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Muslim civil servant suspended over 'killing British troops is justified' blog

Muslim civil servant suspended over 'killing British troops is justified' blog

Author: Simon Walters and Jason Lewis
Publication: Daily Mail
Date: January 18, 2009
URL:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1120831/Muslim-civil-servant-suspended-killing-British-troops-justified-blog.html

A senior Muslim civil servant has launched an astonishing verbal onslaught against the Government over its response to Israel's military strikes in Gaza - and has suggested that killing British troops in Iraq is justified.

Treasury official Azad Ali, president of the Civil Service Islamic Society, now faces the sack over the remarks.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell - who is the patron of the society - acted immediately after being alerted to the comments by The Mail on Sunday.

Shortly after this newspaper contacted the Cabinet Office, a senior official disclosed that Mr Ali had been suspended for the remarks made on his personal internet blog.

In it he:

* Quotes an Islamic extremist who says it is his 'obligation' to kill British and American soldiers in Iraq;

* Accuses the Government of failing to condemn the 'Zionist terrorist state of Israel'; and

* Attacks moderate British Muslims as 'self-serving vultures, feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians'.

The Treasury lists Mr Ali's title as 'Business Partner'. He is understood to work as an IT administrator.

On the Civil Service Islamic Society's official website, Mr Ali declares that it is bound by strict rules that say Whitehall special-interest groups must be 'non-partisan and non-political' and act with 'honesty, impartiality and integrity'.

But there is no such restraint on his personal blog, which highlights his civil service role and provides a link to its Whitehall website.

He takes a far more hardline approach, using the most provocative language, and appears to challenge the Whitehall code of practice that restricts mandarins' political activities.

In one posting, 'Defeating extremism by promoting balance', he appears to condone the killing of British and US troops in Iraq.

He said there was 'much truth' in an interview with an Islamic militant who said: 'If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier's uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation.

'If I found the same soldier over the border in Jordan I wouldn't touch him. In Iraq he is a fighter and an occupier, here he is not. This is my religion and I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.'

Last week Mr Ali wrote on the 'Between the Lines' site: 'We are the Resistance. The Zionist terrorist state of Israel had only one aim, to destroy all semblance of resistance. We have yet to hear any condemnation from our government.'

He pours scorn on the British Government's call for a ceasefire and mocks official representatives of moderate British 'Muslims' (his quotation marks) who support them.

He observes witheringly that he 'can see the £ signs in their eyes!' - an apparent suggestion that they believe their groups may get more public money as a result.

He lambasts Foreign Secretary David Miliband for condemning Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar for saying Jewish children are 'legitimate targets'.

'Blaming Hamas does not wash any more... you can stop peddling the Zionist lie about Mahmoud Zahar!' Mr Ali writes.

And he derides Mr Miliband's refusal in the Commons to disown Israel for 'terrorist' actions. 'You're going to love his response, "As I said in my statement, I do not think it is right to compare a democratic state with a terrorist organisation." What!'

He added: 'The [British] government is engaging with individuals who have no credibility in the community...a motley crew who are nothing but self-serving vultures, feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians.'

Mr Ali said people who blame the Palestinians or Hamas for the Gaza attacks 'are like sick men or women who blame the woman who has been raped, saying she brought it upon herself'.

Tory MP Patrick Mercer, an adviser to Gordon Brown's Security Minister Lord West, questioned how Mr Ali could continue as a civil servant.

'I can't see how this man can ever be viewed as objective again,' said Mr Mercer. 'It is extraordinary to me that a civil servant who is meant to be politically neutral should be making these sorts of comments about the Government.

'It would seem that Mr Ali is not trying to conceal the fact that he is a civil servant, nor suggesting these statements are purely made in a personal capacity. I believe he has compromised himself seriously with these comments.'

The civil service code restricts political activities 'which impinge wholly or mainly on party politics' including 'speaking in public on matters of national political controversy; expressing views on such matters in letters to the Press, or in books, articles or leaflets'.

Officials who want to engage in this kind of activity need permission from their Whitehall bosses.

Until his internet outburst, Mr Ali was regarded as a moderate Muslim who could help tackle Islamic fanaticism in Britain.

As a former chairman of the influential Muslim Safety Forum and the current head of its counter-terrorism work-team, he works with the Home Office, senior police officers and the Security Services trying to combat extremism.

Last night the Treasury said: 'HM Treasury takes allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly.'

Mr Ali, who is married with three children and lives in East London, declined to comment.

The proceeds of a recent Civil Service Islamic Society annual dinner were passed to Interpal, a Palestinian charity that is banned by the US government - although not in the United Kingdom - due to allegations of links to terrorism.

The dinner was attended by Labour MP Sadiq Khan and Peter Lewis, head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

As well as being a career civil servant, Mr Ali has been a community activist for more than 20 years.

He is also on the board of London CrimeStoppers and sits on the Metropolitan Police's Strategic Stop & Search Committee and Police Use of Firearms Group.

Mr Ali is a member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission's Community Advisory Group and the Home Office's Trust and Confidence Community Panel.

There are few people with a higher profile within the 'moderate' Muslim community. He is a trustee of the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre. He chairs the Muslim Council of Britain's membership committee and is a member of its central working committee.

He is also the vice-chairman of Canon Barnet School board of governors and chairman of the Saturday Islamic School board of governors.

He has a wide network of friends, making him an influential figure as the Government tries to 'engage' with radical Islamic groups to prevent them turning to terrorism.

Mr Ali's friends on the Facebook website include former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain, and journalist and Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley.


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