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