Ghayasuddin Siddiqui

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Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui is leader of the Muslim Parliament and of the Muslim Institute is an active supporter of the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC). More recently, and perhaps surprisingly, he has become an advisor to the Quilliam Foundation - a much more government-friendly organisation.

Views on the War on Terror

Prior to 7/7/2005

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui was one of the first prominent Muslims to give his support to the Stop the War Coalition [1]. He is also one of the signatories[2] to CAMPACC's founding declaration, which sets out the group's aims and objectives[3].

He contributed to the CAMPACC report Terrorising Minority Communities [4] submitted in August 2003 to the Privy Council Review of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001[5].

In oral evidence to the Privy Council Review Committee [6], he described the climate of fear that he believed the government's war on terror had created in the Muslim community, saying:

"I think there is a political need to create a scare within the community and also to create some kind of fear within the the wider community because the political system needs a scapegoat and punch bags, so there we are. On one hand we are scared, we do not mix with other people and when we come out, let us say, to an anti-war meeting there is a fear we might be photographed by intelligence services."

He also said:

"My personal feeling is that this whole scare, threat of terrorism in Britain is a fiction... Many journalists come to me to ask about this threat; I always say, 'There is absolutely no threat. If our intelligence services stop meddling and creating this fear, this problem would simply go away.'"

After 7/7/2005

Since the London bombings of July 2005, Siddiqui's public statements have frequently included calls to confront "extremism" within the Muslim community.

In a speech to a Muslim Conference in Birmingham in July 2005 [7] he said:

"Muslims need to reclaim Islam from the extremists."

He added:

"Two things must happen simultaneously:
"Our security services must come clean. They must acknowledge that they were involved in the training of earlier generations of 'holy worriers'. These 'holy warriors' were trained in sabotage techniques and how to make explosives from house hold items. The old hats are now the trainers, planners and masterminds of the current generation of suicide bombers. Without such acknowledgement and information of training by our security services the total picture of the problem will always remain obscure.
"We must identify all those Islamic groups who supported and participated in the 'Afghan Jihad' and trace their links in Britain. Their identification and linkage is important to know who the promoters of 'jihadist' ideology are in Britain. Many of these groups will be found to be in control of many mosques and Islamic centres. These groups hold conferences in Britain and invite clerics who have supported jihadist activities in Afghanistan and beyond."

In a speech at the Together Against Terror conference held by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) on 12 December 2005 in response to the 7/7 London bombings [8] he was nevertheless highly critical of policing strateqy, commenting:

"the police failed again to receive any cooperation from the Muslim community in Leeds, where the terrorists came from. It became apparent that the police had no contacts, good-will or trust that might have enabled them to penetrate a terrorist network."

He added

"The politicisation of police forces is characteristic of dictatorship."

According to a Press Release issued by the MPA in advance of the event, attendance was by invitation only [9]. The Annual Report of the MPA for 2005/6 [10] says that:

"More than 150 diverse Londoners, including parents and partners of victims killed in last summer's terrorist atrocities, took part in the event. Input from the public at the conference gave rise to a report... which recommended that the MPS increase its provision of information to the public on terrorism and counter-terrorism and enhance its associated outreach at grassroots level."

Speaking at a conference held by Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford shortly before the first anniversary of the 7/7 bombings [11], Dr Siddiqui said of sections of the British Muslim community:

"By insisting on living a 7th century life-style in a 21st century society they cannot expect a welcoming response. Their use of oriental dress, the way they want to run their educational institutions, their traditions of marrying their children abroad and, above all, their belief that their main reason for coming to Europe was to convert the heathen to their faith, require a major re-thinking."

In the same July 2006 speech, Dr Siddiqui welcomed the recent setting up [12] of a forum called Muslims for Secular Democracy. British Muslims for Secular Democracy - of which Dr Siddiqui is a trustee - was "launched/re-launched" on 1 May 2008. [13]

Dr Siddiqui is currently listed as an advisor to the Quilliam Foundation.

His entry on the Quilliam Foundation website says [14]:

"He has consistently opposed the invasion of Afghanistan and subsequently that of Iraq, joining the Anti-war Coalition at its inception, becoming a member of its central executive."

The reference to the "central executive" probably refers to his participation in the Steering Committee of the Stop the War Coalition, although he is not listed by the Stop the War Coalition as an officer or a member of the Steering Committee elected in 2007 [15]. The Steering Committee includes representatives from a number of organisations (including CAMPACC) in addition to the named officers and committee members.

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