Both Nick Cohen on this blog and in the Observer, as well as Student Rights, have covered this issue quite extensively, so I will not repeat the many good points they have made about the recent UCL inquiry into the radicalisation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. There are, however, a couple of points which have not, from what I have seen, been flagged up.
Old habits die hard. Moazzam Begg, Britain’s highest profile Guantanamo detainee has been back to Pakistan – the country where he was first arrested. Never one to miss an opportunity for stoking anti-British sentiments, Begg railed against what he describes as oppressive circumstances for Muslims in Britain.
The jihadist theorist with an extensive network of British supporters, Anwar al-Awlaki, is currently on the run in Yemen. Still, that hasn’t stopped him issuing a new audio message.
In light of Moazzam Begg’s repeated statements in support of Abdullah Azzam, this blog is running a short series on the ideology of one of the last century’s most influential jihadists.
Today, Moazzam Begg was due to speak at an Amnesty International screening of ‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo’. However, he has announced that he will not be attending “so that the focus is not about my personal beliefs or Amnesty’s internal issues but, that the lives of men who have suffered human rights violations for so many years, as discussed in Outside the Law, are not overshadowed.”
Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham and staunch defender of free speech and human rights, has sent a letter to Amnesty International’s UK Director, Kate Allen, regarding the organisation’s decision to suspend Gita Sahgal. It is reproduced below in full:
The al-Qaeda theorist Anwar al-Awlaki has an expansive network of supporters in the United Kingdom. My colleague Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens has produced an authoritative report on the matter for the Centre for Social Cohesion – a think tank that has consistently warned us about Awlaki. I won’t reproduce the report here, but would urge readers of this blog to consult it very closely.