Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A good reason not to buy Rowntrees confectionery

The radical cleric accused of inspiring the cargo bomb plot has been backed by a prominent British campaign group which has financial support from leading charities.

Cageprisoners, a self-styled human rights organisation, has a long association with Anwar al-Awlaki, who was last week accused of being one of the figures behind the terrorist plot to blow up cargo planes which saw a powerful device defused at East Midlands Airport.

The Islamic preacher, based in Yemen, was invited to address two Cageprisoners' fundraising dinners via video link, one last year and one in 2008.

The group has now told its backers that it no longer supports the cleric and that it "disagreed" with him over "the killing of civilians". But an examination of the Cageprisoners website last week suggested that its support for the cleric was as strong as ever.

Cageprisoners was set up to lobby on behalf of terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay and those monitored under control orders in the UK.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that it is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, a Quaker-run fund set up by the chocolate-maker and philanthropist a century ago, and The Roddick Foundation, a charity set up by the family of Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder, after her death three years ago.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is giving Cageprisoners £170,000 in donations over three years - with the latest payment due this month - and The Roddick Foundation another £25,000.

In its website, recently re-branded with some of the charities' cash, Cageprisoners carries more than 20 articles about al-Awlaki, describing him as an 'inspiration' and casting doubt on the evidence he is involved in terrorism.

Awlaki is believed by Western intelligence services to be an ideological figurehead of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group blamed for the cargo bombs. Last year he praised the Muslim US soldier who killed 13 colleagues at Fort Hood, Texas.

Yet despite the heads of both MI5 and MI6 saying Awlaki uses the internet to foment terrorism, the Cageprisoners website also contains video messages from the American-born radical.

Cageprisoners - a not for profit company - is headed by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, and also employs Feroz Ali Abbasi, another detainee freed from the controversial US base.

As recently as last month its website highlighted claims by Yemeni politicians that they had "never been given evidence against [Awlaki]".

Earlier in the year one leading activist wrote: "Anwar al-Awlaki's contribution to Cageprisoners has always been positive, particularly when invited to our events he has only spoken from his experiences as a former prisoner."

Mr Begg, born in Birmingham, was detained by the Americans for nearly three years after being arrested in Pakistan and accused of being an al-Qaeda terrorist.

He has interviewed al-Awlaki, and earlier this year he wrote that it "was evident that he commanded a large following and great respect amongst many Muslims".

But Mr Begg added that, after Awlaki's alleged torture while held in Yemen in 2006, "I am told, Anwar's position on issues pertaining to the US foreign policy had started to become more hostile... "I wonder if it was terribly surprising if ... after suffering abuse I know only too well US agents to be capable of, [he] now allegedly lauds the Fort Hood shootings as deeds of heroism."

Other articles on the Cageprisoners website raise further questions.

One, on the death of Faraj Hassan, a former control order detainee, said he had died with a smile on his face "similar to the smiles we are used to seeing in videos of those martyred in the way of Allah while fighting in foreign war zones".

Hassan, a Libyan who was accused of an attempted church bombing in Italy, was killed in a road crash in August. The Cageprisoners article added: 'His death … may serve as the fertilizer that serves to revive the spirit of jihad in the Muslims of Britain."

Despite the group's views, it is still being provided with money by the Joseph Rowntree charity, to help with its "core costs", and by the Roddick Foundation, which is run by the late businesswoman's widower Gordon and other members of her family.

Cageprisoners has also received the backing of Amnesty International, which last year faced a public row when one of its staff was forced to quit after calling Amnesty's links to Cageprisoners "a gross error of judgement".

Cageprisoners also received a further £131,000 in donations last year from other undisclosed sources. It has used the money to pay for a rapid expansion of its work. It now has three full-time and one part-time staff members who are paid a total of £64,000 a year.

Last night Stephen Pittman, Secretary of the Joseph Rowntree Trust, defended his charity's funding of the group.


British Think Tank Wins Libel Action Brought by Mosque

A UK think-tank has an announcement that it has defeated a libel action brought against it by a London mosque over the publication of its report "The Hijacking of British Islam." According to the announcement by the Policy Exchange:
Policy Exchange is pleased to report that the libel action brought by the North London Central Mosque (NLCM) against it over its report The Hijacking of British Islam has now ended, following the dismissal of NLCM's appeal against the order of Mr Justice Eady.

NLCM has paid a substantial contribution towards Policy Exchange's costs.

A statement agreed between the parties appears on our website here. Policy Exchange has not apologised to NLCM for the publication of its report.

In September 2008, the North London Central Mosque sought to sue Policy Exchange for libel over claims made in its report The Hijacking of British Islam. Policy Exchange denied that the claims were libelous.

On 26 November 2009, Mr Justice Eady struck out NLCM's claim on the grounds that the NLCM lacked the capacity to sue in respect of the report.

NLCM sought the Court's permission to appeal. This was twice refused. It was granted by Lord Justice Sedley on 21 April 2010 on the third time of asking. Lord Justice Sedley nevertheless emphasised that he did not believe there was a realistic prospect of NLCM overturning Mr Justice Eady's ruling.

In the meantime, in February 2010 the trustees of the mosque abandoned their individual claims in libel against Policy Exchange in respect of the same report and paid a substantial contribution to Policy Exchange's legal costs.

In October 2010 NLCM discontinued its appeal and paid a substantial contribution to Policy Exchange's legal costs. Following that agreement the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 5 October 2010. Policy Exchange agreed to publish the statement which appears here.

Policy Exchange has not apologised to either the mosque or the trustees for the publication of the report. The case is now closed. A spokesman for Policy Exchange said: `We are delighted that this case has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.'

The Policy Exchange investigation found that radical material, much of it from Saudi Arabia, was available in 25% of the mosques visited including some of the most important mosques in the U.K. According to the report summary:
On the one hand, the results were reassuring: in only a minority of institutions - approximately 25% - was radical material found. What is more worrying is that these are among the best-funded and most dynamic institutions in Muslim Britain - some of which are held up as mainstream bodies. Many of the institutions featured here have been endowed with official recognition. This has come in the form of, official visits from politicians and even members of the Royal Family; provision of funding; `partnership' associations; or some other seal of approval.

Within the literature identified here, a number of key themes emerge - many of which focus around the twin concepts of `loyalty' and `enmity'. Simply put, these notions demand that the individual Muslim must not merely feel deep affection for and identity with, his fellow believers and with all that is authentically Islamic. The individual Muslim must also feel an abhorrence for non-believers, hypocrites, heretics, and all that is deemed `un-Islamic'. The latter category encompasses those Muslims who are judged to practise an insufficiently rigorous form of Islam. Much of the material is thus infused with a strident sectarianism, in which many Muslims - particularly the very large number of Sufis in this country and around the world - are placed beyond the pale.

More widely, Muslims are urged to separate themselves from people and things that are not considered Islamic; a separation that is to be mental, emotional, and at times, even physical. Western society, in particular, is held to be sinful, corrosive and corrupting for Muslims. Western values - particularly concerning the position and rights of women and in the realm of sexuality generally - are rejected as inimical to Islam.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella organization heavily dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, responded to the report by stating:
The Hijacking of British Islam' plumbs new depths in the ongoing and transparent attempts to try and delegitimise popular mainstream Islamic institutions in the UK and replace them with those who are subservient to neo-conservative aims. The report cultivates an insidious programme of generating sectarianism amongst British Muslims by preferring some traditions of Islam over others.

Many of the mosques identified in the Policy Exchange report are members of the MCB.

The British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a U.K. Muslim Brotherhood organization claimed that the report itself was "wildly fabricated."and called on the Conservative Party to "reconsider their close relationship with Policy Exchange."


'Race relation' threat to British shopkeeper for selling a book that pokes fun at the French

When it comes to humour - and much else - the two nations have rarely seen eye to eye. And the British ability to rattle the sangfroid of the French still appears to be in good working order.

For when shopkeeper Alyson Jackson began stocking a book titled 50 Reasons to Hate the French, the joke apparently got lost in translation. As a result, Miss Jackson has received complaints from French families who have threatened to report her to `race relations'. However, the former policewoman has vowed to continue selling the popular book, which she says is `just a bit of fun'.

The controversial hardback, by Alex Clarke and Jules Eden, mocks the demise of Concorde, questions the merit of French food and describes the beret as `the devil's own cowpat'.

Perhaps more pertinently, the Gallic sense of humour also gets a bashing. But it seems the French didn't see the funny side. A week after the book went on sale in Mish Mash in Battersea, south London, a woman phoned the shop to voice her disgust. In a voicemail message, she said: `We found your book in the window in extremely bad taste. What are you thinking of? This isn't the thing to do. We are a French family and offended. We have sense of humour about ourselves but, really, please.'

A second woman, who called herself Madame Duval, left a recorded message a week later, saying: `You may find it amusing but I'm afraid we do not. `We will be getting in touch with race relations about this. Now you may think this is a little heavy handed but it's not, so if you would like to remove the books that would be something.'

Miss Jackson said she was shocked by the reaction. `I just thought I would put them in the shop as Christmas approached as a possible gift idea. I just thought it would be a little bit of fun,' she added.

`We have always had a love-hate relationship with the French. Everyone knows we are supposed to hate the French and they are supposed to hate us. But it is a joke. If they read the book they would see that. `The fact is I actually like the French. All the French I have ever met have been quite lovely. `We just enjoy having a bit of a dig now and again. The striking recently is a good example. We all had a good grumble about that.'

She added that she has already sold half her stock of the book - and plans to get more copies in.


The British railway passenger told it's too dangerous to take a cup of tea to his seat

A passenger was banned from carrying a cup of tea back to his seat on a train because of health-and-safety rules. Instead, one of the buffet staff carried Tore Fauske's drink to his seat for him, walking two steps behind the bemused traveller.

Interpreter and author Mr Fauske was told that carrying the tea back through the carriage would pose a danger to other passengers because buffet car staff did not have a paper bag in which to put the plastic cup.

The 79-year-old was returning home to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on the 12.30pm service from Birmingham New Street. He said: `I use this train service all the time and they normally give you a small paper bag to carry your tea in. But this time they didn't have any. `The lady was very apologetic but she said I couldn't have a tea because there were no bags.

When I asked her why not, she said it was for health-and-safety reasons. She said they wouldn't be able to let anyone carry a cup of tea without a bag through the train. I thought it was a joke. `In the end the member of staff had to walk behind me carrying the tea in case I fell over. This is the first time I've had my own personal tea caddy. He walked two steps behind me the whole way back to my seat.' Mr Fauske said the same thing had happened to other passengers.

A spokesman for CrossCountry Trains, which operates the service, said: `It was a health-and-safety issue. It's to prevent customers pouring hot water over themselves or other people on the train. `We had run out of paper bags and a member of staff stepped in to help out.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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