Islamists are ‘calling critics Islamophobic’, counter-extremism expert warns

NZ Islamics use the term ‘islamophobe’ to hide their terrorist and illegal sharia activities just as much as foreign Islamics do.

Islamist groups are labelling anyone who criticises their ideology as Islamophobic, the Government’s expert on counter-extremism has warned.

Sara Khan, who leads the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE) said we are not being clear on what the boundaries of racism are, and that “extremists are exploiting both the anti racism agenda and free speech cause, weaponising them to further their own extremist propaganda.”

The Commission was set up in response to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing by Theresa May to “fight hatred and extremism in the same way as we have fought racism.”

Ms Khan, who was appointed to the role in 2018, told an event by the Anti-Semitism Trust: “I’ve seen it and I have to say it’s in particular with Islamists in this country, Islamist groups who have hijacked the anti racism movement and cause and where they go around calling anybody who critiques Islamist ideology as being islamophobes.

“I mean, I’ve lost count the number of times I have been labelled as an islamophobe as a Muslim.”

The Commission’s expert panel includes life-long equality, human rights and anti-racist campaigners such as Peter Tatchell, and Nick Lowles from Hope not Hate.

Last year Ms Khan and it’s panel were challenged by human rights organisation CAGE, who said that members of the CCE had “links to well-known Islamophobic organisations and individuals,” and were attempting to “alter or challenge fundamental principles and aspects of Islamic belief.”

“This means that the very existence of the CCE is tied to the greater project of manufacturing a state compliant and fundamentally compromised version of Islam” the report by CAGE said. CAGE describes itself as “an independent grassroots organisation striving for a world free of injustice and oppression”.

Yet its research director has in the past defended its links to terrorists such as Mohammed Emwazi, known as ‘Jihadi John’, describing him as “extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew”.

In 2017 its director Muhammad Rabbani was convicted of a terror offence after refusing to give police access to his phone and laptop at Heathrow Airport, later saying he would fight this in the Supreme Court following an unsuccessful appeal.

Referring to CAGE’s comments about her and the Commission Ms Khan said: “What they were using was this argument of racism and I think that’s really, really problematic.

“I’ve met many organisations who say, I’ve never given a platform to Tommy Robinson, or to certain far right extremist groups.

“But then I’ve seen them happily give a platform and support to Islamist organisations, and sometimes often it’s been organizations, anti racist organizations and organisations on the left.”

Islamists are ‘calling critics Islamophobic’, counter-extremism expert warns