Radical past of top Whitehall Islamic aide
by Dipesh Gadher
DISTURBING details have emerged about the radical background of the chief adviser on Islamic affairs at the Foreign Office.
Mockbul Ali, a 26-year-old civil servant, was involved in a Muslim student group that has published material supporting Palestinian female suicide bombers.
The Union of Muslim Students (UMS), which has been repeatedly praised by ministers as a paragon of moderate Islam, also carried articles in its newspaper by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based preacher banned from entering America.
Leaked documents show that since joining the Foreign Office Ali has argued for Qaradawi to be allowed into Britain and played a part in sending Sharif Hasan al-Banna, president of the UMS, to Islamic conferences in Indonesia and Nigeria at taxpayers’ expense.
MPs have voiced concern about Ali’s role at the heart of government. They accuse him of using his position as a senior member of the Foreign Office’s Engaging with the Islamic World Group (EIWG) to promote dialogue with Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in many Arab countries.
Ali also had a key role in co-ordinating seven Muslim taskforces set up by Tony Blair to tackle extremism in the wake of the July 7 bombings last year.
The son of Bangladeshi immigrants who grew up in Bradford, Ali’s rapid rise can be traced to his undergraduate years at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, where the UMS had a strong following. However, it is unclear exactly how Ali was recruited by the government.
During Ali’s time as political editor of the UMS newspaper, it published an article that appears to celebrate the case of Aayat al-Akhras, an 18-year-old Palestinian girl who blew herself up, killing two Israeli civilians, in a Jerusalem supermarket in March 2002. Under the headline “A bride in the dress of martyrdom”, it described Akhras’s “heroic operation . . . in the heart of the Zionist entity”. It concluded: “Al-Akhras will remain an example for every Palestinian woman and man looking for security among the rubble of the massacres of murderer (then Israeli prime minister Ariel) Sharon, giving his blood and future as a price for this security.”
In another issue of the newspaper, published soon after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, Ali wrote: “If you are not white, you are most likely to be ‘liberated’ through bombings, massacres and chaos. Welcome to terrorism as a liberating force. Welcome to civilisation — western style.”
One Muslim contemporary at SOAS, who did not want to be named, said: “Mockbul was a straightforward Islamist, loyal to something like the (Muslim) Brotherhood tradition.”
Major Stephen Coughlin...
Do I need to say more?!?
1) Radical past of top Whitehall Islamic aide