|The Jewish Chronicle has printed an apology to Tafazal Mohammed for a defamatory front page article by political editor, Martin ‘The Great Koran Con Trick’ Bright, which falsely branded Mohammed a ‘jihadist’ and attacked the organisation Forward Thinking for hosting him at a parliamentary event in 2009. The article also lambasted the Jewish philanthropic organisation, The Pears Foundation, for giving financial support to Forward Thinking’s work.|
The original article (now removed from the website) stated that,
“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.
“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.”
However, as Bob Pitt at Islamophobia Watch has written,
“If you actually take the trouble to look through the material on the 7/7 inquest website none of this holds up. It is true that the coroner's report did include Tafazal Mohammad among a list of individuals she described as "suspected terrorist sympathisers". But the senior MI5 officer who gave evidence at the inquest was far more circumspect. He stated only that Mohammad had been identified as an "individual of interest" based on his presence at an "outward bound" camp in the Lake District in January 2001 attended by 40 young Muslim men, one of whom was later found “to be Mohammed Sidique Khan.
"This was one of a series of such camps that had been placed under surveillance by MI5 and West Yorkshire Police because some of the individuals involved had been identified (with what accuracy we don't know) as extremists. But Tafazal Mohammad, who had previously been unknown to the police or the security service, wasn't one of them. Furthermore, a submission to the inquest by MI5 stated: "There had been no indication of illegal activity seen on any camps and no intelligence to suggest that such activity was a likely development."
Mohammed has never been charged with any criminal offences relating to terrorism or otherwise and all accusations against him have not held up under scrutiny.
The JC has today printed the following retraction:
"On 13 May 2011 we published articles which suggested that Tafazal Mohammed was a Jihadist who may have supported violent extremism. We accept that this is not the case and that Mr Mohammed unequivocally condemns acts of violence, including the 7/7 bombings. We are happy to put this right and apologise to him for any distress caused."
The apology appears in a tiny paragraph at the bottom on page 3 of today’s paper and hardly does justice to the fact that the original articles were front page news.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the JC attempted to demonise British Muslims and cast unwarranted aspersions on their credentials. In 2009, Martin Bright attacked the appointment of Asim Hafeez as head of intervention in the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism stating that the appointment had caused ”serious concern among more moderate Muslim advisers across Whitehall. It is seen as a sign of a shift in the government’s policy on radical Islam away from engagement with more moderate groups.”
Of course we know Bright and the JC’s idea of “more moderate groups”.
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