Raheem Kassam of Student Rights

Raheem Kassam of Student Rights

Twitter spat erupts between “anti-extremism” experts

Posted by

A Twitter spat yesterday between so-called anti-extremism experts ended up with one of them being branded an “anti-Muslim fraud”, writes Laura Stuart.

Raheem Kassam, from the right-wing organisation Student Rights, was accused of being “anti-Muslim” and a “fraud” by his fellow “anti-extremism” experts.

His main accuser was Hasan Afzal, of British Muslims for Israel, following an article in The Commentator titled: “Tensions high in British town after Muslim youths attack white girls.” 

The headline itself would appear to effectively incite English Defence League members to violence against Muslims. Afzal went on to demand that an article previously written by him be removed from The Commentator website which Kassam is the Executive Editor of.

The spat then escalated into Afzal calling Kassam “a fraud and an embarrassment”. Another “extremism expert” Shiraz Maher condemned the article for lack of context and also accused Kassam of “getting off on bad language and threats”. In general, there was a fair amount of foul language and accusations exchanged in the spat which took place.

Raheem Kassam and the organization he works for, Student Rights, had their dubious research and reporting methods exposed by Hilary Aked recently in the Huffington Post.

In recent years so-called Muslim extremism experts have been quoting from talks by Islamic scholars and using them out of context to spread fear and alarm. This has heaped pressure on venue providers and hosts to close down events.

Most universities and venue providers are quite able to make the decision to allow Muslim events to go ahead based on police advice but what has often transpired in the past is that groups such as the EDL, Casuals United and others pick up those articles and go on to make threats to protest at the venues themselves.

The link between Student Rights mobilizing the EDL, Casuals United and other anti-Muslim groups is something that I have written about in the past. The relationship appears to be one that both are comfortable with, one side doing the inciting on the net and the other making the threats.

The irony of this particular Twitter spat between Afzal and Kassam is that both of them share so much in common, i.e. both claim to be Muslim “extremism experts”, both have websites involved in targeting Muslim clerics and speaker’s events, claiming to stand for “liberal values” and “free speech” whilst openly denying Muslims the benefit of either. And above all both are avid supporters of Israel.

The connection between anti-Muslim bigotry, anti-Muslim extremism websites, Islamophobia and pro-Israeli advocacy is definitely something that needs to be further investigated, examined and exposed.

The final word on the Twitter spat came from Raheem Kassam, who denies all the accusations against him. He promised to expose Hasan Afzal’s connections to the EDL in an article on The Commentator today and arranged for a private meeting with Maher.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the 5 Pillarz editorial board

UPDATE

Following the publication of this article Raheem Kassam made the following comments (a full version of which can be seen below in the comments section).

“I am writing to you following the publication of a factually inaccurate article on your pages… The news item on The Commentator to which you refer, entitled ‘Tensions high in British town after Muslim youths attack white girls’ is not authored by me. There is nothing to suggest such on the website. The article was a collaboration between Commentator contributors and carries the by-line ‘The Commentator.’

“You refer to a ‘link’ between Student Rights, the EDL and Casuals United. No such link exists. Student Rights has repeatedly condemned EDL and Casuals United, and therefore your comment that ‘the relationship appears to be one that both are comfortable with’ is predicated on a falsehood and demonstrably untrue.”

Sources
Laura Stuart

 

Tags

Facebook Comments

comments

Video Player

VIDEO: I was investigated by the govt’s anti-radicalisation programme

After Rahmaan Mohammadi, 17, organised a fundraiser for Palestine at his school in Luton he found himself under investigation by the anti-radicalisation programme Prevent, with visits to his home by the police. In this short film for The Guardian he finds out more about the strategy and its implementation and […]

Inside Saydnaya: Syria’s torture prison

Amnesty International teamed up with Forensic Architecture, a research agency based at Goldsmiths University of London, to produce a short documentary about Saydnaya, a Syrian torture prison near Damascus, through an interactive 3D model. This video demonstrates the model of the prison, and features interviews and testimonies from researchers at […]

Palestinians thank Celtic fans for support during match against Israeli team

Palestinians have thanked Celtic football fans for supporting their cause during a recent Champions League match against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The Glasgow club have been hit with a UEFA charge over the presence of pro-Palestinian banners during Wednesday’s match. Dozens of Palestine flags were displayed during Celtic’s 5-2 […]

VIDEO: Moazzam Begg reunites with former Guantanamo prison guard

Moazzam Begg speaks with Albert Melise, his former Guantanamo Bay guard about his film, The Confession, life after GITMO, and how by coming together we can end the cycles of violence.

Community initiative launched to empower Muslim youth in career prospects

A new community initiative has been launched to help Muslim youth with their career prospects. Located in the London Muslim Centre, Aspiring Minds believe Muslims should be achieving more by building upon lofty aspirations. They have put together a unique program made up of three crucial aspects. They provide tutoring for the […]

VIDEO: Welsh Muslim defended by strangers in Islamophobia experiment

Fahim Miah, 17, and his friend Kennedy Clink, 20, wanted to see how members of the public in Cardiff would respond to a Muslim man being verbally abused for praying on the street. In the video, Miah is seen praying on pavements and outside buildings. When aggressively approached by Clink […]

VIDEO: CCTV footage showing murder of Queens imam and his assistant

CCTV footage showing the cold-blooded murder of Imam Akonjee and his assistant, who were shot dead in Queens, New York on Saturday. 

VIDEO: Muslim leaders blame Donald Trump and media for Queens imam murder

American Muslim leaders have blamed Donald Trump and the mainstream media for fanning Islamophobic sentiments that may have led to the murder of Imam Akonjee and his assistant in Queens, New York.

VIDEO: Muslim mother and daughter abused and attacked by woman in Chicago

Mobile phone footage showing a Muslim mother and her daughter being verbally abused and physically attacked by a white woman in West Rogers Park in Chicago.  Suzanne Damra said a woman targeted her and her mother because they are Muslim and were wearing the hijab. They said the woman yelled, […]

VIDEO: Massive rise in hate crime after Brexit

Post-Brexit racism has gotten so bad it has risen to 200 Incidents in the UK every day. Don’t suffer in silence, report hate crime to the police via 999 or 101. #PostBrexitRacism

VIDEO: George Galloway grilled by member of public over support for Assad regime

Video footage showing the moment Respect Party leader, George Galloway, was grilled by a member of the public over his alleged double standards on the war on terror, and his support for Bashar al-Assad during a screening for his new film on Tony Blair.

VIDEO: Conveying Islam in every country in the world

The Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) have launched an international dawah campaign in conjunction with the Rio Olympics that will involve every country in the world.

Get News Like This In Your Inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and we'll send you updates
Don't forget to join our social profiles