posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 11 December 2013, 12:04
Jacob Mchangama has written a great piece on the Daily Beast on how the so-called 'counter-jihad' movement are as bigoted as the people they claim to oppose.
He opens the piece by saying:
"One of the supposed core values of the so-called “counter-jihad movement,” a loosely organized collection of vocal activists battling what they believe is the immediate threat of an Islamic takeover of the West, is an unflinching defense of free speech. Because dominant parts of the political elite in many Western states have been hesitant to oppose the real threat that certain Islamic states and Islamist groups pose to free speech, as seen by, for example, their handwringing during the Danish “cartoon crisis,” the counterjihadis have had some success in posing as the true defenders of free speech. The counterjihadis appear willing to defend this enlightenment principle, whereas feckless politicians and intellectuals fear appearing as bigoted or insensitive to minorities. Yet one need only scratch the surface to realize how dominant members of the counterjihad movement are more than happy to compromise on free speech as long as the ends justify the means and those denied their rights are Muslim."
Read the rest here:
Posted: 11 Dec 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 10 December 2013, 17:49
Today is an important day in the campaign against the Gagging Bill. The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement has launched a second report ahead of next week’s Committee Stage in the House of Lords. HOPE not hate features as one of eight case studies used by the Commission to underline how undemocratic and illiberal this bill is.
The report is the result of a rapid consultation carried out during a five week pause that Ministers were forced to concede to, in order to avoid the Bill being delayed for up to three months. Its recommendations are supported by over 100 organisations from charities and campaign groups, to think tanks and blogs.
It is also a final call to Government to take seriously the severe damage to trust between the Coalition Parties and organised civil society, which going ahead with the Bill will undoubtedly cause. It comes a day after a Government letter, sent to members of the House of Lords, suggests that the “listening mood” of which we were reassured five weeks ago, was always intended to be just that – a promise, nothing more.
The recommendations that the Commission has come up with, which will safeguard HOPE not hate’s ability to fill the vacuum left by the three mainstream political parties in challenging candidates and parties determined to spread myths, fear and hate in order to gain votes, can be found here http://civilsocietycommission.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Civil-Society-Commission-Report-2.pdf
With key votes on these recommendations expected at Report Stage in the House of Lords, around 13 January 2013, HOPE not hate would like to stress once again that limiting our campaign spending to only 2% of the funds available to the BNP, while quadrupling the regulated activities we have to account for, is surely reminiscent of totalitarian regimes and not of the tradition of the world’s oldest working democracy who, next year, will celebrate 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta.
If voted into law without these key amendments, the Gagging Bill will send a terrible message across the world, but particularly to those emerging democracies who look to Britain for example on how to build and organise civil society and get it engaged in the democratic process. It will ultimately affect our ability to persuade foreign quarters on strategic British interests, from the position of a “legitimate” and “respected” world power.
Posted: 10 Dec 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 7 December 2013, 07:01
Over 2,000 people have sent tributes in about Nelson Mandela following his death on Thursday night. Hundreds more have sent us messages on Facebook, Twitter and by email.
Young and old, our supporters have been united in their outpouring of sadness at the passing of a man who helped steer South Africa out of Apartheid.
But it clear that he meant so much more to so many people and even after his death he will continue to inspire, motivate and encourage people to fight for a better, more peaceful and a more just world. He was an embodiment of HOPE not hate.
We are giving our supporters an opprtunity to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and what he meant to them personally and politically. We will then hand our Book of Condolence in to the South African High Commission early next week.
Please add your tribute here:
Posted: 7 Dec 2013 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 6 December 2013, 12:29
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) is holding a vigil and tribute outside South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, tonight (Friday 6 December) in memory of Nelson Mandela.
The vigil is being held between 6pm and 7.30pm and ACTSA is calling on as many people as possible to salute and honour the world icon for freedom. It is asking for floral tributes to be placed at the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square.
ACTSA said: “Nelson Mandela is the most admired man of our time. He was a freedom fighter, prisoner, great statesman and reconciler; a leader who inspires but also one with great humility.
While we mourn his passing and send condolences to his family, the government and people of South Africa and the ANC, if we are inspired by Nelson Mandela we should take action.
Nelson Mandela stood for, fought for, and was imprisoned for his commitment to rights, dignity and justice. He campaigned against poverty, inequality and discrimination. Today we call on people, inspired by Nelson Mandela, to commit to making this world a peaceful, fairer, more just and sustainable world.”
Posted: 6 Dec 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 08:32
Our attention is rapidly turning towards next year's European Elections and yesterday I was up in Yorkshire meeting our local organisers from Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Sheffield and Saltaire. Together we mapped out our campaign strategy for the elections and agreed on both regional and localised material.
The traditional far right might not appear the threat it once was but there was no complacency in the room, with everyone agreeing that while UKIP was obviously the main issue we should still target groups like the BNP and BDP.
Most of the discussion was obviously around the threat from UKIP and a strategy that will be launched in the New Year was devised.
Posted: 3 Dec 2013 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 27 November 2013, 11:59
Cameron basically told us today “Free movement in EU needs to be less free” and “Some EU nationals are more equal than others”
Guest blog by Elisabeth POP
David Cameron announced today the toughening of European Union immigration rules by vowing to deport beggars and rough sleepers, restrict the right of foreign nationals to social benefits irrespective of the years they have contributed to British economy and society and a call for new rules to stop “vast migration” of Romanians and Bulgarians. In doing so, he is undoubtedly hoping to recapture UKIP voters, in what the Conservative Party arguably must see as its best shot at winning the next general election.
The move has made the Daily Express and Daily Mail exclaim the PM has finally seen sense and answered their “crusade”, while the Sun celebrated with “British benefits for British people”.
Cameron insists the measures are proof of the fact that he is listening to “many people” in the UK who are “deeply concerned” and fearful that from 1 January 2014 the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania will have the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens and the impact this could have in Britain. He says he shares these concerns, but also wants to send a signal to Europe that it has to reform “to regain the trust of its people”.
What the PM conveniently failed to clarify is that rightwing populist forces, with support from the tabloid press, are the ones who have spread myths and fears of the massive arrival of Bulgarians and Romanians after 1 January. His announcement goes against research carried out by the European Commission (EC), non-party affiliated British think-tanks and the governments of these two countries which clearly shows that there will be no mass invasion, that the vast majority of Romanians and Bulgarians living and working in the UK contribute far more to the economy then they take out in benefits. These findings were confirmed by statistics on BBC News this morning which show that only 0.8% of EU migrants who came to the UK since 2004 went on to claim benefits.
In the long run, Cameron suggests imposing restrictions on movement until a country’s GDP per head reaches a certain share of the European average or allowing each country to set an annual cap on EU migrants. In other words you are welcome to join our club, but you cannot freely look for work in richer parts of the EU – next year some of us will celebrate 25 years since the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, but clearly Mr Cameron thinks that nothing has really changed and the West/East divide should be reinstated. In fact, he will put the ideas at the heart of his proposed renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of a planned referendum in 2017.
Laszlo Andor, the EU European Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and inclusion, called the new measured an 'unfortunate over-reaction' which risked fuelling 'hysteria'. Sources inside the EC stressed that interior ministers meeting in Brussels on 5 December will not form a united front with Cameron against free movement of workers. For more information on the reaction of the EC and other EU countries follow the link http://www.euractiv.com/socialeurope/commission-alliance-free-movemen-news-531961
Posted: 27 Nov 2013 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 17:03
It has been slightly amusing watching the media reaction to our report. While the Independent focused on Europeans going to Syria, most of the other national coverage has been on the plot by French intelligence to kill Abu Hamza in London. This took us slightly by surprise that we had just one paragraph on this on page 59 of the report and it was not one of the key findings we highlighted in last Friday's press release.
Anyway, the story is totally true. Back in 1999 French Intelligence scoped out the possibility of killing Abu Hamza and passing it off as an attack by the nazi group, Combat 18. I have no idea how far the plans got but the scoping exercise definitely took place.
We brought up the Hamza story in an article about the alleged Covenant of Security (CoS), the claim that there is some understanding or even agreement between the British Security Service and the leaders of al-Muhajiroun in which the Islamist extremists are left alone as long as they discourage their supporters from attacking the UK.
I have no idea whether the Covenant really existed or was just part of Choudary and Omar Bakri’s imagination but the French certainly believed it existed in the 1990s and hence their fury at British inaction against Abu Hamza.
A few months before the 7/7 bombings in London, al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri announced that the Covenant was no longer in place and the UK was a legitimate target.
There is rarely an interview these days where Choudary does not refer to the CoS, but I just presumed he was just trying to protect himself from any legal fallout from his activities. However, Abu Waleed, who runs Salafi Media, an online extremist news outlet, referred to it several times in a long twitter exchange I had with him yesterday in order to prove that Choudary and others were not considered a threat by the authorities.
Abu Waleed is convinced it does exist and mentioned several radical preachers who were interviewed by Counter-Terrorist Command (CTC) but later released after they gave commitments to support the CoS. He even added: “Choudary told a gathering last jan 2012 odd that mi5 asked him to speak about the covenent more in public,mi5 prefer that.”
So perhaps the CoS does exist and continues to this day.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 14:21
It’s funny how Anjem Choudary can remember every fact and figure about the wrongdoings of Western powers around the world but struggles to remember who has been linked to his own organisation.
Pressed on our Gateway to Terror report, Choudary has told the media: "Hope not Hate is trying to say that we are behind every terrorist operation since 7/7. If that was the case surely the police would have come and arrested us?
"A lot of people have come across us. The July 7 and the July 21 bombers probably came across us at one point but that doesn't mean that they were members of our organisation. If they were the police would have come to talk to us about it."
"We've been saying the same thing since the 1980s and no one was going out and carrying out military operations. The only thing that has changed is the British government's policies."
Firstly, we have never said that he and his organisation have been behind “every terrorist operation since 7/7”, but rather we simply state, backed up by evidence, that 70 people who have been convicted of terrorism and terror-related offences, or who have died carrying out terrorist attacks, have been linked to his group.
Choudary then plays down the connection of the 7/7 bombers to his group. Let us remind him.
Three of the four suicide bombers came from West Yorkshire and all had attended lectures by Omar Bakri, the founder of al-Muhajiroun. Two of these people - Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer – travelled to Pakistan for training. They stayed at a safe house in Lahore, owned by a member of al-Muhajiroun and then they went to the Malakand training camp in north west Pakistan that had been established by an al-Muhajiroun member.
Khan was close friends with another al-Muhajiroun member, Omar Khyam, the ringleader of the Fertiliser bomb plot, and Asif Hanif, who died in a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv.
The fourth 7/7 suicide bomber was Germaine Lindsay, who only weeks before the attack had leafleted for al-Muhajiroun on the streets of Luton.
Choudary might also like to remember Habib Ahmed, who was al-Muhajiroun’s Manchester organiser at the time of his arrest and later conviction for being a member of al-Qaeda. And then, more recently, there is Mohammed Chowdhury, the man described as the ringleader of the Christmas plot. Only three weeks before his arrest in December 2010 he was filmed helping Choudary set up a Skype call with Omar Bakri.
The other eight people convicted with Chowdhury were also active in al-Muhajiroun.
If Choudary needs reminding of his group’s links to terrorism then we suggest that he reads our Gateway to Terrorism report:
Posted: 25 Nov 2013 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 09:50
Over the last eighteen months Anjem Choudary has sought to develop links with the European end of Ansar al-Islam, a primarily Kurdish group that originates in Northern Iraq which has been closely linked to al-Qaeda.
Formed in September 2001, Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam) came about through a merger between Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam) and a splinter group from the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, led by Mullah Krekar. After the American invasion of Iraq, justified partly by the false claim that Ansar al-Islam had links to al-Qaeda, the group was behind a series of terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack on an Eid celebration that 109 people and wounded over 200 others.
The organisation was crushed in a US military operation in 2003, leaving many militants dead and the uncovering of chemical weapons, the only such find in Iraq. Those who survived fled to neighbouring Iran.
The group was superseded by Ansar al-Sunnah (AS), though in 2007 this new group acknowledged that it had derived from Ansar al-Islam and reverted to their original name. AS formed a partnership with al-Qaeda (AQ), but this has been severely strained in more recent years over disagreements over AQ’s deliberate targeting of civilians in suicide attacks.
The British head of Ansar al-Islam is Birmingham-based Awat Karkuky. Choudary met Karkuky during the trial in Oslo of Ansar al-Islam founder Mullah Krekar and since then they have formed a close relationship. Karkuky has spoken at several of Choudary’s demonstrations in London while the two organisations had a joint indoor meeting in Birmingham in February 2013.
In fact 31-one-year-old Awat Karkuky is in fact Awat Wahab Hamasalih. He was born in the Kurdish region of Iraq and now a member of its ruling council.
To read more about Karkuky and the Ansar al-Islam link, buy Gateway to Terror
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 25 November 2013, 08:50
Read extracts from our Gateway to Terror report. More will get put up on our site during the day