One of the harshest critics of so-called “Islamists” in the UK has criticised the authorities for not supporting Muslim groups who work in counter extremism and for not doing enough to take on “Islamists.”
Fiyaz Mughal made the comments as he announced his departure from Faith Matters, an organisation he set up which works on “integration, cohesion, hate crime and countering extremism projects.”
Mughal was also involved in projects like Tell MAMA which compiled data on Islamophobia and Muslims Against Antisemitism, which seeks to “work with Muslim communities to challenge antisemitism.”
His organisations have received large amounts of government funding and have achieved a high profile in the mainstream media.
However, Mughal has been criticised by many within the Muslim community for following a government line on issues such as Prevent, and for allying himself with pro Israel and pro LGBT organisations and individuals.
Mughal is also a fierce critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who was supported by many Muslims in the recent General Election. In the past he has also targeted Muslim groups such as CAGE and MEND.
Writing on the Faith Matters website, Mughal said: “It has been a roller-coaster of a ride over the last 15 years. Ensuring sustainability, challenging both Islamist and far right extremism and countering the hatred which was targeted at me for setting up Tell MAMA, means that I saw the poisonous changes that were taking place within communities.
“The rise of social divisions, extremism and hatred were accelerated by social media, but I also saw the kindness, humanity and deep care that many provided to the weakest in society. I am proud of this country, my country and its people and I am also tired of those who seek to ‘do it down’. There is much to be proud of and protect within our society, more importantly our social values and our caring spirit…
He added that the “previous Coalition Government and the successive Government simply failed to challenge groups fomenting extremist Islamist rhetoric. When asked about what they intended to do around openly challenging such groups, the response from civil servants and Government officials was to cite projects that sought to ‘train women in online extremism’, which was laudable, but hardy supporting those voices openly calling out and challenging Islamist extremist groups.
“To make matters worse, departments funded organisations ‘developing networks’ led by non-Muslims, talking about challenging far right extremism, whilst seeking to look the other way around countering Islamist extremism, since it was easier for them…
“To those people, I say, you have wasted resources that British Muslims could have used to challenge the small section of their co-religionists; Muslims taking the ideological fight to others who sought to divide communities and turn some people against the State and the social values that make up our society. No longer can Islamist extremism be overlooked since it is expedient to do so and our country deserves better…
“On a final note, I have repeatedly called for tougher measures to be taken against these groups fomenting extremism whilst using the language of human rights as cover for their actions. They poisoned some sections of my co-religionists to the point that they think that the State is their ‘enemy’ and by facilitating the easy and lazy position of looking at their identity solely through the prism of victimisation.
“With this in mind, I commend the work of the Commission for Countering Extremism and its lead Commissioner, Sara Khan, for having the tenacity and the guts to call out such groups and to provide the evidence around their toxic hate and divisiveness. The Commission has also called for practitioners to be supported who are targeted by hate by such divisive groups.
“Again, the hand-wringing and inability of Government to defend their very own projects and practitioners delivering them is a stain on them and totally unacceptable. It is time that Government to grow a spine in vocally supporting its practitioners, who put themselves on the line for our country.
“In the end, we must always remember that there are more good people, than divisive extremists. But maintaining that, needs consistent work and a bold Government. If anything, this election gives this Government a mandate to be bold. Let us hope they are not meek in challenging those who seek to weaken us from within.”