The witch-hunt of Asghar Bukhari

AsgharA London-based think tank has revealed that the co-founder of a Muslim communal organization whose spokespeople are used by mainstream media outlets has glorified terrorism and attacks on Israel.

The Center for Social Cohesion (CSC) reported that last week Asghar Bukhari, co-founder and spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC UK), said on the social networking site Facebook that any Muslim who died fighting Israel was a martyr.

Responding to comments by another contributor on a discussion entitled ‘Has Europe come to terms with Islam?’, Bukhari said, “Muslims who fight against the occupation of their lands are mujahadeen and are blessed by Allah. And any Muslim who fights against Israel and dies is a martyr and will be granted paradise.”

The Muslim leader went on to justify jihadism, saying, “The concept of jihad is a beautiful thing, and logical to those with a sincere heart. It tells the human being to stand up and fight against those who bring evil and oppression on this earth, and by standing up – roll back that oppression until the people are free from it.”

CSC called into question the media outlets’ use of MPAC UK and their portrayal of it as a mainstream Muslim organization. “The leadership of MPAC UK has been shown before to have expressed opinions which border on glorification of terrorism,” said Robin Simcox, a CSC researcher.

“Concern has previously been expressed to the BBC and other media about their continuing use of Bukhari and his organization. Despite this, they are regularly treated by the BBC and other mainstream media as representative of mainstream Muslim opinion,” Simcox said.

“Bukhari’s incitement and likely illegal public comments should be a matter of grave concern to broadcasters and others who have repeatedly given him and his organization a platform,” Simcox added.

The think tank has reported the incident to the police.

Jerusalem Post, 22 December 2008

The article is in fact almost a straight reprint of a (pdf) CSC briefing.

Predictably Damian Thompson and Melanie Phillips have seized on this, with the latter calling for Asghar to be prosecuted.

Read MPAC’s reponse here. They rightly accuse the CSC of “wasting police time by reporting Asghar Bukhari for supposedly contravening the new law banning ‘glorification of terrorism’. MPACUK – who actually care about stopping terrorism – expect our taxes to be spent trying to prevent anyone from blowing us up on tube trains (not dealing with politically-motivated malicious reports against media spokespeople from Muslim groups!)”

Once again we have a witch-hunt against mainstream Muslims, the origin of which can be traced back to the Islamophobic cesspool that is Harry’s Place.

Update:  See also ENGAGE’s letter to Damian Thompson, challenging him over his support for the CSC.