Azad Ali is a British Islamist and a spokesman for the Islamic Forum of Europe. He was founding chair of the Muslim Safety Forum, is Vice-Chair of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), and director of engagement at Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND). He has also been employed as an IT worker and civil servant for the Treasury.
Muslim Safety ForumEdit
Ali was founding-chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum from 2006. While in that post, he became a "key member" of the Metropolitan Police's 'Communities Together Strategic Group', chaired by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rose Fitzpatrick, which met fortnightly to "oversee and review community reassurance and engagement measures" involving the Muslim community. Ali was also a member of the Kratos Review Group, to examine the Met's response to suicide bombings.
Ali left the post of chairman in 2008, then resigned entirely from MSF in 2009 after publicity over his extremist comments. In July 2010, he was reinstated as MSF’s chairman.
Links to al-QaedaEdit
Ali has stated that he has attended talks with Abu Qatada of al-Qaeda. In a 2008 IFE blog, Ali called al-Qaeda's Anwar Al-Awlaki "one of my favourite scholars and speakers". Ali has denied that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were terrorism.
Comments on British soldiersEdit
In 2009, Ali was suspended as a civil servant in the Treasury after he praised Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, Osama bin Laden's key mentor, and wrote approvingly on his blog of Azzam's son saying that as a Muslim he is religiously obliged to kill British soldiers in Iraq. In the blog he also criticised the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband after the minister had condemned the Palestinian Muslim militant organisation Hamas for encouraging attacks on Israeli civilians. The exposé was by The Mail on Sunday, whom Ali unsuccessfully sued in 2010. Later that year, the Labour Party were accused by the opposition Conservatives of appearing with Ali to gain Muslim votes, after two Labour ministers, Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, spoke at a campaign event with Ali. He used his speech to praise the Muslim militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
When a documentary on the Islamic Forum of Europe was made by the Channel 4 programme Dispatches in 2010, an undercover reporter filmed Ali saying "Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that." Ali later attacked the undercover reporter on the IFE's official radio station, saying: "We've got a picture of you and a lot more than you thought we had. We've tracked you down to different places. And if people are gonna turn what I've just said into a threat, that's their fault, innit?" Andrew Gilligan, who produced the documentary, has labelled Ali as an "Islamic fascist".
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