicted in absentia in his home country for involvement in terrorist activity.  He is also the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, which lists one of his alleged offences as ‘Crimes involving…terrorism’.  He has tried to have Interpol cancel the red notice, but thus far they have refused.

Mohammed Sawalha – President of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI).  Also a signatory to the ‘Istanbul Statement’.  He was described in a 2006 BBC Panorama by John Ware as a ‘fugitive Hamas Commander.  According to the US Department of Justice, Sawalha was “initially a Hamas leader in the West Bank until he relocated to London, England in the early 1990s”.  He is also one of the directors of Islam Expo, an annual gathering in London which was boycotted by government ministers last year due, according to Hazel Blears, to the extreme nature of the organisers and speakers.

Ismael Patel – Speaker at tonight’s Kafa launch, he is also a director of Islam Expo.  A staunch supporter of Hamas, he refuses to acknowledge them as a terrorist organisation and in a speech in January 2009 said “we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel”.  Not only is this man a mouthpiece for a terrorist group, but he is also a critic of ‘western’ notions of women’s rights.  In an astonishingly badly written book called ‘Islam: The Choice of Thinking Women’, he argues that women’s rights in the ‘west’ are “a charade”, positing instead his brand of extreme Islam as the only way for a woman to be free.  To him, the feminist movement is but a guise for lesbian women “to fulfil their deviant sexual desires.”

Lowkey – A third-rate rapper who is desperately trying to get more attention by rapping about 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Now usually it is not worth spending much time on the StWC and their friends, who represent a minority of Islamist extremists and far-‘left’ supporters of terrorist groups and totalitarian Islamist regimes, however there are also a number of MPs who have given their name to Kafa, and this cannot be tolerated.  By having MPs speak and sign off on their crazy events, groups like the StWC can add a veneer of legitimacy to their agenda.  Granted, the MPs who are down as supporting the project, Jeremy Corbyn, Clare Short and George Galloway, have already made a mockery of the respected office which they hold, but they should be reigned in nonetheless. 

Interestingly, Labour MP Diane Abbott is down as a speaker at the event even though she will not be attending.  As I understand through speaking to her office, she was invited to attend and never confirmed.  This was clearly enough for the StWC to falsely claim that she was going to speak tonight in a blatant attempt to pile on as many government names as possible.

Hamas, which has wide support among the attending MPs and many of the signatories to Kafa, is proscribed as a terrorist entity by the European Union.  This is the same body which refuses to add Hezbollah to that list, so it would be difficult to accuse it of any bias one way or the other.  Hamas is an organisation which rejects peace and is devoted to, and constantly glorifies, ultra-violence, and for the StWC to claim that they have any interest in ‘stopping war’ is insulting to anyone with half a brain.

I will be attending Kafa tonight, and if I manage to make it through the event without vomiting, I will report back next week.

UPDATE 8/4/2010

According to some news reports, Harrath has now been removed from the Interpol Red Notice list.

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