by Samuel Westrop
- Given the sort of views and preachers to which this member of the government's counter-terrorism programme subscribes, he should not be entrusted work in publicly funded counter-extremism. But in the eyes of the media and government, Sulaimaan Samuel's arguments against ISIS make him a suitable "moderate."
- Once again, hardline preachers and Islamist extremists have been rewarded and praised rather than ostracized. If Britain is to win the battle against Islamist extremism, public officials need to be held to account for their irresponsible choice of partners.
A British government body responsible for monitoring the counter-terrorism procedures among Britain's 44 police forces has admitted, the Daily Telegraph reports, to employing "one of Britain's most notorious Islamic extremists."
Abdullah Al-Andalusi, whose real name is Mouloud Farid, worked at Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, at which he was privy to "highly sensitive and classified police and intelligence information."
Andalusi passed the required security checks despite his public reputation for collaborating with extremist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist movement, and CAGE, a pro-jihadist group that worked closely with the ISIS executioner "Jihadi John."
Writing on Facebook, Andalusi has claimed the Pakistani Taliban is "demonised" by "Western media" and "Pakistani liberals." Andalusi argues that the Taliban's attempted assassination of the schoolgirl Malala Yousefzai was an unavoidable consequence of "Western foreign policy." The Taliban, Andalusi argues, are advocates of women's education, but are merely "flawed" and "paranoid" in the face of "Western imperialist encroachment."
Andalusi also writes that "democracy, secularism, feminism, humanism, and freedom" are "blatantly un-Islamic concepts."
Abdullah Al-Andalusi. (Image source: Oxford Union video screenshot)
In 2014, Andalusi and his organization, the Muslim Debate Initiative, joined forces with CAGE, Hizb ut-Tahrir and other Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood groups, to demonstrate in support of Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate who has admitted to providing "small arms and mountain tactics" at al-Qaeda training camps.
At this event, Andalusi spoke alongside notorious extremists such as Haitham Al-Haddad, who describes Jews as "apes and pigs"; Asim Qureshi, who has urged British Muslims to "support the jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries when they are facing the oppression of the West"; and Ismail Patel, a pro-Hamas activist who advocates the killing of adulterers.
During a television appearance in early 2015, Andalusi refused to condemn the killing of apostates. Further, Andalusi refused to comment on remarks made by his occasional speaking partner, Haitham Al-Haddad, in support of wife-beating and killing homosexuals.
After the Muslim Brotherhood was elected to government in Egypt, Andalusi criticized the Brotherhood for implementing Islamic law too slowly. He stated: May "God hasten Egypt to an Islamic future ... war against oppressors, and the re-establishment of Caliphate."
Elsewhere, Andalusi writes that the fighting in Syria demonstrates the Muslim world is divided into two sides: one that is "filled with the ranks of the defeatists, the silent, the supplicators to the West, and the collaborators"; while the "other side fights with all its might for justice, liberation and the revival of Islam and Caliphate."
Evidently, Abdullah Al-Andalusi is not a suitable employee for a government body that monitors counter-terrorism efforts. He is not, however, the only Islamist to have dazzled the government and the police.
Just a few months ago, in fact, the Bedfordshire police force published a photo of one of its officers "standing against hate crime and intolerance" with Qadeer Baksh, the chairman of Luton Islamic Centre. Baksh has declared that in an "ideal" Islamic state, homosexuality would be punished with death.
Extremist influence also extends to counter-terrorism programs. Earlier this month, The Times published an editorial in praise of certain groups and individuals working to combat extremism in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal.
The Times expressed support for a group in Birmingham called "Upstanding Neighbourhoods," a charity that ostensibly provides school pupils with a "powerful and timely counter-narrative to that of fanaticism and martyrdom."
These efforts are led by the director of the charity, Sulaimaan Samuel, who is part of the government's counter-terrorism programme, "Channel." Channel works to "safeguard those at risk of being drawn into terrorism." The government funds Samuel directly to organize workshops for Muslim youth.
Samuel's message to young children is that ISIS and its cheerleaders must be rejected. Samuel is rather more enthusiastic, however, about other Islamist causes.
His social media postings present an extremist narrative. He promotes posters celebrating "67 years of resistance" to the state of Israel. He has circulated messages in praise of the pro-jihadist group CAGE, claimed that Israel is "planning a Holocaust of Gaza's civilians," and has promoted the pro-Hamas Islamist convert, Yvonne Ridley.
Samuel has frequently circulated material written by Majid Freeman, an Islamist commentator who encourages European Muslims to "do jihad in Syria," and has posted "tributes" to the late Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki.
In addition, Samuel posts commentary by a number of notorious extremist preachers. He has promoted the views of Sheikh Khalid Yasin, an American-born preacher who calls for killing homosexuals and beating women. The convicted terrorist Michael Adebowale, who beheaded the British soldier Lee Rigby on the streets of London, has cited Yasin as his inspiration.
Given the sort of views and preachers to which Samuel subscribes, it is clear he should not be entrusted with work in publicly funded counter-extremism. But in the eyes of the media and government, Samuel's arguments against ISIS make him a suitable "moderate."
The newspapers are full of support for problematic groups. The Times has reported on the work of Tauheedul, a charity that runs seven schools across Britain. Its work in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal has won them praise. Jonathan Simons, the head of education at Policy Exchange, a prominent London think tank, has declared: "Tauheedul Education should be the new name on every policymaker's lips."
Tauheedul, however, is a flagship charity of the Deobandi movement, a hardline sect of Islam that produced the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The movement's leading preachers in Britain include Riyadh ul Haq, who has called on Muslims to "shed blood" for Allah. According to the very same paper that has recently praised the Tauheedul charity, Ul Haq and his fellow Deobandi preachers have encouraged "a deep-rooted hatred of Western society, admiration for the Taleban and a passionate zeal for martyrdom 'in the way of Allah.'"
Tauheedul schools openly identify as Deobandi institutions.
At Tauheedul Islam Girls' High School, schoolgirls were ordered "to wear the hijab outside the school and home" and "not bring stationery to school that contains un-Islamic images."
Visitors invited to the school have included the Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, who has referred to Jews as "pigs" and "scum of the human race." Al-Sudais blames misfortune on the "sins" of women, such as "unveiling, mingling with men, and being indifferent to the hijab."
Other Tauheedul-run schools have invited preachers such as Ismail Menk, who describes homosexuals as "filthy" and worse than "dogs and pigs."
In 2014, undercover footage broadcast on British television revealed staff at a Tauheedul school advocating that all music should be banned and homosexuals should be "stoned to death."
Despite this long history of extremism, in 2015, Abdul Hamid Patel, the Chief Executive of Tauheedul, was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Honours list.
As well as his work at Tauheedul, Patel manages another Islamic charity with a number of prominent Salafist and Deobandi clerics, including Qari Ziyaad Patel, who has sung nasheeds [Islamic songs] in support of the Taliban.
Once again, hardline preachers and Islamist extremists have been rewarded and praised rather than ostracized. If Britain is to win the battle against Islamist extremism, public officials need to be held to account for their irresponsible choice of partners.
 John Bradley, Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 170.
- Follow Samuel Westrop on Twitter
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.