The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

Com­mu­ni­ties Sec­re­tary John Denham claims that gov­ern­ment money is not be­ing used to fund groups and in­sti­tu­tions pro­mot­ing rad­i­cal Is­lamist ide­ol­ogy ( JC Septem­ber 25).

I beg to dif­fer. Ear­lier this year, I was in­vited to speak at a pub­lic dis­cus­sion (about Gaza) in Bris­tol, be­fore an au­di­ence of young peo­ple. The or­gan­iser was the Pre­vent Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism Depart­ment within Bris­tol City Coun­cil.

I asked who else had been in­vited. One of the names men­tioned was Az­zam Tamimi, who — I was told — had ac­cepted.

I ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion but said that, in my view, Tamimi should not have been in­vited. Tamimi is a for­mer of­fi­cial spokesper­son of the Mus­lim Brother­hood and has been de­scribed as “Ha­mas’s Spe­cial En­voy”. In the Novem­ber 2004 BBC pro­gramme Hardtalk, Tamimi said that sac­ri­fic­ing his life for Pales­tine would be “a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleas­ing my God and I would do it if I had the op­por­tu­nity”.

Even­tu­ally, Bris­tol City Coun­cil dis­in­vited Tamimi (as well as me!). But it made me won­der how many other ex­trem­ists were be­ing in­vited by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, without any knowl­edge of their back­grounds (it was left to me to do the “due dili­gence” on Tamimi — I felt that Bris­tol would have done noth­ing, had I not re­mon­strated). Jonathan Hoff­man Belmont Close Lon­don N20

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