Friends of Al Aqsa and Ismail Patel
Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) was founded in 1997 by Ismail Patel. The Leicester-based organisation claims it is “concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem.”
Critics charge FOA, however, of expressing support for extremists and terrorist organisations. Patel is a supporter, for instance, of the late French Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy. In 2009, at a rally in support of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, FOA chair Ismail Patel told the crowd:
“Hamas is no terrorist organization. The reason they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated, occupied by the Israeli state, and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel […] to the state of Israel: you no longer represent the Jewish people.”
Patel has taken part in one of the Miles of Smiles convoys to Gaza, which – organised by Hamas activists in the West – serve to bolster support for Hamas.
In his book, ‘Islam: the choice of thinking women’ [Ta-Ha Publishers, London, 1997, Page 56-58], Patel advocates the killing of adulterers:
“In humanity, the worst crime after murder is zina (adultery), and the punishment dictated by Islam for adultery is equal to that meted out for murder. This indicates the enormity of illicit sexual conduct … Pornography, prostitution, rape…are the by-products of zina … The free mixing of men and women from the time they become sexually active to the time they are no longer sexually active is prohibited.”
Patel is also a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a group whose officials include Hamas operative Mohammed Sawalha, and Anas al Tikriti, who has condemned the decision of Muslim leaders to attend Holocaust Memorial Day events.
FOA was involved with an effort by a number of extremist organizations to bring Raed Salah, of the Northern Islamic Movement, to Britain in 2011. Saleh, who admitted to aiding organizations that fund Hamas, has claimed that 4,000 Jews skipped work at the World Trade Centre on 9/11. He further believes that those who killed the “Martyr, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden” had “sold their consciences to Satan”; and that the honor-killing of girls is acceptable. Following Saleh’s arrest in Britain, Patel expressed support for the Islamist preacher.
FOA has published writers such as Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, whose post claimed that Jews control America, and that the Iraq war “was conceived in and planned by Israel through the mostly Jewish neocons in Washington”; Paul Eisen, a notorious Holocaust Denier; Gilad Atzmon, who claims “Hitler might have been right after all”; and Israel Shamir, who has said, “In the Middle East we have just one reason for wars, terror and trouble — and that is Jewish supremacy drive.”
Although FOA is involved with a number of anti-Jewish initiatives, it has been particular instrumental in the establishment of the annual ‘Al Quds Day‘ events in London, in which a wide variety of extremist groups march in support of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and the Iranian regime.