Interpal continues to promote extremist narrative on Gaza
At 5.30pm today (Friday 19 September), Interpal will hold an event entitled “Rocks & Mortar: Rebuilding Gaza” in Walthamstow, London.
Interpal is a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” entity under US law. According to the US Treasury Department, the organisation is one of several “charities that provide support to Hamas and form part of its funding network in Europe.” Interpal officials frequently attend Hamas-organised ceremonies, including meetings with the families of suicide bombers.
Speakers listed to attend the event include Ibrahim Hewitt, “Mizan the Poet,” Sajid Varda and Rob Ferguson, as well as the two founders – “Heather and Cathi” – of Zaytoun.
Ibrahim Hewitt is one of Interpal’s trustees. On the subject of what he calls “Zionist control of the media and [other] conspiracy theories,” he asks, “Can there be smoke without fire?” “The Jews,” argues Hewitt, “cannot be entrusted with the sanctity and security of this Holy Land.” He has also referred to the “so-called Holocaust” and in a pamphlet, titled “What Does Islam Say?”, Hewit advocates the death penalty for apostates and adulterers, and demands that homosexuals suffer “severe punishments” for their “great sin.”
“Mizan the Poet” is an artist and activist with a penchant for conspiracy theories. On his personal Facebook page, he promotes the work of anti-Semitic 9/11 Truther and Holocaust denier Anthony Lawson, and propagates the bizarre allegation that Israel is “providing arms and equipment to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group.” He has also shared an article that argues that Abubakr Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, “has the hallmarks of an agent provocateur.”
Sajid Varda is a presenter on the Islam Channel. According to the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation think tank:
“Several presenters on the Islam Channel are also active members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global movement which is dedicated to establishing a totalitarian state in which women and religious minorities would be systematically deprived of their basic human rights. Many of these speakers regularly use their shows to promote Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ideology. Islam Channel presenters who are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir include Sajid Varda, the host of last season’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ programme on the Islam Channel, Ibtihal Ismail Bsis, Aamna Durrani and Basharat Ali.”
The Islam Channel, in addition, was found to have advertised DVDs of al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki’s sermons, and in 2010 was censured by Ofcom for advocating violence against women and marital rape. Its CEO, Mohammed Ali Harrath, is a convicted terrorist.
Rob Ferguson is an activist in the Stop the War Coalition (STWC), a purportedly “anti-war” campaign group described by Spectator writer James Bloodworth as an organisation that “isn’t so much opposed to war as has accrued a sorry reputation for supporting the other side in every conflict it has pretended to oppose.” Stand for Peace has, on many occasions, documented STWC’s links to extremism of both the far-Left and far-Right variety, as well as its apologism for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and other despots.
Zaytoun – whose founders are also due to speak at the Interpal event – is an NGO profiled by Stand for Peace in our January 2013 briefing, “Oxfam and Friends”:
“Atif Choudhury founded Zaytoun in 2004. Choudhury was also the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an anti-Israel group recently censured by an Israeli Judge, who accused it of ‘shielding’ terror. The ISM has encouraged activists to take ‘direct action’ that often places them in danger and in direct confrontations with Israeli Defense Forces during military operations. The ISM has been described as, ‘embracing Palestinian militants, even suicide bombers, as freedom fighters,’ and ‘entering military zones to interfere with the operations of Israeli soldiers.’
“Zaytoun’s offices are based at the Arab British Centre. Presently, the Centre is promoting a show titled ‘I Heart Hamas’. Zaytoun shares these offices with the Council for Arab British Understanding (CAABU), a strongly anti-Israel group run by Chris Doyle. CAABU, until recently, was regarded by many as a mouthpiece for the Syrian regime. Further, it is alleged to have been funded by figures close to dictator President Assad.”
In addition, on September 27, Interpal has organised its “Dhulhijjah Conference 2014”, which features a number of extremist speakers, including:
Alomgir Ali – an Islamic preacher who believes that women should not show their faces, wear perfume or even speak in public, and argues that “it is best for [them] to stay in [their] home[s].” He uses the derogatory term “kuffar” to describe non-Muslims, and complains that Western Muslims have “gone [so] low that we now show discontent to those who call for the Sharee’ah [sic] in the form of a political entity but rejoice in the fact that people call for democracy.” He has also defended the imposition of strict Sharia law in Brunei, and spoke at a rally in solidarity with Muslim inmates at Belmarsh prison who were convicted of terrorism offences.
Uthman Lateef – a preacher who holds a Masters degree in “Crusader Studies” from Damascus University, advocates the violent destruction of the non-Muslim world and has expressed support for convicted terrorists. Lateef claims that the Dajjal [Anti-Christ] will be a Jew, who will lead 70,000 Jewish soldiers in an apocalyptic attempt to destroy the Muslim people. In 2009, Lateef spoke on the same platform as the late Al Qaeda leader Anwar Awlaki at the London Muslim Centre (in 2011, Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike). Moreover, Lateef is a vocal supporter of Muhammad Hamid, whom he describes as “our dear brother … locked up unfairly under false terror charges.” Hamid is, in fact, a convicted “terrorist instructor” who is a serving a prison sentence after running military-style camps for would-be suicide bombers and other terrorists. Hamid, who called himself ‘Osama bin London’, was involved with the 2007 tube bombers as well as the Woolwich killer Michael Adebolajo.