- Azad Ali is head of community at Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend)
- He lost a libel action after newspapers said he was 'a hardline Islamic extremist'
- Mr Ali told Facebook followers that Westminster attack was 'not terrorism'
- He said Khalid Masood was a 'lone wolf' - The Met is treating it as an act of terror
- Mr Ali's lawyers say that he considered it 'a barbarous and cruel act of murder'
An extremist who said he supported the killing of British soldiers has been appointed a director of a controversial Muslim pressure group with influence at Westminster.
Azad Ali, head of community development and engagement at Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), said the Westminster Bridge attack last month was 'not terrorism'.
Mr Ali said on Facebook that Khalid Masood, who murdered PC Keith Palmer and four pedestrians, should referred to as 'a lone wolf'. The Met Police has been treating it as a terror attack.
Azad Ali, head of community development and engagement at Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend), said he did not believe that the Westminster Bridge last month was not a terror attack
He also said that the Government's fury with WhatsApp for giving terrorists 'a place to hide' was ministers 'trying to invade more of our privacy', according to The Times.
His Facebook post came after it emerged that Masood had used the messaging service two minutes before he ploughed into at least 50 people with a 4X4 before stabbing PC Palmer to death.
Mr Ali has previously lost a libel action against several newspapers that said he was 'a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified'.
Mr Ali said that Khalid Masood should be considered a 'lone wolf' not a terrorist
Mr Ali's lawyers at Carter-Ruck said his comments on the Westminster Bridge attack were 'referring to terrorism in the sense of organised acts co-ordinated by terrorist groups'.
His legal teams also said Mr Ali considered it 'a barbarous and cruel act of murder for which there was no possible justification or mitigation'.
In 2009 it emerged that Mr Ali, then an IT worker and president of the Civil Service Islamic Society, was suspended on full pay for six months following comments on his blog.
In one post Mr Ali quoted an interview with an Islamic militant who said: 'If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier's uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation.
'If I found the same soldier in Jordan I wouldn't touch him. In Iraq he is a fighter and an occupier, here he is not. I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.'
Sir Gus O'Donnell, then Britain's most senior civil servant and patron of the Civil Service Islamic Society, ordered that Mr Ali be suspended while an investigation was carried out.
Six months later the investigation finished and Mr Ali returned to his job.
His group Mend works with politicians on all sides, the police and the CPS to enhance the engagement of British Muslims in UK life.
Mend relies on donations for funding and online it quotes the Koran saying: 'And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it'
Today The Times made a number of claims about the organisation.
It said that Labour's Yasmin Qureshi, the shadow justice minister, accepted a £5,000 donation from Mend's founder Sufyan Ismail - but failed to name him as the donor.
The newspaper also claims that The Charity Commission will speak to three charities over their funding of Mend speaking events.
At one an Islamic speaker considered to have extreme views told the audience that killing comes easily to 'the children of Israel'.
The Times also claims that Mend targeted the NSPCC and used social media to send them angry messages because the children's charity set up a hotline for families to report children if they feared they were being radicalised.
Mend relies on donations for funding and online it quotes the Koran saying: 'And whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it'.