Thursday, September 03, 2015

Man jailed for sexually abusing girl

Fazul-Ur Rehman, 44, told the child she was “a good girl” as he touched her to try and stop her from telling anyone.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Rehman, of Spencer Road, Seven Kings, sexually assaulted the youngster, leaving her confused and terrified.
She eventually told her parents what had happened.
Rehman denied three counts of sexual activity with a child, but was convicted after a four-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
His victim was forced to come to court and gave evidence from behind a screen.
Jailing Rehman for three years, Judge Martyn Zeidman said: “In advance of the trial you heard her pre-recorded interview, you knew what she was saying was the truth.
“But instead of pleading guilty you decided to bluff it out – it was your right to do so, but it knocks out what would have been useful mitigation.
“It would have avoided her having to come to court to be cross-examined.
“Inevitably the process causes suffering and you had the power to prevent that but chose not to do so.”
Rehman was also banned indefinitely from having unsupervised contact with girls under 16 by a sexual harm prevention order.
To the victim and her family, Judge Zeidman said: “Before parting from this case I would like to pay tribute to the complainant for her bravery in pursuing the case.
“She was an impeccable witness of truth and I would like her to know that she commands the respect of all who heard her in court.”

Britain must ban sharia "kangaroo courts", say activists

Britain's new government must abolish Islamic sharia courts, campaigners said on Monday, describing them as "kangaroo courts" that deliver second-rate justice and trample over the rights of women and children.

They called for the government to stick to pre-election promises to hold an inquiry into sharia courts which first appeared in Britain in the mid-1980s.

"Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of 'Sharia courts' over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage," nearly 200 women's rights and secular campaigners said in a statement.

"Though the 'Sharia courts' have been touted as people's right to religion, they are in fact, effective tools of the far-right Islamist movement whose main aim is to restrict and deny rights, particularly those of women and children."

It has been reported that there are 85 such courts in Britain, but the number is unknown. The courts -- called sharia councils -- deal mostly with family matters, in particular divorce.

Campaigners say women in abusive relationships are being forced to return to their husbands while others end up in destitution following divorce under sharia law. Many women also lose custody of their children after divorce.

The courts give a woman's testimony only half the weight of that of a man, campaigners say, and sons inherit twice the share of daughters.

Sharia councils contacted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation were not immediately available for comment. But the Islamic Sharia Council in east London says on its website that it takes a "harsh stance" on domestic violence, never forces a woman to stay with a husband she wants to divorce and always insists that couples refer custody issues to civil courts.

The campaigners' statement called on the government to stop the development of parallel legal systems and to defend the principle of one law for all.

The 197 signatories include women's rights groups and secular organisations along with prominent writers, academics, journalists and lawyers. Many of the signatories are from a Muslim background.

Britain's Home Office said on Monday that a review into sharia courts would be included in a counter extremism strategy to be announced soon.

Some supporters of sharia councils have suggested problems with the system should be addressed through regulation, but opponents say the courts simply should not exist.

"Opposing 'Sharia courts' is not racism or 'Islamophobic'; it is a defence of the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their beliefs and background to be governed by democratic means under the principle of one law for all," the statement added.

The statement also called for the government review to examine the impact of "draconian" legal aid cuts which they said were increasingly forcing abused women from minority backgrounds to go to sharia courts to sort out family legal proceedings.

Sharia law derives from the Koran and the Hadiths, the sayings and customs attributed to the Prophet Mohammad, as well as rulings by Islamic scholars.

But the statement pointed out that sharia laws are contested in many Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan. (Editing by Ros Russell;

 Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

Muslim schools accused of anti-Christian chanting in assemblies

Some Muslim schools "include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies" which is being ignored by the schools watchdog, it has been claimed.
The Christian Institute has said Ofsted and the Department for Education are not taking proper action to deal with some Islamic schools accused of bullying Christian pupils.
In a letter to Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary and a Christian, the Institute's director Colin Hart said "inadequate attention" had been given to the way Christian pupils were being taught.
He said it was "striking" that several official reports outlining examples of Muslim "intolerance" to Christians had gone ignored by Ofsted.
"You will see they include anti-Christian chanting in assemblies, GCSE pupils who opted to learn Christianity being left to teach themselves, and Christians being called 'ignorant' or 'liars' by teachers," he wrote.
It was "disturbing" that there had been a "complete lack of any specific plans of action to tackle anti-Christian intolerance", he added.
Mr Hart also accused the school's inspector of being part of the problem and said its methods for detecting bullying against Christians were "clearly inadequate".
"Ofsted may be part of the problem", he said.
"Whilst guidance from your department says there is no obligation on schools to promote gay marriage, there have been Ofsted inspections in several parts of the country where Ofsted inspectors have implied, via questioning of pupils, that they ought to accept gay marriage there have been Ofsted inspections in several parts of the country where Ofsted inspectors have implied, via questioning of pupils, that they ought to accept gay marriage.
"We are aware of several cases of this approach being taken with primary age pupils, some as young as six."
In a statement, Ofsted said: "Ofsted deplores bullying in all its forms. We expect schools to promote British values including mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
"However, it is nonsense to suggest that an Ofsted inspector would expect a school to have taught six year old pupils about same sex marriage."
A DfE spokesman said: "Bullying of any kind is unacceptable and all schools should take an active role in tackling it. We expect all schools to actively promote fundamental British values, which include mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
"Ofsted plays a key part in ensuring this takes place.
"Heads, teachers, governors and trustees are working tirelessly to resolve deep seated issues at these Birmingham schools which developed over a long period of time."

Man 'planned to kill US serviceman and tried to join IS'

Shazib Khan (l) and Junead Khan
Image copyrightJulia Quenzler
Image captionJunead Khan (right) and his uncle Shazib Khan were remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey in August
A 24-year-old man has appeared in court charged with planning to kill US military personnel based in the UK.
Junead Ahmed Khan is accused of plotting to run over a serviceman, possibly from an US air base in East Anglia, and then kill him with a knife.
Mr Khan was also charged, along with his uncle Shazib Ahmed Khan, 22, both from Luton, over attempting to join Islamic State in Syria.
Both men were remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on 10 August.
The men appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with being involved in preparation with the intention to commit acts of terrorism, dating between 1 August 2014 and 10 May 2015.
The additional count faced by Junead Khan dates between 10 May 2015 and 14 July 2015.
It is alleged Junead Khan - a delivery driver for TRG Logistics in Luton - planned to stage a car accident and then kill a US serviceman, a method of attack that has echoes of the murder of Lee Rigby two years ago.
The two men, of Marlow Avenue, were arrested a week ago in an operation involving officers from the national counter-terrorism network, and have been held at Southwark Police Station.
Another man, in his 30s, was also detained. He was released without charge on Monday night.
Searches were carried out at two addresses in the Luton area.

romeo conman promised marriage - and stole £120,000 from victims

Romeo conman Haider Ammar with one of his victims on holiday in Austria
A heartless romeo conman who duped women he met over a singles dating site with bogus sob stories into handing over £123,000 has been jailed for five years.
Among the web of lies told by Amar Haider was that he was training to be a pilot for Emirates air lines while he told one of the victims he needed cash to get him out of jail in Dubai.
The court was told that Haider, 28, of Augusta Road, Acocks Green, when his victims questioned him, said he would get gangland connections to murder their families.
Judge Nicholas Webb told Haider, who admitted three charges of fraud: “In each case your victim was a young, professional Muslim woman who, I have no doubt, you targeted, exploiting them emotionally and then financially, using a particularly cruel form of confidence trickery.
“You carried out your fraud at times with considerable skill and persistence, displaying on occasions very considerable acting ability.
“In two cases, when the victims became aware that you were defrauding them, you turned nasty, in one case threatening to go to the victim’s family.”
Romeo conman Haider Ammar who has been jailed for five years.
Romeo conman Haider Ammar who has been jailed for five years.
The judge said Haider had taken the life savings of one of the women leaving her with “crippling debts” while another had contemplated suicide.
Glyn Samuels, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said: “Each were first courted by the defendant and each victim believed she was in a serious relationship likely to lead to marriage.
“Hence their willingness to help their future husband.”
He said Haider, using a false name, had contacted the first victim through text messages.
The defendant, who already knew some details about her through his work with the AA, engaged in some “flirtatious” chat before they met on a number of occasions in different cities
At a time his victim believed the relationship was getting serious Haider telephoned her “in tears” claiming his father had suffered a stroke and was in a coma.
“She dropped everything and travelled to Birmingham to offer her support. In fact his father was not ill or in hospital. It was simply a ploy.”
Haider claimed that because of his father’s illness he was struggling financially and that his father also needed to be taken to the US for treatment which would cost £25,000.
The defendant also pretended that he was training to be a pilot in Oxford and he was having difficulties funding the course.
As a result she gave Haider, in around £30,000 over a 12 month period before her suspicions about him were aroused.
Mr Samuels said Haider had another woman, from Edinburgh, through a dating web site, and gave her the same story about training to be a pilot.
As part of his training he said he was going to Dubai and later rang her to say he was in jail and needed to raise £4,500 for his bail causing her to pawn family jewellery.
The figure demanded rose to £30,000 after the defendant claimed he had been involved in a road collision with some one who had died and that sum was needed to make the case “go away.”
Mr Samuels said Haider slightly changed his story with the final victim from Nottingham, saying he was an orphan and then claiming he needed to raise £80,000 to fight a court battle with one of his relatives.
She was made aware of the fraud when the defendant’s wife contacted her “out of the blue” and told her that her husband had been lying to her.
He said it was later discovered Haider had used four different bogus names when using the dating site which he had been banned from.
The only amount recovered, he said, was £1,100.
Trevor Meegan, defending, said: “It was not always a one way street. There were holidays, gifts, meals and weekends away. All three women did not pay for everything.
“He is some what of a Walter Mitty character and a fantasist, trying to impress and living a life style that his income could not fund.”
He said Haider’s wife was standing by him.
Detective Constable Debra Phillips, said: “The long jail sentence reflects the aggravating features. He’s left his victims with long-term financial worries that will affect them for many years: one victim is now faced with bankruptcy as a result.
“At the start of the relationship all three had substantial savings and held down well-paid jobs in the financial or marketing sector; they were cynically targeted by Haider because of their financial means. At one stage he was juggling relationships with his wife and two ‘girlfriends’.
“In addition to the financial loss, two of his victims were threatened and intimidated by Haider who said he had gangster connections and could arrange for them to carry out hits on their families.
“I hope the women can get their lives back on track and take some comfort that Haider has been jailed for several years and that his life has also been irreparably changed by his deceit.”

Asian man who played race card in row with his neighbour smirks and punches air after avoiding prison term

  • Property developer falsely accused neighbour's son-in-law of racist assault
  • Sanjay Chaddah said he was called a 'P**i' during dispute with Dean Paton
  • But police found CCTV footage that showed in fact he attacked Mr Paton
  • Yesterday Chaddah was given suspended sentence for assault and perjury
  • He punched the air with delight and smirked as he strolled free from court


All smiles: Sanjay Chaddah outside court yesterday
All smiles: Sanjay Chaddah outside court yesterday
A property developer who falsely accused his neighbour's son-in-law of a racist assault in a row over a new driveway smirked yesterday as he walked free from court.

Sanjay Chaddah concocted a 'tissue of lies', claiming Dean Paton had kicked him and called him a 'P**i' following the 18-month boundary dispute in a genteel village in the Wirral.

But the move backfired when police discovered that the altercation had been caught on CCTV and cleared Mr Paton of any wrongdoing.

Yesterday Chaddah, 43, who claimed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress, punched the air with delight as he strolled free from court after being given a six-month suspended sentence for common assault and perjury.

Liverpool Crown Court heard he had been embroiled in an ongoing spat with neighbours Steve and Tricia Boden after he dug up part of the block paving on their drive to make way for an ornate wall and railings around his home in Raby Mere.

Despite their objections, he carried on transforming his modest £300,000 four-bedroom detached home into what residents in the upmarket village describe as a 'Bollywood palace'.

 Things came to a head in July when Chaddah and his wife Deepa spotted their neighbours' son-in-law Mr Paton moving a fence panel on the day their new driveway was being laid.

Chaddah was so incensed he charged at Mr Paton, 31, and knocked him over.

Police were called and Chaddah falsely accused the archaeologist of racially aggravated assault, only to be caught out by frame-by-frame footage from his neighbours' CCTV cameras.

Last night Mr Paton said he was relieved the case was finally over. But he added: 'If I'd been prosecuted for racially aggravated assault you can bet I would have ended up in jail, not with a suspended prison sentence.


'I'm married with two kids but would have lost my business and my livelihood. Being branded racist – I couldn't really have been accused of anything worse.

'Chaddah is a bully who had to be told he couldn't take the law into his own hands.'

Another neighbour said: 'Everyone's had problems with them (the Chaddahs). They've built this Bollywood-style palace for themselves and don't give a monkey's about others in the street not being able to get in and out of their drives for builders.'

The court heard the dispute began when Mr and Mrs Boden, both 61, returned from a two-week holiday to Cuba to find their block paving had been dug up to make way for the Chaddahs' new 3ft tall wall and railings.

Around 18 months later, Mr Paton, who was visiting his in-laws, tried to remove a fence panel the Bodens claimed was sticking out on to their property. Chaddah charged at Mr Paton, catching the taller man side-on and knocking him over.

Police were called and Chaddah invented the assault, adding: 'He kicked my leg and punched me to the side of the face.' William Beardmore, prosecuting, said: 'It was a tissue of lies.'

Judge Mark Brown said the offence was particularly serious because Chaddah had claimed the 'assault' was racially motivated. He told the father of two: 'Society has an abhorrence of those who use racist remarks. By making that allegation against Mr Paton you put him in a very difficult position.'

He ordered Chaddah, who pleaded guilty, to complete 120 hours' of unpaid work, pay his victim £250 compensation and pay £300 in costs. John Weate, defending, said Chaddah was sorry, adding: 'He did the wrong thing.'

Stop Smearing Critics of Islam as Islamophobes

Government to take firmer stance on Muslims who fail to denounce jihadis

The Government is set to take a firmer stance against Muslims who fail to oppose Islamist extremism.

In a speech to be delivered to an audience of Muslim men and women in Birmingham, David Cameron is expected to announce that only those in the Muslim community willing to take a stand against jihadist violence will be supported and those who “walk up to the border of illegality” will be denounced.

A Downing Street source told The Independent on Sunday: “There are people in the Muslim community who walk up to the border of illegality with the aim of radicalising others – they are the equivalent of David Irving denying the Holocaust.

“There are Muslims who say they are not advocating violence,” said the source, but who still deny the Holocaust, question Israel’s right to exist, and whether men and women and Jews and Muslims should mix.

The Prime Minister reiterated his position on beating terrorism in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press.
“We have to attack directly this Islamist extremist ideology that is poisoning young minds, including young minds in Britain and America,” he said. The “narrative of extremism” must be defeated, he added.

“People who say, ‘Well, of course I don’t support terrorism. But a caliphate, is that such a bad idea?’ Or people who say, ‘Do you know what? Christians and Muslims, we can’t really live together. 

And suicide bombing [is] alright in Israel, even if it’s not alright in America.’

“These are unacceptable views. We’ve got to call them out and confront them,” said Mr Cameron. “We’ve got to defeat the narrative of extremism, even when it’s not connected to the violence.

READ MORE: BRITAIN ‘UNABLE TO COPE’ WITH RETURNING JIHADISTS
BORIS JOHNSON'S PROPOSAL FOR BRITISH FIGHTERS IN SYRIA IS DANGEROUS
HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH JIHADIS WHEN THEY COME HOME?
“It’s the narrative that is the jumping-off point for these young people to then go and join this dreadful death cult in Iraq and Syria,” he added.

The Prime Minister’s comments run the risk of alienating British Muslims, some of whom were critical of a speech he gave last month in which he said some members of the faith were “quietly condoning” extremist ideology.

Woman dragged from her car and raped in John Lewis car park

Police are hunting her attacker, who was described as an Asian man with a "very distinctive" pockmarked face.
The man opened her car door, which was on the far side of the car park, dragged her out, and raped her in some nearby bushes.
It took place on Friday at 7pm in the car park of the John Lewis in Cheadle, near Stockport, Manchester. The woman is in her 20s.
Police described her attacker as of medium build, around 40 years old, with black hair and thick black ‘monobrow’ eyebrows.
Detective Inspector Richard Ennis said: “This young lady has suffered a deeply traumatic ordeal and we have a team of detectives who are working on this case to try and identify the man that did this to her.
“We believe that the area close to where the victim was parked in her car is used as a cut-through between Wilmslow-Handforth by-pass and the junction of Wilmslow Road and Etchells Road and we are appealing for anyone that may have seen a man fitting this description hanging around this area, to please get in touch.
“The description of this attacker is very distinctive, with deep pock-type scars on his face and I am hoping that this may jog someone’s memory to call us, so we can find the person responsible and take him off our streets.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police at Stockport on 0161 856 9770 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Takeaway delivery driver called teen into his home for tea at the end of Ramadan - then raped him, court told

A TAKEAWAY delivery driver from Burnley beckoned a teenage boy into his home for tea at the end of Ramadan then raped him, a court heard.
Forty-six-year-old Jameel Khan denied any knowledge of the sexual assault, alleged to have been carried out at his home on July 30 last year, Burnley Crown Court was told.
  • But a semen sample taken from the boy’s boxer shorts, after he reported the alleged rape to police, was found to be a DNA match for Khan.
Michael Maher, prosecuting, told a jury that the boy had been wandering the streets in the early hours when Khan beckoned him to his home and offered him tea.
Jurors were told Khan then grabbed the boy and pulled him inside.
Mr Maher added: “When he went inside the defendant locked the front door. When asked why he had done that, he said ‘because you’re sleeping here tonight’.”
The teenager, who can not be named for legal reasons, alleged Khan then pushed him onto a sofa and stroked his leg, while the youngster tried to push his hands away.
Mr Maher said Khan is then said to have grabbed the boy and took him upstairs to his bedroom.
The teenager said he was thrown onto the bed and Khan pulled down his tracksuit bottoms and boxer shorts.
He said he told Khan to ‘just do it’, before the older man allegedly sexually assaulted him, as he was scared of being hurt.
Mr Maher said that any evidence of the teenager submitting to sex with Khan, given the circumstances, did not equate to him consenting.
The teenager said that afterwards he managed to go downstairs and find the front door keys.
Mr Maher said that initially the alleged victim told police he had been in the area as he was supposed to be meeting a friend. But he later contacted police again and confessed that he had been with two friends that night and he had also been drinking.
The trial continues.Khan, who denies rape, declined to give any answers when interviewed by police on two separate occasions. He did briefly state that he had seen the boy that night but denied the sexual assault and could not explain the DNA evidence.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Man, 25, jailed for more than four years for wounding victim who was lured to Bradford street

Shizan Hussain
Shizan Hussain

How to Radicalize an Entire London Borough

  • Schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets grow up under the shadow of non-violent but extremist ideology, funded by the British government. Meanwhile, the British media and politicians are busy debating the causes of radicalization.
  • "Non-violent" but extremist Islamic movements seek to offer their own networks as alternatives to the jihadists.
In February, three London schoolgirls flew to Istanbul, from where they travelled by road to Syria to join the Islamic State. British police have confirmed that at least 700 Britons have now joined the terrorist group as fighters. Over the past year alone, 22 British women, most under the age of 20, are believed to have travelled to Syria to become "jihadi brides."
These three London schoolgirls, who lived in the borough of Tower Hamlets, were not the first from there to travel to Syria. They were not even the first Islamic State recruits from their school -- nor, it seems, will they be the last.

In February, three girls from Bethnal Green Academy, in London's Tower Hamlets, travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State as "jihadi brides": 15-year-old Amira Abase (left), 15-year-old Shamima Begum (middle), and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana (right).

In December 2014, a friend and fellow pupil of the three London schoolgirls travelled to Syria after being "in covert phone contact with an unknown woman." These four 15- and 16-year-old Islamic State recruits were all pupils at the Bethnal Green Academy in Tower Hamlets.
The Telegraph recently revealed that a fifth Bethnal Green Academy pupil also attempted to leave Britain to join the Islamic State, but was stopped after police boarded the aircraft as it was about to take-off.
Then, in March 2015, a British court made four more pupils of Bethnal Green Academy "wards of the court" and confiscated their passports. The four girls, also age 15 and 16, were "barred from travel after showing an interest in going to Syria."
What made a total of nine young girls, from the same London school, attempt to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State?
For one of the girls, The Guardian cited "upheavals at home... 18 months of sadness following death of mother from cancer and father getting remarried."
Muhammad Abdul Bari, a prominent British Islamist leader, based in Tower Hamlets, claimed the girls were "definitely convinced by the slick IS media. I think it was online radicalisation."
The Daily Mail has reported, meanwhile, that Abase Hussen, the father of one of the girls, was previously filmed "at the head of an Islamist rally led by hate preacher Anjem Choudary and attended by Michael Adebowale, the killer of soldier Lee Rigby."
These claims perhaps illuminate the motivation of one or two of the girls, but they do not explain how nine young girls, all from the same school, attempted, with some success, to join the world's most ruthless terrorist movement.
Bethnal Green Academy has denied that its students could have been radicalized at school. The principal, Mark Keary told the BBC that, "Police have advised us there is no evidence radicalisation took place at the academy." He added that, "Students are unable to access Facebook and Twitter on Academy computers."
A number of teachers at the Bethnal Green Academy, however, do seem to harbor extremist views. Tasif Zaman, a "Graduate Achievement Coach" at Bethnal Green Academy, hasexpressed support for Babar Ahmad, a British Islamist convicted on terrorism charges by a U.S. court in 2014. After the September 11 attacks, Ahmad ran a website that urged recruits to take martial arts courses, read books on military warfare and train with weaponry. Ahmad's websitecalled for jihad against "infidels" and explained how to send funds to named Taliban officials in Pakistan. Tasif Zaman has also called for the release of Shaker Aamer, whom the senior Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah once described as an "extremely active" recruiter for the terror group.
Another staff member at Bethnal Green Academy, Nabila Akthar, serves as the "Student Voice and Events Coordinator." Akthar is also "Head of Membership Services" for the Leaf Network, an Islamic group that regularly hosts extreme Islamist activists, including:
  • Muddassar Ahmed, who works closely with Tablighi Jamaat, an extreme Islamic sect, which security officials have named as a recruiting ground for Al Qaeda;
  • Anas Al-Tikriti, a leading British Muslim Brotherhood operative and a vocal supporter of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas; and
  • Farooq Murad, the son of the "Supreme leader" of Jamaat-e-Islami and a trustee of the Islamic Foundation. The Foundation's other trustees, in 2003, were reported to be on a UN list of people associated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The assumption that radicalization is an online process has been widely cited, but little evidence is ever offered. That local Islamist leaders, such as Muhammad Abdul Bari, echo these claims, only serves the interests of "non-violent" but extremist Islamic movements, which seek to offer their own networks as alternatives to the jihadists.
The Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim counter-extremism think tank, has concluded that, "the vast majority of radicalized individuals come into contact with extremist ideology through offline socialisation prior to being further indoctrinated online." In 2008, a briefing note written by the British security services noted: "personal interaction is essential, in most cases, to draw individuals into violent extremist networks."
Islamist movements such as Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood have been keen to attribute support among British Muslims for the Islamic State to "slick IS media." They do so to downplay evidence that their own "non-violent" Islamist groups are part of the conveyor belt theory of radicalization, in which some extremists gradually become terrorists.
The role of "non-violent" extremists within the conveyor belt, however, is not solely the influence of a single preacher, activist or group. The teachers at Bethnal Green Academy, despite their extremist views, were not directly responsible, of course, for the radicalization of nine young schoolgirls. These teachers are, however, part of a culture of extremist Islamic thought, under which these young girls grew up.
The dominance of Islamist ideology is a systemic problem in certain areas of Britain. Tower Hamlets offers a particularly vivid example of the pervasive influence of Islamist ideology over a local Muslim population.
In a recent speech, Home Secretary Theresa May said the borough of Tower Hamlets was beset with "corruption, cronyism, extremism, homophobia and anti-Semitism." The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was recently removed from office after a High Court hearingfound him guilty of electoral fraud. The journalist Andrew Gilligan reports that Rahman, "achieved power with the help of the Islamic Forum of Europe, an extremist group that wants a sharia state in Europe."
The Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) is a key Islamist institution in Tower Hamlets. Undercover filming in Britain has revealed IFE activists explaining that they exercised "consolidated... influence and power" over the local government of Tower Hamlets.
Speakers invited by the IFE have included the late Al Qaeda leader, Anwar Al-Awlaki, as well asa spokesman of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces have fought alongside the Taliban against British troops.
The IFE was originally established by the Jamaat-e-Islami operative Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin,sentenced to death in November 2013, by the Bangladeshi War Crimes Tribunal, for his role in the abduction and murder of 18 journalists and intellectuals when he led the Al-Badr killing squad during Bangladesh's 1971 War of Liberation.
In 1995, a British television documentary reported that another leading Tower Hamlets Islamist, Abu Sayeed, was also a senior member of the Al-Badr death squad, and had similarly fled Bangladesh to live in Britain. In Britain, Sayeed became a "head teacher of a Muslim school and a co-opted member of Tower Hamlets Education Council."
As yet another example, in 2013, Tower Hamlets Councillor Lutfa Begum stated, at a council meeting, that the "IFE do lots of jobs for Tower Hamlets local people. They are working with... local schools. They are working with teachers."
The Islamist-dominated local government and schools, and extremist groups, appear to be all heavily intertwined.
These problematic institutions in Tower Hamlets have been propped up with taxpayer's money that was designated for counter-extremist purposes. In 2013-14, Tower Hamlets council allocated 451,000 euros (about $500,000) to the Al-Huda Mosque and Cultural Centre, which manages its own "supplementary school."
During that period, the mosque hosted an event with Abu Suhaib Bassam, an Islamist preacher who has called for the killing of blasphemers; encouraged Muslims to commit to jihad, and who has said: "The love of this worldly life and the hatred of death -- this is the symptom of the disease of the Jews."
In 2011, Lutfur Rahman's Tower Hamlets Council granted £105,887 (about $170,000) to the Osmani Trust, a charity run by trustees of the IFE. According to the journalist Andrew Gilligan, some of this money was paid as part of the government's "preventing violent extremism" program. The Osmani Trust runs weekend schools, organizes workshops in Tower Hamlets primary schools and works to "help young people into education."
One of the managers at the Osmani Trust, Muhammad Rabbani, also trained recruits for the IFE. In 2009, Rabbani told his recruits: "Our goal is to create the True Believer, [and] to then mobilise these believers into an organised force for change who will carry out dawah[preaching], hisbah [enforcement of Islamic law] and jihad."
Rabbani is now the Managing Director of CAGE, a pro-terror lobby group linked by the media to the Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John."
The East London Mosque, another important Tower Hamlets Islamist institution, is an affiliate of the IFE. The mosque has a long history of promoting extremist speakers. In October, the mosque hosted Imam Abdullah Hasan, an Islamist preacher and IFE activist who describes Jews as "devil-worshippers" and has praised Osama Bin Laden.
Since 2006, the East London Mosque has received at least £3 million (over $4.5 million) of taxpayers' money, some of which was funded by the government's counter-extremism program.
More importantly, the East London Mosque manages its own school, the London East Academy. In March, the Evening Standard reported that Zubair Nur, a 19-year old graduate of the school, was believed to have joined the Islamic State.
There had been warnings. In October 2014, after emergency inspections by the education regulator Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, stated that students at the school were at risk of "extremist influences and radicalisation."
Furthermore, one of London East Academy's governors, Gulam Robbani, was Mayor Lutfur Rahman's election agent. Robbani's fellow governors at the school included other local government officials as well as Abdul Qayyum, the Imam of the East London Mosque. Qayyum was also a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration, a document that advocates attacks on Jewish communities and British troops.
Schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets grow up under the shadow of extremist ideology, much of it funded by the British taxpayer. Meanwhile, British media and politicians are busy debating the causes of radicalization. Factors they cite include: online propaganda, institutionalizedIslamophobia, British foreign policypoverty, or even the pressure of police scrutiny. None of these claims, however, has ever been substantiated.
The most important influence, in fact, seems to be the prevailing extremist culture imposed on British Muslims by "non-violent" Islamist networks, and which successive British governments have allowed to cultivate. By permitting Islamist groups to represent British Muslims, and then equipping them with funds and political recognition, Britain has actually advanced intolerance -- and for far too long.
Over the past decade, a considerable number of commentators, moderate Muslim activists and the occasional journalist have warned of the dangers of allowing extremist preachers and terror-connected groups to exert such extensive influence over local government, schools, universities, charities, prisons and even interfaith groups.
Although these issues have consumed national debate for years, very little has been done in response. It is not surprising that British Muslim schoolchildren are now rushing off to fight with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. Tower Hamlets is only a microcosm of a much larger problem of radicalized Muslim communities all across Britain. The question of the extremist grip over British Islam is still waiting to be properly addressed.