London Mosque investigated for terrorism


2:00 pm - June 7th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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The charity commission has opened an investigation into a mosque that overlooks the Olympics stadium for potential terrorist links, Liberal Conspiracy has learnt.

The move comes just weeks after concerns that Leyton Mosque, which is the subject of the inquiry, will fall under the hands of a group of “extremists after they managed to oust its moderate imam.

For context, over one year the Charity Commission conducted 144 investigations – only three were statutory inquiries like the one into Leyton Mosque.

The controversy first erupted in March last year when 50 men burst into Leyton Mosque to disrupt a lecture by Dr Usama Hasan, handing out leaflets condemning him and calling for his execution.

Dr Hasan had angered ultra-conservatives for saying evolution was compatible with Islam and Muslim women were not obliged to wear the veil.

He was forced to stop delivering Friday prayers while the conflict was discussed by the Mosque committee.

The year-long controversy reached a messy end a few weeks ago when both Dr Hasan and two members of the board were forced to resign under an arrangement.

To all intents and purposes, the extremists had successfully ousted him.

This blog has been leaked a letter sent by the organisation to Trustees of the mosque saying it had opened a statutory inquiry into whether Leyton Mosque had “allowed individuals with potential links to terrorist organisations” and used it to “promote and / or express extremist views and ideologies”.

In response to criticism it has not been robust enough, the Charity Commission updated its ‘counter-terrorism strategy’ a few weeks ago to protect charities from terrorist abuse.

Speaking to me a few weeks before he was forced to resign, Dr Usama Hasan said his detractors “hate anything western”, and were willing to attack anyone they thought might deviate from their “extremist Salafi ideology”.

He sent out a pleading email to colleagues last month saying allowing these “extremists” to take over the Mosque would be “a disaster for women’s rights and community cohesion.”

His pleas were ignored.

UPDATE: The letter from the Charity Commission is below

CC: Letter to Dr Hasan

Note: Dr Hasan first complained to the Mosque and the Charity Commission, after follow-up enquiries, has now opened an investigation.

Dr Hasan has since withdrawn his complaint after but I’ve learnt that the anti-terrorism think tank Quilliam Foundation have also asked the CC to investigate.

UPDATE 2: The BBC London report is here. Also on tonight on BBC London at 6:30pm.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


“the Guardian has learnt”

Which site are you writing for today? ;->

Will this now serve as justification for the billions spent on Olympic security: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/london-olympic-world-war-iii/ ?

3. Chaise Guevara

Andreas, this site isn’t actually here to provide free advertising for your blog. No, not even if you come up with a horribly tenuous link to the subject of the article.

A Sixth Form College in Leyton recently played host to a man who thinks apostates should be killed; that gays should be criminalised; that wife-beating is none of our business; that FGM is legitimate and that Islamic law should be made “dominant in the world”. The subject of his talk? Women’s rights.

https://unity1.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/al-tawhid-mosque-dispute-solved/

I read this post at the time on his blog – and didn’t quite know what to make of it.

Sarah: the situation has been ‘resolved’ in the sense that they forced him out.

I’ve got more coming on this story too. This just an opening salvo.

Usama has lost it, joining the Quilliam Foundation last month and using his white priviledge to bugger up a mosque-based community thats frankly fed up and doesnt want him and his fathers leadership any longer.

A lot of us went to that mosque that hot evolutionary evening to protect him and were disgusted by the behaviour by some of the youth there. But now he’s the one stirring the shit around in increasingly industrial ways. His blog played terrorism cards knowingly and manipulatively, to force two of his adversaries to resign with him. I thought that would be the end of it.

You might view this as something to do with liberalism or extremism, but its committee politics of increasingly regressive nature with War or Terror + Olympian Omnishambolic paranoias included for free.

Its interesting to reflect on how much leyton mosque brought this on themselves…

“Dr Hasan has since withdrawn his complaint after but I’ve learnt that the anti-terrorism think tank Quilliam Foundation have also asked the CC to investigate.”

With UH being a senior researcher at QF, with ties to them from their inception, this is a classic!

Usama and the QF can be treated as the same thing. Usama provides the illusion of traditional authenticity and intellectualism, QF the blatant thickness and malevolence. together they pursue sustainable livelihoods.

Whats funky here is that in the bbc article he says ‘ im not allowed to say any thing negative because the arbritration” before the bbc quotes litany of mistemporal allegations from the time when he was driving the mosque and a lot of those guys probably werent ‘baddies’.

if only more vvankerbankers had such disloyalty to their former institutions and communities!

Sunny, you would to well to be a bit more critical about the information you are being fed here.

10. Just Visiting

Sunny

Well done for raising this issue.

And do be careful, won’t you – death threats being thrown around a year ago is not nice.
And the ‘group of extremists’ may not be few in number – they seem to have brought the whole of Leyton mosque with them this last year.

Here in my small UK market town, those who got into the focus of such Muslims had to leave town and start a new life elsewhere – after GBH and attempted murder against them.

You’ve run on LC some posts very critical of some churches and some christians — but I suggest that it won’t be surprising if you get a quite different, openly violent response to your criticisms of some Muslims.

So do take care.

11. Just Visiting

Sunny

and you may also find less support among the LC community for the truth you want to bring, as LC has regularly proven itself to be zealous at seeking out even minority, whacko christians in order to criticise, yet in contrast refrained from criticising Muslim behaviour even when raised and given attention here.

Only two people have reTweeted your post – and both seem to have specific blogs with relevant specific themes , ie not the usual LC crowd. Is that maybe already a sign that the usual LC community are not willing to ask the appropriate questions when it comes to possible problems of illiberal behaviour by Muslims?

I’ve RTed it, and my RT has been widely RTed. So, erm, no. Looks like there’s something wrong with the ping-tracking.

But kudos for taking “left-wing man writes article about troubles within UK Islam, isn’t threatened with death, world doesn’t end, because people who claim the opposite are gibbering liars” and cutting your fantasy opposite version out of whole cloth.

@JV There is also the current issue that Libcon only seems to work properly on the mobile format page, every time I try loading the page from a desktop I always end up with the “How the hell do we get out of this mess?” post as the most recent, which apparently has 0 comments still.

14. Just Visiting

John b

> But kudos for taking “left-wing man writes article about troubles within UK Islam, isn’t threatened with death, world doesn’t end, because people who claim the opposite are gibbering liars” and cutting your fantasy opposite version out of whole cloth.

You’re reacting emotionally there.

What is your think concerning the nature of the Mosque guys making death threats, that you think they won’t also threaten Sunny if they perceive him as taking the opposite stand as them ?

15. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 Just Visiting

Well, Sunny doesn’t seem to get much in the way of threats on this blog from anyone, unless he deletes them sharpish, and given his when-I-get-around-to-it approach to moderation that seems unlikely.

Maybe people are wising up to the fact that a threat made online makes awesome evidence for the prosecution at your trial. Or maybe lunatics just don’t read this blog (well, apart from Sally).

16. Anonymous Coward

I must be superstitious about hostages to fortune or I’d use my real name, but I do think it’s a bit OTT to start speculating about Sunny Hundal getting death threats over this post. I’ve written plenty of posts about Islamists and never had so much as a slightly grumpy email. Those in most danger – of threats and intimidation, if not worse – are Muslims and ex-Muslims, surely.

17. Just Visiting

Chaise 15

> Well, Sunny doesn’t seem to get much in the way of threats on this blog from anyone,

Actually, you raise an angle I’d not thought of. I’d not seperated out private and public communication – I’d assumed just the private kind.

You’re right that Sunny doesn’t ever seem to get death threats on LC – but that was kind of my point – to date he has been careful to, pretty much, restrict his criticism to christianity, and left Muslim behaviours uncriticised.

If he changes that approach – then he will be for the first time criticisin publicly Muslims.
And Muslims who have already made death threats.

So it may quite possibly be a first for Sunny and LC.

But time will tell

> Maybe people are wising up to the fact that a threat made online makes awesome evidence for the prosecution

Actually – I couldn’t see this thread at first glance earlier today – and for moment I wondered if Sunny had already taken down his comments; thinking either due to death threats, or due to legal threats…
As you mention, what is said online, threat or otherwise, is more commonly an issue at court.

But guess Sunny has access to good legal access from somewhere in his readership, so is not likely to to be bullied into silence by legal threats.

18. Just Visiting

Anonymous Coward 16

> I must be superstitious about hostages to fortune or I’d use my real name,

Yep, not using your real name may be wise, of you are publicly criticising Muslims.

> I’ve written plenty of posts about Islamists and never had so much as a slightly grumpy email.

I guess it depends what you wrote I guess. Did you ever criticise Islamic tennets?

> Those in most danger – of threats and intimidation, if not worse – are Muslims and ex-Muslims, surely.

Quite true.
But eer, but that is exactly the case Sunny has picked up – Hasan is accused of heresy and therefore of being an ex-Muslim – for which mainstream islam has the peath penalty.

Be interested to hear your logic, why those making the death threats to Hasan, will not make them also to those who side with him?

19. Just Visiting

> peath penalty.

Is not a new arabic name for some sharia punishment or whatever…. :<)

I meant to write:
– death penalty

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 JV

I doubt legal threats are an issue. Say Sunny wrote an article that some considered to offensively stereotype Muslims. It must be pretty hard to win a class action lawsuit (or whatever; IANAL) of that kind or the Daily Mail would be out of business by now.

As you know, I agree that Sunny likes to criticise Christians and treat Muslims with kid gloves. But I think that has less to do with the fear of threats, lawsuits or violence, and more to do with the whole “narrative” thing.

21. Anonymous Coward

@JV – Inayat Bunglawala also blogged about this a while back.

https://inayatscorner.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/usama-hasan-and-the-evolution-controversy/

Be interested to hear your logic, why those making the death threats to Hasan, will not make them also to those who side with him?

Given the BBC has picked up the story, and the charity commission is involved, I think the ultra-conservative fringe have bigger things to occupy them than what one guy says on his blog.

Obviously a spectacular “scoop” so, y’know, well done, you’re a fearless uncoverer of the truth etc etc.

Couple of questions, though. When was responsibility for investigating terrorism handed over to the Charity Commission by MI5 and Special Branch? I mean, I knew about the SAS outsourcing a lot of their trickier operations to the National Trust but the entry of the Charity Commission into this particular arena has been kept quiet. Is that for reasons of national security or because the terrorist threat posed by the mosque is deemed to be on a par with, say, the threat presented by a dodgy charity director who gets his fingers caught in the till (ie the type of thing the Charity Commission actually does investigate)? When you wrote the headline “London Mosque investigated for terrorism” you did know that it wasn’t strictly true, didn’t you? I mean, you knew there was no suggestion of actual terrorist acts being perpetrated by people at the mosque or use of the mosque to plan terrorist acts, didn’t you? Idiot.

24. Mr S. Pill

@23 abcdefg

You think if MI5 were investigating this mosque you’d know about it? Interesting.

😉

25. Just Visiting

Chaise

I think you’re entirely right.

Maybe it’s me being negative, but if Sunny does suddenly go quiet on this issue, having said ‘I’ve got more coming on this story too. This just an opening salvo.’ – what would that mean?
Death threats, or ?

I’ll shut up I guess, and we’ll just wait and see how this does unfold – Sunny certainly seems to think it’s going to heat up, not cool down.

26. Charlieman

@23. abcdefg: “Couple of questions, though. When was responsibility for investigating terrorism handed over to the Charity Commission by MI5 and Special Branch?”

That is a lovely suggestion, seven letters. That the only people who are able to question extremist links by MI5 and Special Branch are… Who…

How MI5 and Special Branch conduct their business is a civil concern. Citizens do not demand access to all of the information. How they conduct investigations is a fair question.

27. Chaise Guevara

@ 25 JV

“if Sunny does suddenly go quiet on this issue, having said ‘I’ve got more coming on this story too. This just an opening salvo.’ – what would that mean? ”

I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. To be honest, I have no idea what Sunny was trying to prove with this news story in the first place (and he must have been trying to prove something, or he wouldn’t have published it).

My guess is that the story suddenly got complicated. But we’ll have to wait for the follow-up article, or conspicious lack thereof, to know for sure.

Such liberal drama queens the lot of you

Given that the death threats against Usama are themselves denied by a lot of those alleged to have made them, and that Sunny isnt an essentially anti Muslim force i cant see threats being made to him.

(FYI – I assumed USama was telling the truth about them as a matter of course but subsequently dont particularly trust him very much)

However Sunny, please take other infomration into account before blindly repeating exactly what the quilliam bunch want you to. Its a difficult quagmire I know.

29. Just Visiting

Fugstar

> However Sunny, please take other infomration into account before blindly repeating exactly what the quilliam bunch want you to. Its a difficult quagmire I know.

Can you expand on your experience that you allude to?

Sunny — on 3rd March, 2011 at 1:24 am:
Roger – in Abuz’s defence, he goes on to say that the ‘execution’ only applies in a Muslim state if/where the imam decides to take it upon himself, and not for people here to take it literally. You’re being a bit disingenuous there aren’t you?

Sunny on June 7th 2012 – at 2:00 pm:
“The controversy first erupted in March last year when 50 men burst into Leyton Mosque to disrupt a lecture by Dr Usama Hasan, handing out leaflets condemning him and calling for his execution.”

@26 What the f**k are you rambling on about?

“@23. abcdefg: “Couple of questions, though. When was responsibility for investigating terrorism handed over to the Charity Commission by MI5 and Special Branch?”

That is a lovely suggestion, seven letters. That the only people who are able to question extremist links by MI5 and Special Branch are… Who…”

What suggestion? “That the only people who are able to question extremist links by MI5 ……” Eh?

“How MI5 and Special Branch conduct their business is a civil concern. Citizens do not demand access to all of the information. How they conduct investigations is a fair question.”

What does any of this drivel have to do with what I posted? What does it even mean? What is wrong with you?

32. steve omar

Is there even a faint hope that Islam and muslims will ever GROW UP !!!

33. adam carter

Although I have not fully read up on the specific facts of Dr Usama’s resignation, i will say 2 things; firstly The Quilliam Thinktank is virtually unknown amongst most mainstream Muslims, of the minority of Muslims who do know the name, Quilliam are genuinely a laughing stock for countless different reasons and have little if any credibility. Dr Usama joining them therefore does not help his credibility amongst mainstream Muslims. Secondly, there is unanimous consent amongst all mainstream Muslim scholars that wearing the headscarf is required and not just optional. His comments therefore run contrary to all major opinion in the religion. On these issues alone he deserves to be ejected irrespective of what else has happened. I cannot comment on his replacement as i do not know who they are.

34. Shatterface

Secondly, there is unanimous consent amongst all mainstream Muslim scholars that wearing the headscarf is required and not just optional.

Interesting use of the word unanimous – but then you hedged your bet with mainstream so you can just characterise any Muslim who desn’t share this unanimity as marginal.

35. Just Visiting

Sunny

Can you give us an update on this:

> I’ve got more coming on this story too. This just an opening salvo.

That line has got us all expectant !


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    Lefties gloss all problems in Islam. In other news, @libcon has an expose of moderate mosque being stolen by loonies: http://t.co/hmXRmnnq

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    Lefties gloss all problems in Islam. In other news, @libcon has an expose of moderate mosque being stolen by loonies: http://t.co/hmXRmnnq

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    Lefties gloss all problems in Islam. In other news, @libcon has an expose of moderate mosque being stolen by loonies: http://t.co/hmXRmnnq

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    Lefties gloss all problems in Islam. In other news, @libcon has an expose of moderate mosque being stolen by loonies: http://t.co/hmXRmnnq

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    Lefties gloss all problems in Islam. In other news, @libcon has an expose of moderate mosque being stolen by loonies: http://t.co/hmXRmnnq

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