Leading newspapers fooled by ‘Claystone’ Charity Commission report
On November 17, the British media provided strong coverage of the release of a report that claimed Muslim charities are being secretly monitored by the Charity Commission, because of concerns that they may be “involved in radicalisation and extremism”. The story, which made The Times’ front page and editorial, relied on a report published a group named ‘Claystone’, which The Times described as “a London-based think-tank specialising in Muslim issues.”
Claystone, in fact, is a front group for an extreme Salafist network run by one of Britain’s most extreme hate preachers, who has been named by security services as part of a network responsible for spreading ideological hatred.The Claystone report was also covered in the Independent, Guardian, Daily Mail, among others. All quoted the report’s author, Adam Belaon, who stated: “There seems to have been a lack of evidence to substantiate concerns. There may be some discrimination.”
Claystone’s intention, it appears, was to draw attention to the persecution putatively felt by Islamic charities. Although the media did not express sympathy for the charities under investigation, it is a pity, however, that none took a cursory look at what sort of group Claystone is and who exactly Adam Belaon represents.
Adam Belaon and Claystone appear to be part of a network of groups run by Haitham Al-Haddad, one of Britain’s most notoriously extreme Salafist preachers. Haddad runs a widely-read Islamist news site named Islam21C, which Adam Belaon has written for extensively. Before publishing his ‘report’, however, Haddad’s Islam21C changed the author’s name on all of Belaon’s articles to “Zeeshan Khan”.
Unfortunately for Belaon and Haddad, Twitter leaves fingerprints. A search of Adam Belaon’s name reveals multiple posts of his articles on Islam21C’s own Twitter account. Click the links, though, and the articles now appear to be authored by “Zeeshan Khan”. Evidently, Islam21C has sought to cover-up their connection to Belaon, in order to lend Claystone’s report greater legitimacy.
The facade is a thin one. Elsewhere on Islam21C’s website, the editors have published endorsements of Claystone’s ‘campaigns’.
Haitham al-Haddad was formerly on the iERA’s board of advisors, one of the charities that Claystone’s report paints as the victim of discriminatory persecution. Haddad describes Jews as “apes and pigs” and “enemies of God”, quotes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and speaks of a “conflict” between Muslim and Jews. He has also stated: “Islam considers homosexuality as a sin, in fact a major sin, and in the Islamic state it is considered to be a crime as well.”
In 2011, after Bin Laden’s death, Haddad wrote a piece for Islam21C in which he declared that Bin Laden was a “martyr” who would enter paradise. Haddad believes that cases of domestic abuse should not be investigated; that peaceful co-existence between people of different religions “is wrong”; that female genital mutilation is “sunnah [Islamically correct]”; and that suicide bombing “is permissible”. Haddad has also argued that the Japanese tsunami was divine retribution for Japan’s “lack of submission to Allah”, and has urged Muslims to “fight everyone until they establish the law of Allah”. Any system of law other than Sharia, he argues, “is invalid”.
Haddad’s colleagues at his various groups include Faraz Farhat, who wants to “rid society” of the “evil” of “music”; and Haneef Ibn Ahmad, who claims that Jews are responsible for the spread of internet pornography to corrupt young Muslims.
Several years ago, the ‘underwear’ bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab penned a short autobiography, which mentioned his contact with Haddad a few years before he attempted a terrorist attack. In addition, Haddad was also a speaker at the Al Manar Centre in Cardiff, where young British jihadists are believed to have been radicalised to fight with ISIS.
A quick glance through Adam Belaon (a.k.a Zeeshan Khan’s) articles reveals a familiar set of dogmas: Zionist Jews control the media, capitalism is waging war on Islam, an “Islamophobia industry” is demonising people such as Haitham Al-Haddad, and so on. As for Belaon’s ‘scoop’, it is hardly surprising that the Charity Commission keeps tabs on charities; it is, in fact, rather expected of them. Such scrutiny is particularly expected when so many of the charities Claystone’s report listed are involved with extremist, pro-terror and anti-Semitic activism.