The Interfaith Industry
“Over the next decade, religious extremists will, undoubtedly, continue to foster violence and hatred in Britain. It is alarming, then, that the proposed solution to such intolerance and bloodshed should be delegated to taxpayer-funded interfaith networks partly governed by the extremists themselves.”
Interfaith dialogue initiatives have been extensively infiltrated and exploited by extreme Islamist groups aligned with Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood. The former head of the MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, has described the Muslim Brotherhood as being “at heart, a terrorist organisation”. A number of Jamaat-e-Islami officials in the UK, meanwhile, have been convicted in Bangladesh for their involvement in acts of genocide during the 1971 Independence War. Although Jamaat-e-Islami enjoys negligible support in Bangladesh, it has dominated Muslim representation within British interfaith activities. Consequently, moderate Muslims have been left without a voice. Interfaith provides extremist groups with access to politicians and policy makers.
Taxpayer-funded interfaith groups willingly provide extreme Islamists with a platform. Senior interfaith officials include Manazir Ahsan, who coordinated the riots against Salman Rushdie and directs the Islamic Foundation, a Taliban-linked publisher of radical Islamist tracts in the UK. Groups such as the Joseph Interfaith Foundation work closely with extremist organisations, one of whose officials was a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration, a document that advocated attacks against British troops and Jewish communities. Interfaith umbrella groups include members such as the Al-Muntada Al-Islami Trust, a Wahhabi charity accused by Nigerian media of funding Al Qaeda; Engage, an Islamist lobby group which harangues Muslim anti-Islamist activists; and the Islamic Forum of Europe, a Jamaat-e-Islami lobby group accused by former Labour Minister Jim Fitzpatrick of “infiltrating the Labour Party”.
Interfaith groups and government officials have encouraged discrimination against smaller faith organisations, including Ahmaddiya groups, in order to placate the larger faith groups. Interfaith advocates who dissent from the official interfaith line have suffered harassment.
Extremist groups with links to terrorism and support for Holocaust denial receive public and charitable funding for interfaith initiatives. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers‘ money has been given to interfaith umbrella groups, despite the presence of organisations and officials which promote extremist agenda.
Soft Islamism has embraced interfaith dialogue because it affords extremist groups moral legitimacy, access to political influence and public funds. Other interfaith leaders, meanwhile, tolerate fundamentalists in order to preserve the interfaith ideal.