Islamic Forum of Europe
The Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) was founded in 1990 by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and other Islamist activists. The IFE, which runs the infamous East London Mosque, is described as the “European wing” of Jamaat-e-Islami, the violent Bangladeshi Islamist group. Jamaat-e-Islami is the South Asian equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. It supports theocratic government and was complicit in the Bangladeshi genocide in the 1970s. The links between the East London Mosque (and thus the IFE) and Jamaat-e-Islami have been noted in a government report.
In 2010, a Channel 4 documentary noted that over the last five years, seventeen of the IFE’s 22 trustees have also been trustees or senior staff of the East London Mosque. In December 2013, the East London Mosque invited Shakeel Begg, who describes jihad as “the greatest of deeds,” to speak at the institution. Previous speakers invited have included Saad al-Beraik, a “prominent [Saudi] government official cleric,” who refers to Jews as “monkeys” and has said: “Muslim brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don’t you enslave their women? Why don’t you wage jihad? Why don’t you pillage them?”
A 2009 training course organised by the IFE told members that:
“Our goal is not simply to invite people and give da’wah [call to the faith]. Our goal is to create the True Believer, to then mobilise those believers into an organised force for change who will carry out da’wah, hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law] and jihad [struggle]. This will lead to social change and iqamatud-Deen [an Islamic social, economic and political order].”
IFE leaders have been recorded expressing opposition to democracy, support for sharia law and mocking black people.
The IFE is perhaps best known as a platform for extremist speakers. In 2003, the IFE invited Anwar Al-Awlaki, the late Al Qaeda leader, to address an IFE-organised event.
In 2009, the IFE invited Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to speak at the East London Mosque. Hekmatyar’s forces have fought alongside the Taliban against British troops.
In December 2013, the IFE organised an event with Sheikh Fadel Soliman, an unabashed supporter of the late Al Qaeda operative Anwar Al-Awlaki and Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who, in 2009, thanked Hitler for having “managed to put Jews in their place . . . Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the (Muslim) believers.” Soliman also claimed that killing American soldiers in Iraq is obligatory for all Muslims.
Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, an inaugural member of the IFE, is a wanted war criminal in Bangladesh. In November 2013, the Bangladeshi War Crimes Tribunal sentenced Mueen-Uddin to death for his role in the abduction and murder of 18 journalists and intellectuals while he led the Al-Badr killing squad.
Muhammad Abdul Bari, chairman of the East London Mosque, is also a former president of the IFE._ In 2006, Bari offered the East London Mosque as a platform to Delwar Hossain Sayeedi,_ the Jamaat-e-Islami vice-president who has since also been sentenced to death in Bangladesh for his involvement in acts of genocide during the 1971 War of Independence._ Muhammad Abdul Bari has also defended the East London Mosque’s decision to host an event with Anwar Al-Awlaki, the late Al Qaeda leader.
Junaid Ahmed, a “youth coordinator” for the IFE (as well as Deputy Chairman of interfaith group London Citizens), has said that, “every single [Palestinian] resistance fighter is an example for all of us to follow” (especially Hamas founder and leader Ahmed Yassin, whom he describes as a “hero”). Ahmed has praised Hamas for its “steadfastness” against Israel.
Azad Ali, a spokesperson for the IFE, opposes democracy, “if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia [Islamic religious law].”_ He admits to attending talks by Abu Qatada, the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe,and has stated that the leader of a prospective Islamist caliphate should be Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Ali was also an ardent supporter of the late Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was killed by a US drone strike in 2011.
Further, Ali has also justified the killing of coalition troops in Iraq. In January 2010, he failed in his attempt to sue the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail over articles which he claimed had characterised him as “a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq.” Associated Newspapers argued that Ali’s observations in his blog advocated a form of jihad, which could only be understood as justifying the killing of coalition troops in Iraq. Justice Eady said that Ali’s case was bound to fail and had about it “an absence of reality”.
The IFE’s youth wing, the Young Muslim Organisation (YMO), encourages its members to read books by extremists such as Jamaat-e-Islami ideologue Maulana Mawdudi; and Ali al Tamimi, who advocates the decapitation of Shia Muslims.
The YMO has previously promoted hate preachers such as Khalid Yasin, an American-born Islamic preacher who claims Christians and Jews are “kuffar” [infidels] and their beliefs are “filth.” Yasin has called for the killing of homosexuals and claims that “Christian groups” have deliberately infected Africans with the AIDS virus. He further adds that the Koran gives men permission to beat women.
Most recently, the YMO helped the IFE to organise an event with Abdul Qayyum, who is listed as a signatory to the unambiguously anti-Semitic and pro-terror Istanbul Declaration, which called for attacks on British troops and Jewish communities.