Scotland’s Labour leader Jim Murphy has been urged to cut his ties with a right-wing anti-Muslim think tank.
Human rights lawyer, advocate Niall McCluskey, said Murphy should “consider his position” with the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society (HJS).
The Spinwatch group, SNP and Greens also called on Murphy to quit the right-wing outfit.
Named after hawkish Democratic US senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the HJS was founded in 2005 to promote a “forward strategy” on global democracy, drawing on strong militaries in the US and EU.
Murphy has been a member of its advisory political council since mid-2012, despite the views of some of its key staff prompting even the Tory frontbench to end relations with it in 2011.
In 2006, HJS associate director Douglas Murray told the Dutch Parliament: “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board … All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.”
In 2013, Murray claimed London had “become a foreign country” because “white Britons” were a minority in 23 of 33 London boroughs, and last month he downplayed the US Senate report on CIA torture after 9/11 as “largely or partly untrue”.
HJS founder and director Alan Mendoza has also blamed immigration for a rise in anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe.
Murphy gave speeches at the HJS’s London HQ in 2012 and 2013, and praised a HJS report critical of the SNP defence policy during the referendum.
Although 11 Labour MPs and four Labour peers are also on the political council, Murphy is the only Scottish parliamentarian involved.
McCluskey, who works with Amnesty International and has dealt with cases involving people facing extradition to oppressive regimes, said: “The problem with the Henry Jackson Society at the moment is Douglas Murray, who has been articulating certain viewpoints that are of concern, that appear to be anti-Islamic.
“The question arises whether or not it’s appropriate for the leader of Scottish Labour to be associated with a society like that, if that’s the sort of message it appears to be espousing.
“Jim Murphy is not alone [among Labour MPs], but is it time he made a break? It seems to me it’s the wrong kind of message for someone in his position to be associated with.
“I would encourage him to consider his position.”
Last week, the HJS, a registered charity in England, withdrew funding from two Commons groups for MPs on domestic and international security rather than disclose its own sources of income.
Commons Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson had told the HJS to provide a list of firms donating more than £5000 a year to it, but the HJS refused citing donor “privacy”, and withdrew its support from the parliamentary groups instead.
It was subsequently reported that HJS has been receiving large sums from Tory donors.
Professor David Miller, co-founder of Spinwatch, which complained about the HJS in the Commons, said: “When you look at what Douglas Murray has said about Muslims, I don’t understand how it’s possible for the Scottish Labour Party leader to endorse the Henry Jackson Society.
“It’s moved from an intellectually respectable conservative position to an increasingly anti-Islamic position.”
It’s become “an abrasively right-wing forum with an anti-Muslim tinge,” he said.
SNP MSP Sandra White said: “Jim Murphy should consider his position as an adviser to this right-wing, neo-con organisation – it is an extraordinary role for a Labour leader in Scotland and a huge embarrassment to his party.”
A Green spokesman said: “Scottish Greens stand for peace, tolerance and a welcoming Scotland. What does Labour stand for if its Scottish leader maintains links with what appears to be a lobby group for military and corporate interests?”
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Anyone who claims Jim Murphy is anti-Islamic or supports anti-Islamic views is making a pathetic political attack which says more about them than Mr Murphy.
“Mr Murphy is one of 11 Labour MPs who act as advisers to the HJS on a wide number of issues.”
The HJS said accusations about it being anti-Islamic were “ridiculous”.
A spokesman said: “The Society works with Muslim scholars and thinkers to make the case for freedom, democracy and human rights, and to fight extremism of any sort.
“Our work addresses some of the most difficult political issues of our time, including threats from Putin’s Russia, the rise of global terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
“These are controversial issues, but we believe the broadest possible coalition of politicians – of which Jim Murphy is just one of 15 Labour parliamentarians to do so through our political advisory council – should engage with such ideas.”