Labour blasted for inviting ‘ISLAMIC EXTREMIST’ to anti-racism event
THE Labour Party has been condemned for its “unacceptable” actions after inviting a known extremist preacher to an anti-racism rally. Imam Shakeel Begg was invited to attend the Lewisham Labour Against Racism event along with Labour MPs Janet Daby and Vicky Foxcroft .
Imam Shakeel Begg was invited to attend the Lewisham Labour Against Racism event (Image: Youtube)
Mr Begg is head of the Lewisham Islamic Centre which was attended by the murderers of Lee Rigby.
In 2016 he lost a libel case against the BBC after a judge ruled he had promoted violence.
Andrew Neil alleged on the Sunday Politics the Imam had said jihad was the ‘greatest of deeds’ in November 2013.
Jihad typically refers to a personal struggle to do good - but violent extremists use it to refer to fighting holy war.
However Mr Justice Haddon-Cave ruled he "clearly promotes and encourages violence in support of Islam and espouses a series of extremist Islamic positions".
He added: ”On occasions when it has suited him…he has shed the cloak of respectability and revealed the horns of extremism."
The judge also described him as a “Jekyll and Hyde character”.
He added: "He appears to present one face to the general, local and inter-faith community and another to particular Muslim and other receptive audiences. The former face is benign, tolerant and ecumenical.
"The latter face is ideologically extreme and intolerant."
Tom Wilson, of the Henry Jackson Society, a British foreign policy think tank, said there is “no excuse” for Labour mixing with a known extremist.
He said: “There is no debate to be had - Shakeel Begg was found in the High Court to be an Islamic extremist.
"There can be no excuse for any political party working with Begg.
"It is not only unacceptable to give him a public platform, but it is also dangerous for extremists to be legitimised in this way."
The preacher had previously told his followers that “solidarity amongst Muslims means making jihad against the Jews” in reference to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
David Toube from the think-tank Quilliam, which focuses on counter-extremism, told the Sun: “The presence of a Labour MP on a platform which includes a cleric who has been found by a British court to be an extremist plays into the hands of anti-Muslim bigots.
"It is essential that we all oppose extremism of all types, wherever it may come from."
Express.co.uk asked the Labour Party why Mr Begg was invited to the event and if it accepted he was an extremist.
A Labour spokesman said: "Communities and faiths groups coming together is an essential part of the fight against the scourge of racism."