On the surface, the Unite Against Fascism movement appears to be a promising prospect. A counterbalance to the ignorance and promotion of violence of groups like the English Defence League. Fighting Fascism is indeed a noble cause. It is well known that Fascism tends to gain support during economic downturns. We see Golden Dawn in Greece capitalising on that, whilst the ruling authorities have absolutely no idea how to deal with the growing threat from the far right. And so grass roots, anti-Fascist organisations are indeed welcome, and necessary. But slowly peel away the top layer of the UAF, and we’re left with a rather bleak picture. A stinging lack of consistency, and in fact, we see a leadership closer in authoritarian far-right principles, to the EDL, than either side would care to admit.
On the UAF website we are treated to the names of the elected officials in charge of running the operation. Azad Ali being one of the Vice Chairs. Ali was also community affairs coordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe. During a Dispatches undercover report a couple of years back, Ali, when asked his feelings on Democracy, implied his rather Fascist tendencies thusly:
“Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that”.
The Islamic Forum of Europe itself, produced a leaflet in which it noted that one of its main goals was to change the:
“very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.”
And how would that change from “ignorance” to “Islam” be noticable to the ordinary citizen of a Country that Azad’s group wishes to replace democratic secularism with? Well, they kindly tell us:
“Protect yourselves from all types of haram … music, TV, and freemixing with women in that which is not necessary.”
Predictably, in much the same way that the BNP and EDL blame the media for misrepresenting what they say, by presenting, well, what they actually say, the IFE commented:
“I write to express my disgust and disappointment at Channel 4’s wholly inaccurate and defamatory accusations … The documentary is Islamophobic in nature … uses emotive and provocative language … is part of a series of organised, vindictive and orchestrated witch-hunts.”
Equally as predictable, George Galloway referred to the Dispatches programme as a smear campaign. But then, he also noted that he owed his election to the IFE. And of course, let’s not forget that Mr Galloway openly & happily funds Hamas. So I’m not sure such a man is worth listening to when bemoaning smear campaigns against religious Fascists. When calling it a smear campaign didn’t work, Ali simply resorted to subtle threats. On the IFE radio station, sounding like an EDL thug, Ali said of the Dispatches reporter:
“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?”
Ali also keeps a blog for the IFE, on which, in 2008, he openly lavishes praise on Imam Anwar Awlaki. Awlaki is of course known for being a key player in the planning of terrorist attacks for Al Qaeda, and a key recruiter for such enterprises. He preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers. Azad Ali, the Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism says of Awlaki, on the subject of US elections:
“….one of my favourite speakers and scholars Imam Anwar Awlaki – of course those of you who know me will know that I disagree with the Shaykh on this matter – however I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”
– Oh that old endearing, lovable mass murdering terrorist.
It isn’t just George Galloway who has a bit of a love affair with Hamas. Ali also praises them:
“Today we read from the leader of Hamas, their strength and courage and sheer determination to stand up to the Zionist onslaught. Let us to do something to help them by holding our government to account for the lack of transparency. Until we have a clear unequivicol and unconditional condemnation of the Zionist state’s terrorist attacks, they can – talk to the hand, cos the head aint listening!”
– Yes! The strength of courage of Hamas. The leadership of Hamas! All praise be to a group that gleefully pronounces in its Charter that:
“The state of truth has disappeared and was replaced by the state of evil. Nothing has remained in its right place, for when Islam is removed from the scene, everything changes. These are the motives. As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place.”
– The “State of Evil” naturally being anything that isn’t fundamentalist Islamic. Ali is wrong to promote Hamas as simply a force that wishes to prevent any further Israeli aggression against Palestinian Muslims. This isn’t the goal of Hamas, and never has been. Their goal has always been a resurrected Caliphate, under the shoddy assumption that the entire Middle East is Muslim. Hamas are not angry at Israel’s aggression, they are angry that Israel isn’t Islamic. This is the very epitome of Imperialism. How do we know this? Well, we can start by looking at their Charter, in which Part III Article 11 states:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.”
Their distinct lack of dedication to any peace effort, is also noted in their Charter:
“…the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad”
– Their entire Charter reads like one long anti-semitic, violent, anti-democracy, anti-anything that isn’t Islamic, rant that isn’t all that dissimilar in tone and pronouncements, to those of Fascists like Anders Breivik. It seems extremism comes full circle. Imperialism, and nothing else.
Azad Ali’s motives for fighting the Fascism of the Nationalists like the EDL is not the same as the rest of us. We value our secular, democratic system. We value the heroes who have fought for centuries to get to where we are now, the philosophers that have shaped our way of thought. We value the forward march of equality for gender, for sexuality. We value the right to believe whatever you wish and be treated equally under the Secular law. Ali values none of this. He is fighting groups like the EDL, because they don’t fit into his Theocratic dream for the future of Britain. On his blog, Ali quite disturbingly writes:
So, since we are all working our socks off, in different ways, for the resurgence of the Khilafa, I have one question who would you give bayyah to today and what would you say are the qualities needed for them to get your vote? Please, no essays or dissertations!
– Here, Ali is wishing for an Islamic candidate to stand for election, on the platform of dismantling our entire Parliamentary secular system; to be replaced by a Theocratic Caliphate. This would naturally include far less rights for women (whom, according to Hamas’s charter, are to only be educated in how to keep a household in order), homosexuality crushed viciously, and anything the Fascists deem to be “haram” banned…. goodbye Glastonbury Festival, you banquet of immoral hedonism, you, with your… music.
How is this putrid philosophy any better, or more respectable, than that of the BNP or EDL?
The love fest with Hamas keeps going, with Ali. After declaring that he’s working his socks off for a brand new Islamic Empire, he announces to us all, his ideal candidate:
“My vote for the title of Amir al-Mu’mineen would have to go to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Not only is a motivational leader, with political depth and skill, but also he is a Hafiz of the Qur’an, Mashallah!”
– Ismail Haniyeh is a top political leader of Hamas, who, upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden, said:
“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”
– Azad Ali would like to see a candidate like Haniyeh stand for election in a secular democratic country like the UK. A man who praises Osama Bin Laden, leads Hamas, and wishes to see a global Islamic Empire. Fight against Fascism? Are you kidding me?
Ali doesn’t stop there. He keeps reiterating his intense opposition to secular democracy, by echoing the thoughts of Hamas:
“Of course I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms, and not on terms set by others. Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by “rules” that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter? These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God. This is manifested in almost every Western government’s foreign policy in the guise of spreading democracy. If only they would spread freedom!”
– The rather curious line “I am still convinced that participation is correct” that precedes a tearing up of Western democratic and secular ideals, can only be seen as essentially a far-right Islamic rehash of “I’m not racist, but….“. The point being, he is convinced democratic participation is correct, just not Western Secular Democracy, which is full of immorality solely based on the fact that it isn’t ordained by his particular God.
The theme running through a lot of far-right Muslim commentators, is indeed rooted in their utter contempt for liberal, secular values. As much as some would like us to believe that it is Western aggressive foreign policy that Islamic fundamentalists like Ali are responding to, it really doesn’t play out when we read what they have to say. It is an excuse. A game of victimhood whilst promoting an eerily similar imperialist, and fascist agenda, they claim to be fighting against. They really do dislike, and wish to see dismantled, Western secular liberalism. This cannot be seen to be all that different from the authoritarian, far right principles espoused by groups like the BNP.
If we are to unite against Fascism, we must unite against all forms of Fascism. Including that coming from dangerous and vicious extremists like Ali. The UAF website says:
“Fascists and racists are trying to take advantage of the terrible murder of Lee Rigby to whip up racism and hatred for their own anti-democratic ends.”
– I couldn’t agree more. And that is why I cannot support an organisation that claims to be a beacon of anti-Fascist principles, when one of its key players, praises Hamas, loves Awlaki, wishes to resurrect a barbaric, backward, Theocratic Empire, and considers those of us who value secularism and democracy to be inherently immoral. This is nothing more than fighting Fascism with Fascism.