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Nick Cohen
Wednesday 25th November 2009
Gordon Brown Honours Sectarians

Will Gordon Brown have any scruples about honouring Islamist sectarians? Why do I still need to ask after all the years I've wasted watching the wretched man? Of course he wouldn't and it looks like he is going to honour Muhammad Abdul Bari.In my Observer column on Sunday I described how a purge of moderate Muslim advisers was underway in Whitehall. Labour is now trying to secure a segment of the inner-city by abandoning what few liberal principles it has left and cosying up to the Muslim Brotherhood and Jammat-i-Islami. To be specific, Brown and John Denham are driving out Azhar Ali a special adviser who has opposed the religious right, and are instead welcoming the Muslim Council of Britain's into the Labour tent. From a conventional left wing perspective - which admittedly does not seem to be widely shared at the moment - Brown's behaviour is a shocking act of treachery. Ali comes from the heart of the Labour movement and shares its values. The Brownites don't care, and  are throwing him out so that they can hug fellow travellers with ultra-reaction.

   As I wrote

After Daud Abdullah, the deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, signed a declaration advocating attacks on the Royal Navy if Gordon Brown sent ships to impose an arms blockade on Gaza, Ali told his comrades to cut all links. He might have said that a centre-left party should never have had links with the MCB in the first place. It contains supporters of the Arab Muslim Brotherhood and the south Asian Jamaat-e-Islami. Arab liberals know the Brotherhood to be the enemy of every enlightened value they hold, while their Bangladeshi equivalents regard Jamaat in the same way Observer readers regard the BNP, only worse because Jamaat murderers collaborated in the Pakistani army's crimes during the Bangladeshi war of independence.

That brief moment of principled politics is over. There's talk of the government giving the MCB's Sir Iqbal "death perhaps is a bit too easy for Salman Rushdie" Sacranie a peerage. Meanwhile, ministers are about to cut financial support for Sufi Muslims who, like the majority of Britain's Muslims, Sunni or Shia, are not represented by the MCB.

The fix is in and Islamists are all over Whitehall again. Denham is entertaining Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB, who gave a taste of the "progressive" policies Labour is encouraging when he wrote an article defending Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a preacher who recommends wife-beating, genital mutilation of girls and the murder of apostates and homosexuals. Earlier this year, the sheikh said of Adolf Hitler's massacre's of the Jews: "This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers."

Astute outsiders look at people who were on the 20th-century left and notice that they have gone from calling themselves "socialists" to "social democrats" to "third wayers" to "progressives" in rapid succession. They might have wondered what the new "progressive" label means. Now they know.

My sources tell me that Brown's goons hauled civil servants into Downing Street to find out  the names of my sources.  They failed miserably but they did let slip that the peerage may not be going to Sacranie now I'd blown the whistle but to the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Muhammad Abdul Bari. (Read all about this charmer here)

I was faintly bemused by the reaction to my book What's Left? Mainstream leftists tut-tutted and said that I was tilting at straw men. Some extremists such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway may have gone over from far left to far right, they accepted, but the mainstream was as principled as ever. Now a Labour prime minister is firing leftish Muslims and promoting bigots. As David Cameron seemed to grasp when he attacked Gordon Brown for funding the schools run as front organisations for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Prime Minister's Questions today, the left's indifference to or support of clerical reaction represents this government's final descent into decadence.

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The JuJu Man
December 28th, 2009
8:12 PM
The left-wing smear merchants are out in force on this blog. Oh Nick - you are a traitor to the Soviets! and must die...heh heh heh. Mind you Jules is right - it is unreasonable of you Nick to tell the truth. This has got to stop - it's not good enough, it's so unnecessary. Now apologise to these people and you can be friends with Jules again.

November 30th, 2009
1:11 PM
That jules girl has got to be high.

November 27th, 2009
9:11 AM
I hope that Anonymous (9:11pm, November 25th) can tell us how the credibility of British democracy will be enhanced by the uncritical embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood as the sole representative of all British Muslims.

November 27th, 2009
12:11 AM
"I was faintly bemused by the reaction to my book What's Left?" Well, that's one way of putting it. You accused Johan Hari of being "Maoist", Todd Gitlin of being "despicable", Boyd Tonkin of talking "guff"... indeed, you launched an extraordinary smear campaign against anyone who uttered a critical word about it. Nick, do you accept the Iraq war has been a disaster and increased the number of Islamists in the world? If so, why do you continue to smear honest people like Hari and Gitlin and Tonkin who say you should do as they have done, and admit the war is wrong? Until you do so, properly, in a searching article analyzing how you could make such a horrible mistake, I am afraid you will simply look like a fool, and your books will remain largely worthless. Ranting and raving about these bad but minor appointments while you support the mass slaughter of hundreds of thousands just looks like displacement activity for your soiled conscience. (Also, when are you going to issue a real apology for your extraordinary smear against Nick Davies?)

Dr Howard Fredrics
November 27th, 2009
12:11 AM
The apparently New Labour-infested Kingston University has close ties to Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters, most recently to Zafar Ali, Chairman of the Board of Governors at Iqra Islamic Primary School in Slough, which is run by a front for Hizb ut-Tahrir. The University has spent gobs of public money to pay this man to "investigate" a Jewish staff member and to retain him as a "witness" in an ongoing Tribunal case. This all occurring in the context of a purge of Jewish staff from the University's School of Music, the free operation of Hizb ut-Tahrir recruiters, anti-Semitic Jihad-promoting "guest lectures," and other similarly insensitive actions.

November 25th, 2009
9:11 PM
How outrageous letting such unrepresentative people into the hallowed Chamber. If British democracy is to remain credible, only hereditary aristocrats, bankers and media tycoons should be admitted. Including, one hopes, the future Lord Cohen of WMD.

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About Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen is a columnist for the Observer and author of You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom (Fourth Estate) and What's Left? How The Left Lost Its Way (Harper Perennial). Living With Lies, a collection of his writing for Standpoint, is available as an ebook. 

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