The Muslim population of Europe today stands at around 44 million, so that’s about the population of a medium sized European country (Spain has a population of roughly 47 million). And since European countries function as democracies that means that inevitably this demographic has its share of influence over government and policy makers too. Indeed, overtime the “Islamic vote” is likely to become an increasingly prominent part of the political landscape in Europe. Now, that need not necessarily be any cause for great alarm, most Muslims vote for mainstream parties and decide how they vote with reference to all the usual economic issues that most other Europeans do. Yet increasingly, there have been efforts by Islamist extremists to mobilize the Muslim vote behind their own agenda. And it appears that in the upcoming British election, these radicals are poised to make a particularly well-organized and insidious attempt to wield their influence over Muslim voters.
As has now been exposed, two seemingly moderate Muslim initiatives surrounding the UK election are in fact cleverly veiled attempts by extremists to win greater influence for their views. So cleverly veiled in fact, that in the case of one of these front groups, the British Electoral Commission officially signed it up as a partner for helping to get Muslims registered to vote. Similarly, a number of members of parliament attended the launch of the organization’s “Muslim manifesto” for the UK, which was also launched in parliament. The group in question is called Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development) and a similarly problematic group, YouElect, accompanies it on the campaign.
In the case of Mend, which predictably receives EU funding, a number of extremist preachers have joined its campaign trail, despite the fact that these same individuals have explicitly expressed their hatred for democracy. So for instance, Mend released a video featuring the London-based cleric Haitham al-Haddad. In the video Haddad urges Muslims to vote in the approaching election, yet on previous occasions this same man has described democracy as “filthy” and stated that it would only be permissible for Muslims to vote in 50 years’ time when there might be the chance of returning a Muslim majority government; but perhaps he imagines we are there already.
Also speaking at a series of Mend events encouraging Muslim electoral participation is Abu Eesa Niamatullah. And yet Niamatullah has been recorded railing against democracy, which he lambastes for allowing the people to govern. The problem with the people explains Niamatullah, is that they are “animals … there is very little difference between our behaviour and the behaviour of dogs or animals and that’s why Sharia is so noble.”
The other group, YouElect is little better. As well as also having links to Haddad and Muslim Brotherhood associated groups, one of its leaders, Jamal Rashid, has been an outspoken defender and supporter of Cage. Up until a few weeks ago the British media were still referring to Cage as a human rights group, despite the fact that the group’s primary focus was to advocate for imprisoned terrorists and to oppose just about every counter-terror measure ever introduced. Then when the identity of ISIS’s chief executioner “Jihadi John” was revealed to be the British Muslim Mohammed Emwazi, Cage came out defending him as “a beautiful young man” who had been pushed into terrorism by the wickedness of the British security services. At that point the British public were exposed to the Alice-through-the-looking-glass world of Cage, where everyone who fights terrorism is held responsible for causing it, and everyone who actually is a terrorist is a victim forced into it by the people trying to prevent it. After that, even Britain’s liberal NGO scene couldn’t save Cage.
The fact that one of the heads of YouElect had spoken at a Cage event just days before the Emwazi debacle erupted gives a pretty clear indication of what this group is really about. Like Mend, it is an attempt by the enemies of democracy to manipulate the democratic process for the purpose of advancing an extremist agenda for now, and ultimately to end the existence of that process altogether.
One final curious twist in this whole story is that Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is billed to speak at one of the Mend events, and alongside Niamatullah at that. Warsi, referred to cuttingly in some circles as “Baroness Token,” failed to ever win office by the ballot box but was instead discovered by David Cameron while in opposition at a time when the party was desperate to bring in more young people, more women and more ethnic minorities. Ticking all of those boxes Warsi was parachuted into the House of Lords (becoming the youngest Life Peer at just 36) so that she could join the shadow cabinet. Her appointment as Communities Minister led critics to claim the government had actually created the country’s first ever Minister for Muslim affairs, and last summer Warsi resigned, allegedly in protest about the Gaza conflict. More recently the Baroness has been caught sending taunting tweets to Jewish community leaders following the Har Nof massacre in Israel.
The coming together of Mend and Warsi says a great deal about both. It speaks of the depths to which she seems to be prepared to sink, but it also gives an indication of the just how far-reaching the ambitions of this campaign may well be.