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

Trailer – ‘The Big Question: How Free is Speech?’

The first teaser to the Islamic Education and Research Academy’s (iERA) inaugural Don’t Hate, Debate! campaign, ‘The Big Question: H

VIDEO: Dr Abdul Wahid and Peter Oborne at LSE “free speech” debate

The London School of Economics (LSE) hosted a debate last month on the freedom of speech, where Dr Abdul Wahid (Hizb ut-Tahrir), Peter Oborne (former

Dilly Hussain: “The Govt is criminalising thoughts, concepts and beliefs”

Deputy editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, discussing Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of a new counter-extremism bill on Sky News.

Dilly Hussain on The Report discussing new Counter Extremism Bill

Deputy Editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, joins Islam Channel presenter John Rees on The Report along with Talha Ahmad (Muslim Council of Britain) and

Video: 67 Years of Israel – Nakba (The Catastrophe)

Each year, Palestinians mark the “Nakba” (meaning “Catastrophe”), an anniversary commemorating the loss of their homeland and

Tulip Siddiq: “My aunt [Sheikh Hasina] is a champion of social justice”

In this short interview, the newly elected Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, praises Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh ̵

VIDEO: Maajid Nawaz’s political career ended before it even started

In this satirical video, Raza Nadim of MPACUK explains why Maajid Nawaz didn’t do so great in the General Election as a prospective parliamentar

Muslim photographer dragged away by police at Britain First rally in Dudley

A Muslim photographer is challenged by Britain First’s leader Paul Golding during a speech by the organisation’s Deputy Leader Jayda Frans

VIDEO: Omar Khadr speech after being released on bail

Former Guantanamo detainee, Omar Khadr’s speech after he was released on bail by Canadian authorities on Thursday.  The judge released the form

American Muslims launch “draw Muhammad” campaign to counter Pamela Geller

American Muslims have launched a campaign entitled “Draw Muhammad”, asking non-Muslims to draw a Muhammad they know. This initiative is ai

The battle for the “Muslim vote”: The General Election

VICE News journalist, Aws Al-Jezairy, explores voter apathy within the British Muslim community and finds out if issues such as the country’s co

Dilly Hussain on Texas shooting, ISIS and cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad

Deputy editor of 5Pillars, Dilly Hussain, discusses the recent shooting outside an “art exhibition” in Texas which showcased caricatures o