Tuesday, June 28 2016

Martin Bright on Forward Thinking

 Martin “the Great Koran Con Trick” Bright graces the front page of the Jewish Chronicle this week with an article drawing on a story published in the Mail on Sunday last week concerning Tafazal Mohammad.

Bright criticizes the organisation Forward Thinking for inviting Mohammad to a reception in Parliament in 2008 and takes aim at the Jewish philanthropic foundation, Pears Foundation, for financially supporting Forward Thinking’s work.

Bright writes:

“Forward Thinking, a charity which claims to promote "greater understanding" between "the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society", invited Tafazal Mohammad, who attended a training camp with the bomber, to a reception in Parliament in 2008.

“The event was hosted by Labour peer Lord Patel and Paul Goodman, the then Conservative Shadow Communities Minister.

“The organisation's latest published annual report thanks the Pears Foundation for funding.

“Mr Mohammad was last week named in the coroner's report into the 7/7 attacks as someone viewed by MI5 as a "suspected terrorist sympathiser". He was a trustee of the jihadist bookshop Iqra in Beeston, Leeds, which acted as a hub for extremists.”

The basis of concerns relate to the Coroner’s report on the July 7th inquest in which Lady Justice Hallett named Mohammad as a “suspected terrorist sympathizer”. The Coroner’s report also refers to MI5’s surveillance of Mohammad on two different occasions.

But since Mohammad has not been charged with any criminal offence, let alone terrorism related offences, arising from either security services surveillance or his association with the 7/7 bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan, for what reason does Bright lambast Forward Thinking for inviting him to an event, or the Pears Foundation for funding a “charity which hosted [a] jihadist”?

Bright’s indignant take on events is all the more surprising given his enthusiastic support for “ex-jihadists” such as Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz. It’s not as though he hasn’t in the past embraced those who steer a different course after a period of flirtation with more extreme thinking.

Perhaps the answer to the question of why Bright feels justified in criticizing Forward Thinking, without any basis, is to be found in his “analysis”.

He argues:

“I have always thought Forward Thinking were cavalier to the point of recklessness in their attitude to political Islam.

“The avowed aims of Forward Thinking could not be more noble: promoting understanding between UK Muslims and wider society, promoting an inclusive peace process in the Middle East and facilitating dialogue between the religious and secular organisations.

“However, the people who run the organisation have always spent most of their energy trying to persuade the rest of us that we should spend more time opening up a dialogue with Islamists, especially Hamas.”

The JC editorial further notes that Forward Thinking “treats Hamas as wholly legitimate, even worthy,” and mentions the Israel advocacy conference that is to be hosted in London next week.

Could it be that Forward Thinking advances views critical of aspects of government policy on engaging with British Muslims and highlights our failings on the Middle East conflict that pro-Israeli advocates, like Bright, would rather parliamentarians did not hear. 

Last Updated on Friday, 13 May 2011 17:18

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