At the end of April, Trevor Phillips was the subject of a letter calling for him to be removed from an inquiry by Public Health England into the apparently disproportionate mortality rates suffered by members of minority groups from infection by the muCOVID 19 virus.
A number of these groups whose names appear on this letter are small and not particularly well known. Oddly, many of them make no mention of having signed the letter on their web pages and social media accounts.
However, two of the largest organisations behind the letter have notable associations with Islamist groups, and the hate preachers who they promote. That, in itself, is an unsurprising revelation. Trevor Philips has suffered from various run-ins with Islamist outfits over the years. Indeed, one of the most remarkable accusations against him was that had mocked a Khomeneist organisation called the Islamic Human Rights Commission, which had awarded him the title of “Islamophobe of the Year”. Notoriously, in 2015, that award was given to the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, who had been massacred by Islamist terrorists.
There is no love lost between Islamist agitators and Trevor Phillips. It is therefore to be expected they would oppose his appointment to this, or any other public position.
All this will be apparent to Public Health England. That body is most unlikely to accede to demands to remove Trevor Phillips, emanating from bodies which have allied themselves with hate preachers who whip up antagonism against other minorities.
British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA)
BIMA is a key signatory of the letter. Some news sources reported that it was this organisation which sent the letter, and collected signatories, but its precise role is not presently clear.
This organisation has promoted a range of controversial Islamist preachers. For example, in April of this year, it promoted a webinar, featuring Islamist preachers Yasir Qadhi and Zahir Mahmood. Mahmood describes Hamas as “freedom fighters”. Qadhi told students that “killing homosexuals and stoning adulterers was part of their religion”
In 2017, the BIMA promoted “Palexpo”, an event organised by the controversial Islamist activist Ismail Patel of “Friends of al-Aqsa”. Patel notoriously denied that Hamas were a terrorist organisation, and “saluted” them.
In 2014, the BIMA held a Gaza charity fundraiser featuring Yvonne Ridley and Alyas Karmani: both of whom were formerly key players in George Galloway’s “Respect” party. Yvonne Ridley is a supporter of the now-deported hate preacher Abu Qatada, who is subject to UN sanctions as a result of his relationship with Al Qaeda.
The Muslim Doctors Association (MDA)
In 2018, the MDA invited the Islamist political group MEND to set up a stall at their exhibition. MEND is an Islamist pressure group whose relationship with a variety of homophobic and bigoted Islamist hate preachers is documented in our paper for the Commission for Countering Extremism. The Commission has noted that MEND has also “posted hostile messages on Twitter relating to several politically and socially liberal Muslims, especially those involved in counter extremism work”.
MEND solicited donations at the event.
Also in 2018 the MDA invited the CEO of MEND, Dr Shazad Amin, to address its annual gala. Speaking alongside him was Swee Ang, an activist who is notorious for having circulated a video by David Duke, a former KKK leader. Duke’s video claimed that “the Zionist Matrix of Power controls Media, Politics and Banking”. Swee Ang provided the following explanation for having sent the video to her contacts:
“I am concerned that if there is any truth in the video, that Jews control the media, politics and banking, what on earth is going on? I was worried.”
Like BIMA, the MDA has also promoted Palexpo to its members, who were entitled to a 50% reduction in the ticket price.
Note: The original version of this piece stated that the MDA was “close to MEND”. The MDA is clear that it is not close to MEND and will not associate with this organisation in future.
On 13 September 2020, the MDA published an unreserved apology for inviting Swee Ang to their event.
One individual with a notable involvement in this letter is Siema Iqbal. Siema Iqbal is an aggressive and crude activist who used to work for MEND. She has roles at two of the groups which signed the letter. At AskDoc, she is “Media Lead”. At EveryDoctor, she is a “team member”.
In 2017, Siema Iqbal was found to have circulated a number of antisemitic tweets. Citizens UK, who had previously hosted Iqbal issued the following statement:
Citizens UK is concerned at having hosted someone on the assembly platform who may not have been in a position, because of her prior re-tweets, to unequivocally condemn racist speech or actions.
Siema Iqbal has a record of publishing tweets supportive of the terrorist apologists, CAGE. She appeared alongside prominent CAGE activist, Moazzam Begg and Azad Ali, at that time an employee of MEND and now of CAGE.
Trevor Phillips’ opposition to Islamist politics has no bearing on his role in the Public Health England investigation. Notwithstanding, it is clear that he has been targeted by groups with strong connections to Islamist groups, precisely because he stands firmly against that politics. For this reason, the complaints of these organisations have fallen on deaf ears.
The stock in trade of Islamist politics is the creation of grievances. Those grievances typically relate to the criticism of specific things that particular hate preachers or named Islamist groups say or do. If they are heeded, Islamist groups chalk this up as a “win”. If they are ignored, as is usually the case, all is not lost. They use the dismissal of their gripes as evidence that the concerns of Muslims are ignored by the British state.
The BIMA letter to Public Health Europe is essentially a piece of theatre. There are rather more important matters that we, as a nation, should be focusing on at present than this.