Islamic Forum of Europe
Official logo of the IFE
|Headquarters||East London Mosque, Tower Hamlets, London, UK|
|Dr Abdul Bari |
Musleh Faradhi Habibur Rahman, Dilowar Hussain Khan
|Affiliations||European Council for Fatwa and Research |
Muslim Council of Britain
IFE was founded in 1988 as a British Bangladeshi professional group, by, amongst others, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, who stands accused of at least 18 murders as well as war crimes in his native Bangladesh. Its first president was Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari who later became chairman of the East London Mosque, succeeded by Musleh Faradhi as President since 2005.
It was reportedly founded by former members of the Jamaat-e-Islami, with whom it came into conflict over management of the East London Mosque "throughout the late 1980s" resulting in "two High Court injunctions" in 1990 in "response to violence" at the mosque. Dawat'ul Islam is now based at another mosque, Jamiatul Ummah Bigland Street.
It has also worked with the street protest group United East End that opposes the English Defence League (EDL) and part of the Enough Coalition, an umbrella group which aims to tackle anti-Muslim hatred, and that includes organisations such as the Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Federation of Student Islamic Societies, Unite Against Fascism and the East London Mosque.
Islamic Forum TrustEdit
It also set up the Oldham Muslim Centre (OMC) branch at a cost of £2.2m which opened in April 2010. Vice chairman of the project Syed Badrul Alam, and Central President of the IFE Mohammad Habibur Rahman were at the opening. The trust also owns 120-122 Chadderton Way, also in Oldham.
IFE is also reported as the group which runs the East London Mosque, which is located close to its offices. IFE and the mosque have hosted many notable persons and religious leaders including Prince Charles, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Fiona MacTaggart, Brendan Barber, Dr Yasir Qadhi, Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, Saud Al-Shuraim, Salah Al Budair, Bakir Izetbegović, Jamal Badawi, Allama Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and many others.
Farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick blamed the organisation for sex segregation policies at the mosque after attending an Islamic wedding held at the venue which strictly seated men and women separately.
A Dispatches documentary aired on 1 March 2010 suggested the IFE are an extremist organization with a hidden agenda that went against Britain's democratic values. Dispatches quoted Azad Ali, the IFE's community affairs coordinator, as saying, "Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that". Ali's controversial blog Between the Lines was also hosted by the IFE.
However, in a comment piece in The Guardian newspaper, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain suggested that many of the people interviewed on the programme had hidden agendas of their own and noted that Jim Fitzpatrick, who suggested the Labour Party had been infiltrated by IFE members, was to be challenged for his seat by George Galloway in the forthcoming general election who had overturned a 10,000+ majority held by Oona King at the 2005 election.
Galloway was recorded as saying that his 2005 election owed "more than I can say, more than it would be wise for me to say, to the Islamic Forum of Europe." Responding to the Dispatches programme, Galloway denounced it as a smear, credited the IFE only as one of several groups that helped his anti-war campaign, and claimed to know little about the IFE's membership or policies.
The programme also claimed that the IFE also helped Lutfur Rahman to gain the leadership of Tower Hamlets Council from 2008 until 2010. Six unknown Labour councillors told Dispatches that a senior IFE official had threatened to mobilise the group's supporters against them if they did not support the candidate. IFE in a response to the programme stated that the programme "Presented a grossly inaccurate and misleading picture of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). The programme failed to broadcast IFE’s responses to many of the allegations and therefore failed in its basic obligation of fair, honest and balanced reporting."
The IFE and Young Muslim Organisation were featured in the book The Islamist by Ed Husain, where he explains that the Young Muslim Organisation attracts mainly English-speaking Asian youths, providing circles or talks daily at the East London Mosque; while teaching about Islam, it covers the political system of the religion.
In Feb 2010 The Daily Telegraph described the group as "a sophisticated political group with a structured rank system and hardline goals. Prospective recruits must attend training. One undercover reporter was told that she would have to take an exam and swear an oath of allegiance and ordered to keep her membership of the IFE a secret." Robert Lambert, at the time co-director of the University of Exeter's European Muslim Research Centre, criticized the accusations, maintaining that youth workers from the Islamic Forum of Europe were actively working to oppose the influence of extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and Al Muhajiroun: "the brave Muslims involved have received no praise for their outstanding bravery and good citizenship, and instead faced a never ending barrage of denigration."
- Azad Ali, spokesman for Islamic Forum of Europe
- Responding to the call Archived 20 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, IFE website
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- "Islamophobia OFF our campuses!". Islamic Forum of Europe. October 2014. Archived from the original on 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- telegraph.co.uk: "Cage: the extremists peddling lies to British Muslims to turn them into supporters of terror", 28 February 2015
- "Islamic Forum Trust Financial Statements Year Ended 31 March 2012" (PDF). Charity Commission. Islamic Forum Trust. pp. 1, 10. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
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- "Muslim centre will be 'open to all'". Manchester Evening News. 18 April 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Community welcomes Oldham Muslim Centre". Manchester Evening News. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Delwar Hussain, "Bangladeshis in East London: from secular politics to Islam Archived 12 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine", openDemocracy, 7 July 2006
- theguardian.com: "East London mosque awaits EDL march with fear and frustration", 6 September 2013
- Roel Meijer, Edwin Bakker. The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Columbia University Press, 2012.
- bbc.co.uk: "Prince joins Ramadan ceremony", 23 November 2001
- British Prime Minister Blair praises Malaysia The Star, 24 July 2004
- Makkah imam leads prayers in London DAWN.com
- TUC wants Muslim 'poverty' ended BBC
- Al-Sudais launches second expansion of London mosque Archived 13 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Saudi Gazette. Retrieved on 13 September 2010.
- Andrew Gilligan (16 May 2010). "Radical Muslims lose grip on London council". The Daily Telegraph.
- Liz Stephens, Jim Fitzpatrick walks out of Muslim wedding, 14 August 2009, politics.co.uk
- Tom Savage, Minister's Muslim wedding ban fury, 14 August 2009
- Andrew Gilligan, Backlash at the mosque, Daily Telegraph, 13 March 2010
- Andrew Gilligan, "IFE: not harmless democrats", The Guardian, 4 March 2010
- Andrew Gilligan (22 October 2010). "'Britain's Islamic republic': full transcript of Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Lutfur Rahman, the IFE and Tower Hamlets". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- Gilligan, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Mayor gives £30,000 of taxpayers' money to Muslim group led by 'extremist'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Luft, Oliver (28 January 2010). "'Kill British' blog man fails in MoS libel bid". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- Inayat Bunglawala, "Watch out: democratic Muslims about", The Guardian, 3 March 2010
- Andrew Gilligan, "Lutfur Rahman: yet more backers he really shouldn't want", Daily Telegraph, 16 September 2010
- George Galloway, Galloway's Rebuke to Dispatches Programme. Socialist Unity. 1 March 2010
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Islamic Forum Europe.
- The Islamist, pp. 52-60.
- Lambert, Robert (12 August 2011). "Muslims tackle looters and bigots". MWC News. Retrieved 14 August 2011.