Understanding Islamism

A Policy Exchange Project

Islamism and the Left

This paper seeks to consider the question of the relationship between Islamism (in all its forms) and parts of the Left, not just in France but more broadly. It proceeds from the assumption that such a relationship exists and is not simply tactical.

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IRGC flag displayed at London anti-Israel rally

The Iranian news agency Mehr News has released a short video showing a flag of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) being displayed during a London anti-Israel demonstration on 22 May. The IRGC was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department in 2019. In December 2020, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee called on the British Government to also proscribe the IRGC.

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Die Welt reports EU Commission funding Islamist groups with anti-Semitic links

Die Welt – the Berlin-based centre-right German newspaper of record – reported on 25 April that the European Commission apparently continues to fund organisations that either the Federal Government (FG) or the domestic German intelligence and security agency, Das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV – The Constitution Protection Agency), have found to be Islamist and some of whose employees have made anti-Semitic statements.

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CAGE and Islam21C promote endorsements from alleged Al-Qaeda aligned activist in Syria

The campaign group CAGE and the Islamist website Islam21C have both promoted endorsements from Tauqir Sharif (Tox) as part of their Ramadan fundraising campaigns. Sharif is a UK-born activist based in Syria who has been unable to return to Britain since 2017 when his British citizenship was removed on the grounds that he is linked to a group aligned with Al-Qaeda. Sharif has reportedly admitted to fighting in Syria, but denied being part of Al-Qaeda. He has justified his presence in Syria as a charity worker. However, a letter from the Home Office accused Sharif of being “aligned with an AQ-aligned group,” and stated that it had been assessed that his return to the UK would “present a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom.”

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Friends of Al-Aqsa leader participates in online conference including listed terrorist and Islamist figures

The head of the UK-based campaign group Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), Ismail Patel, has appeared among the speakers at a recent online conference that included a number of extreme figures. Taking place on 9 May 2021, the conference titled The scholars’ speech to those steadfast in Al-Aqsa, was broadcast over Facebook and YouTube by the Palestine Scholars Association in the Diaspora. Coverage of the event by Donia Al Watan reported that Muthanna Harith Al-Dhari, head of the Political Department of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI), was one of those speaking at the conference. In 2010, Al-Dhari was listed by the UN Security Council under the Al-Qaeda sanctions list for providing financial support to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He is the son of the late Harith Al-Dhari; the former head of AMSI, known as ‘the Spiritual Leader of the Iraqi Resistance’ (Insurgency), and designated by the US Treasury in 2008 for threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.

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5Pillars publishes Hizb ut-Tahrir leader advocating military force and a Caliphate to “liberate Palestine and Kashmir”

The UK Islamist news website 5Pillars has published an opinion piece by Abdul Wahid—chairman of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain—arguing that Muslim majority countries, and to a lesser degree some Muslims in the UK, are betraying the Palestinian and Kashmiri causes. Titled, Only a united Ummah can liberate Palestine and Kashmir, Wahid advocates the use of military force and the establishment of the Khilafah, or Caliphate, as the only means for achieving this.

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Latest Publications

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Latest Blogs

US State Department Issues Statement on Islamic Relief Worldwide

US State Department Issues Statement on Islamic Relief Worldwide

The US State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, has issued a statement in which it “condemns the well-documented record of anti-Semitic attitudes and remarks made by the senior leadership of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW).” The Statement, which reviewed last year’s controversies surrounding the social media posts of two former trustees of IRW, added that the “consistent pattern of spreading the most vile anti-Semitic vitriol by IRW’s leadership causes us to question the core values of the organization”. The IRW had itself previously stated that it was shocked by “the anti western and anti Israel” content of the posts in question; it has also denied any links to Islamism.

Reflections on Islamism in Germany

Reflections on Islamism in Germany

Islamism continues to be a subject of much public discussion in Germany. On Monday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an interesting article under the title “The European Mission of Political Islam”. “Legalistic Islam” said this piece “is on the march in Germany. Its entry point is education. Its goal the establishment of a theocracy by peaceful means.”

Senior UK Islamist reacts to the Saudi communiqué against the Muslim Brotherhood

Senior UK Islamist reacts to the Saudi communiqué against the Muslim Brotherhood

In November, the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, the Kingdom’s highest religious body, published a significant communiqué condemning the Muslim Brotherhood. The Council described the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group that does not represent the true values of Islam;[1] it further labelled it a deviant group which undermines coexistence within nations, and stirs up sedition [fitnah], violence and terrorism. The Saudi Council also claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood had a history of promoting extremism and terrorism — adding that the Society had inspired the formation of many extremist and terrorist groups that had been responsible for atrocities worldwide.

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