A front group for Muslim extremists which wants to let British Muslims fight in Syria has boasted that it is “negotiating with the Tory and Labour leadership” to secure some of its demands.
Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) has built links with both parties – and been chosen as an “official partner” by the Electoral Commission for May’s poll – after claiming to promote “democratic engagement” by Muslims. However, it is actually a facade to win political access and influence for individuals holding extreme, bigoted and anti-democratic views.
Labour’s shadow equalities minister and vice-chair of its national policy forum, Kate Green, spoke at a Mend event last Friday addressed by a man, Abu Eesa Niamatullah, who has called British people “animals,” demanded that women should not work, attacked democracy and said that “the Creator is the one who should decide what the laws should be.”
Baroness Warsi, the former Tory chairman, also spoke at the event.
In new recordings heard by this newspaper, Sufyan Ismail, Mend’s chief executive, describes the group’s strategy to act as “kingmaker” in next month’s election and claims it can control as many as 30 seats.
One Tory candidate in a winnable seat was repeatedly approached by a well-known Muslim figure offering large sums of money for his campaign if he signed up to Mend’s “Muslim manifesto.” The manifesto was launched last month at an event in Parliament attended by at least ten Labour and Conservative MPs, though there is no evidence any of them were paid by Mend.
Mend’s director of engagement, Azad Ali, is an extremist who has supported the killing of British troops, praised the al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki and said that “democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, of course no-one agrees with that.”
Mend is holding a series of events this weekend with other extremist, anti-democratic speakers and has close links to the pro-terrorist lobby group Cage.
In a talk seen by the Telegraph at the Zakariyya Central Mosque in Bolton, Mr Ismail said a strong performance by the group’s chosen candidates could make it easier for British citizens to fight in Syria.
As well as Mr Niamatullah, the group also promotes Haitham al-Haddad, a hate preacher who describes democracy as “filthy” and says that “all the kuffar [an insulting term for non-Muslims] will go to hellfire.” Haddad adds, however, that Muslims are “allowed to vote for a kafir [infidel] system in order to avoid a bigger kafir system taking power.”
Mr Ismail, a tax avoidance millionaire worth a reported £65 million, told the Bolton meeting how the group had organised to “batter the Israeli lobby” in the Commons.
Referring to the election, he said: “Right now, we are negotiating with the Labour leadership, we are negotiating with the Tory leadership and insh’allah [God willing] will start with the Lib Dem leadership as well, where we have a list of manifesto pledges.
“The Muslim vote is worth ten ordinary votes because… we are heavily concentrated in a few areas,” he said. “Anybody who can give any one party 10, 20, 30 seats, like we can, they have to listen to you.”
Tory sources said Mr Crosby wanted nothing further to do with Mend . . . A Labour spokesman denied any negotiation
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