Ali Selim’s Mask Begins to Slip
In recent months quite a dramatic -but predictable change to those familiar with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)- has taken place with the demeanour of their official mouthpiece in Ireland. Ali Selim the spokesperson of the MB dominated Islamic Cultural Centre in Ireland (ICCI) at Clonskeagh has become more strident in promoting the Brotherhood’s fundamentalist Salafi interpretation of Islam as the mainstream view of Muslims in Ireland. This heralds a new stage of the MB’s involvement in Ireland and follows a model that has been replicated time and again in other European countries where the MB has infiltrated Muslim communities.
Typically the nascent years of this organization in a new country are spent entrenching themselves in the host society; consolidating power in the Muslim community leadership through social programs and acquiring the infrastructure catering for the community’s needs while undermining and discrediting moderates and progressives in the Muslim community . The funding is often from foreign donors and as in the case of the Dubai based Al Maktoum foundation which foots the bill for the ICCI the donors are often hapless hostages to a relationship based on extortion by the MB on the assumption that it might ward off the extremist whom the MB are connected to in their home countries. Part of the MB’s policy is to engage with the local government ostensibly in areas such as integration that are largely superficial to add a veneer of respectability while asserting themselves as the sole representatives of Islam in the country. Any attempt at promoting actual integration and the ideals of a liberal civil society is avoided. By this usurpation of a position of authority genuine moderate leadership flounders and extremism flourishes at the fringes which only bolsters the credential of the MB organization as part of the establishment in contrast with the more visible radicals whom they have helped to create.
What we have been observing for the past 15 years has been this stage of development in the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Ireland and at the forefront of the propaganda effort has been Ali Selim. The ICCI’s spokesperson in the past was often observed with a perpetual smile and a vocabulary heavily influenced by a nomenclature associated with the now widely discredited notion that groups of people should be segregated into different cultures and then expected to live peacefully in the one society without sharing common ideals. Phrases such as mutually respecting differences and multiculturalism were used by Mr. Selim to fob off legitimate concerns regarding issues pertaining to the treatment of women in the Muslim community or the threat of encroaching extremism, and actual dialogue was stifled as signs of discrimination and Islamaphobia. In turn the Irish government saw the ICCI as being a pre packaged partner in the Muslim community, unelected, conservative and unaccountable but nonetheless with an impressive building for the occasional Ministerial photo opportunity and with an influential foreign patron- the Al Maktoums of Dubai who have significant business interests in Ireland. Unfortunately the hope that a Muslim leadership rising organically from the community has been trampled by the government’s endorsement of the ICCI as the “official” yet unaccountable representative of Islam in Ireland.
The lack of accountability was tragically highlighted after the horrific road accident that claimed the lives of 2 girls in an outing organized by the ICCI in 2008, one attendee of Friday prayers after the accident angry at the lack of cooperation by the ICCI hierarchy was observed to call out to the congregation demanding that the leadership be held to task “this is Ireland! not Egypt or Libya! there is no Hosni Mubarak here [the repressive Egyptian president],” he shouted. Unfortunately an organization geared at acquiring political power through the guise of Islam is poorly placed to deal with the concerns of the community and it’s attempts at providing social services are aimed primarily at shoring up influence. The negligence and aloof treatment of the family of the victims illustrated the mentality which the Muslim Brotherhood has imported into Ireland.
Mr Selim’s infamous comments on Bin Laden in a RTE Prime Time programme on Radical Islam in 2006 in which he declined to judge him as he had not personally met the terrorist mastermind was only a prelude to the disturbing views that would shock Irish society-and incidentally it was not the first time he has expressed such views in public, in 2003 on the Late Late Show on a program on violence in the name of Islam when asked by Pat Kenny Selim was hesitant in condemning the 9/11 attacks and gave a qualified answer:
Pat Kenny: “ So there is no justification for September 11th?”
Ali Selim: “This is another political issue I do not want to touch”
Pat Kenny: “Why not? I mean if you cannot condemn September 11th People will draw the conclusion that you are in favour of it.”
There was also a BBC Spotlight programme in the same year where the very same views were espoused.
Indeed as Pat Kenny said in the absence of an unequivocal condemnation of the atrocities of 9/11 and Bin Laden by Ali Selim people have done exactly that.
In 2009 Selim on RTE’s “Does God Hate…?” series when asked about the practice of stoning women who have committed adultery in Islamic countries he was loath to condemn the barbaric practice outright and instead declared that it was symbolic; small comfort to those in Iran and Somalia who have suffered this horrific fate. It is astonishing that the spokesperson of an Islamic organization considered by the government to be part of the establishment would not equivocally denounce this despicable practice. A practice that had been unknown for centuries in the Muslim world up until the relatively recent development of the Salafi sect which the MB espouses. Ali Selim subsequently equated the decision of Muslim women not to wear the hijab with immodesty; this echoes an attitude that blames women for sexual harassment. What Selim fails to acknowledge is the rampant harassment suffered by women in his native Egypt with or without the hijab:
“According to the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR) 83% of Egyptian women experience harassment while 62% of Egyptian men admitted harassing women and shockingly 53% of Egyptian men blame women for ‘bringing it on’ More than 60% – including female respondents – suggested the scantily clad woman was most at risk. But in reality the study concluded the majority of the victims of harassment were “modestly” dressed women wearing Islamic head scarves. ECWR head Nihad Abu El-Qoumsan said that even veiled women who were victims of harassment blamed themselves.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7514567.stm
What Ali Selim has chosen to be outspoken against and the causes he has supported illustrates where his priorities and convictions lie, in May of this year Ali Selim attended a demonstration at the Belgian Embassy protesting the burqa ban which was organized by the (now defunct) extremist group MPAC IE which is led by the Wahhabi native of Gorey Liam ‘Mujaahid’ Egan who in the past year has infamously congratulated the Saudi government for executing a TV psychic for the crime of practising “witchcraft”, condoned the killing of homosexuals and stoning of women, as well as the enslavement of women and children in wars. A small group of only around 2 dozen hard liners attended one of whom is the Taliban supporter and Jihadist Khalid Kelly who said in an interview at the demonstration that any Muslim with the opportunity to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who drew the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, is obliged to do so “In Islamic jurisprudence, if anyone is capable they have an obligation to kill this man. There were people arrested in Ireland for conspiring to kill this man; they were arrested for conspiring to fulfil their duty in Islam.” This is the same Khalid Kelly who declared Ireland a legitimate target because of the presence of an American embassy and who after the 7/7 London tube bombings said that anyone who voted for Tony Blair deserved to be killed. How can Ali Selim the Secretary General of the Irish Council of Imam and the spokesman of the largest mosque and cultural centre in the country allow himself to be associated with such individuals who have bordered in the realm of criminal activity and incitement to violence and mass murder? And yet in sharp contrast Selim and the ICCI have refused in the past to cooperate with moderate and liberal Muslims.
Ali Selim’s welcoming of a proposed Saudi plan to establish a secondary school or academy as they are often called is a disturbing development when taking in the history of these academies one of which taught with Saudi imported text books to hate the infidel and that it is a Muslim’s duty to fight them; The Kind Fahd Academy in London promised to get rid of the textbooks after it was exposed by the BBC Panorama team and an ensuing governmental inquiry. It was later found that photocopies of those books were made before they were disposed of. Similar controversies arose in academies in Washington and Bonn. The danger of an exclusively Muslim school with a fundamentalist ideology has been highlight by Mike Garde, of Dialogue Ireland. In a Sunday Times in March of this year he said that if Ireland doesn’t strive to promote integration, it could end up with “pockets of little Shariah states like in Britain.” “I have nothing against Islam but I see Islamism as the manipulation of the mind of the person when it suppresses normal human attributes of love and respect, and leads them into a vicious situation where they will kill or allow themselves to be killed for jihad,” he said. Garde believes that the “weakest link”, which could be exploited by hard liners in the Muslim community, would be a dedicated secondary school. “It’s in secondary that young Muslims become integrated into Irish society. They become normalized and not radicalized,” he said. “If they were cut off, it could lead to the kind of conditioning like the [July 2005 London] bombers had.” THERE has been a lot of talk in the Muslim community about whether they should establish a secondary school in Ireland, but so far there are no firm plans. Muslim children are mainly sent to Catholic boys’, or girls-only, secondary schools.”
In 2007 Ali Selim defended the invitation of Salman Al Awda and Wajdy Ghunaim to a weekend conference entitled “Our Children, Hopes and Realities” organized by the ICCI. The decision to invite Al Awda- the former mentor of Osama bin Laden, and Ghunaim a supporter of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood who is banned from Canada, Switzerland and the Gulf States(He was seen to be too extreme even for the conservative Gulf after calling Kuwaiti society “Gays and Pederasts” and supporting Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade the country) prompted the head of the Muslim Shia community in Ireland and Selim’s fellow member in the Irish Council of Imams, Imam Ali Al Saleh to publicly condemn it. It beggars belief not only that these individual were invited by the ICCI to Ireland but that they were the featured guests on a conference on the future of Muslim children in Ireland no less. The audacity of Ali Selim to defend the invitation of Al Awda the man who mentored one of the greatest mass murderers of our time and Ghunaim a violence preaching Islamist who said in a Muslim Arab Youth conference in California before he was banned in the Sates in 1997 “Those young people who explode themselves to kill the Jews were not committing suicide but jihad.” Is absolutely unconscionable. If this is the direction in which the MB in Ireland wish to take the next generation of Muslims in Ireland it bodes ill for the future.
Selim’s own comments regarding homosexuals further highlight his reactionary views when ludicrously refusing to acknowledge that there are any homosexuals in his native Egypt even though high profile cases have shed light on the persecution of homosexuals in the country. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/1858469.stm) It shows an absolute detachment from the modern world and a rejection of addressing issues that highlight the persecution of minorities in his native country which if was under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood would even be more repressive. The ICCI will continue to fail to address the challenges which are confronting the Muslim community in shedding intolerant tendencies imported from countries with poor human rights records because of an unyielding fundamentalism in the Salafi ideology they espouse and as long as the government promotes the Muslim Brotherhood controlled leadership they are only entrenching one of the greatest barrier to Muslim integration into the wider Irish society.
It seems that the MB hierarchy is now taking a conscious decision to push forward its fundamentalist views as the Muslim norm in Ireland and the previously meek posturing has now been replaced by an organization that saw it fit to endorse the adoption of a blasphemy law with Ali Selim calling it a “first step” in the right direction. Ali Selim’s refusal to issue a strong statement denouncing the plot to murder Lars Vilks the cartoonist who published a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad gives a clear indication to where the subsequent steps they have in mind will lead to.
One can speculate that the change in attitude has arisen perhaps from the beleaguered state of the country and the body politic or a realization by the MB organization that a critical mass has been reached within the Muslim community in Ireland whereby a more segregationist and fundamentalist policy can be publicly pursued now that there is no pressing need to rely on the support of the wider Irish society. What is clear is that the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland spokesperson has indicated that the era of respecting Irish sensibilities and the universally accepted tenets of a liberal democracy is nearing to an end.
Filed under: Islamism |