Thursday, 9 June 2011
There have been several indications that the US government is cultivating relationships with subversively-minded Muslims in Europe. The Wikileaks cables contain quite a few revelations of this nature. In France, the practice has drawn attention on blogs and mainstream news sources. I posted about this activity once before. In Scotland, Humza Yousaf, the Muslim agitator who was recently appointed an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament is a graduate of a leadership programme run by the US State Department.

The Times yesterday reported on another initiative in this vein. Note that just as our government has decided that supporting non-violent jihadists is not a good idea, the US government still maintains this strategy - on our turf.

The United States Embassy has caused uproar by flying an outspoken American Islamic campaigner to meet young British Muslims as part of a strategy to help them to reject terrorism.

Basim Elkarra is a senior figure in an organisation that has been accused on Capitol Hill of radicalising Muslims and obstructing co-operation with the forces of law and order.
British anti-extremism experts said they were shocked that the US Government was introducing teenagers to an organisation that promotes Islamic political activism.

Mr Elkarra was due to be sent last month into the London borough of Tower Hamlets, which has a worsening reputation for intimidation by Muslim extremists.

A religion teacher was horrifically beaten in the borough by a gang because he was a non-Muslim; posters have declared a gay-free zone; and a chemist was threatened with death for not wearing a veil.

Tower Hamlets, home to a fast-growing Bangladeshi community, last year voted in Britain’s first directly elected Muslim mayor, who had been expelled from Labour after claims of Islamist links.

After The Times raised questions, the borough postponed Mr Elkarra’s visit because of “logistical difficulties”. The local authority made clear that the embassy had proposed the visit by the Islamic activist to the local youth council.

Mr Elkarra nonetheless made his second official visit to Britain last month to meet other Muslim youth and community groups as a guest of the embassy.

The Americans’ proposal to bring Mr Elkarra to a hotbed of tension is part of a little-known strategy attributed to one of President Obama’s high-flying experts on terrorism.
Quintan Wiktorowicz, an academic formerly at the embassy in London and now promoted to the US National Security Council, interviewed hundreds of British Islamists for research.
He concluded that the highly religious were the most resistant to becoming terrorists and he set about encouraging engagement with a broad range of non-violent Muslims.

Mr Elkarra, an executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was chosen to meet Britain’s Muslim youth.

His invitation came despite CAIR being severely criticised at a hearing on Muslim radicalisation held by the House of Representatives homeland security committee in March.
Speaking from California, Mr Elkarra denounced what he called lies about CAIR, telling The Times: “The community here is very active. It was very vocal against the war in Iraq but through the proper channels.

“Quintan brought together American and British Muslims to share civic engagement best practices. My visit is strictly about civic engagement, not counter-terrorism. This is about UK Muslims and US Muslims leveraging and sharing our experiences to empower our communities.”

James Brandon, of the counterextremism think-tank, Quilliam, said: “If you look at how CAIR operates, it’s very much that Muslims have to take on their Muslim identity, vote for Muslim causes, for the pro-Muslim candidate. That’s obviously not what Tower Hamlets needs more of.”

Haras Rafiq, of Centri, the antiextremism organisation, said: “Why are the Americans shoving their extremists on to our youngsters?”

Paul Goodman, of Conservative Home, said: “There are clearly elements of the [Obama] Administration who believe that the best way of combating terrorism is to use the bad against the worst.”

The US Embassy said Mr Elkarra was invited as part of a global programme of bringing speakers who share American values to meet groups vulnerable to violence in other countries.

A spokeswoman gave examples of figures from the US who go to the Middle East to speak about non-violence, or to Latin America to meet young people vulnerable to violent street gangs.

She said: “Basim Elkarra is an experienced community activist who works in the US to uphold the values of tolerance, mutual respect and inter-religious dialogue.”

Source: The Times (subscription)


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