On Monday 29th October, Jane Ellison, a Conservative member of the British Parliament, is hosting an event in the House of Commons with an organization called Cageprisoners. The meeting is being held as part of the ''Save Shaker Aamer'' campaign. One of the key speakers is Yvonne Ridley, a former Taliban captive and now an Islamist demagogue.
The subject of the meeting, Shaker Aamer, is an Al Qaeda fighter captured by American troops in Afghanistan, and who is currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Regardless of the arguments against Guantanamo Bay, with which I can partly sympathise, it is morally obscene to work with Ridley and Cageprisoners on this issue.
Cageprisoners is a notoriously vile organisation. Gita Sahgal, the Bangladeshi writer and human rights activist has described Cageprisoners and its leader Moazzam Begg as "Britain''s most famous supporter of the Taliban." Sahgal was forced to leave Amnesty International UK, where she ran the gender-affairs unit, after she criticised Amnesty for supporting Cageprisoners and Begg, despite the latter’s patent pro-terror advocacy.
Moazzam Begg, a minor celebrity within the warped British human rights community, was previously imprisoned following a stint in Afghanistan, where he had been helping Abu Rideh, an Al Qaeda activist. Abu Rideh later became the subject of a campaign by Cageprisoners. Like Jane Ellison’s support for the Save Shaker Aamer campaign, much of the British media ran sympathetic pieces about the putatively innocent but oppressed Abu Rideh. After leaving the UK, Rideh was later killed in Afghanistan fighting alongside his fellow jihadists once more.
Cageprisoners'' Executive Director, Asim Qureshi, has been filmed at a Hizb ut Tahrir demonstration, exhorting British Muslims to support “jihad” against British troops. A British court has branded Moazzam Begg as an “extremist” who associates with “practised and accomplished liars”. Even now, Begg does not hide his own support for religious despotism despite his re-invented ‘human rights activist’ persona. In his memoir, Begg insists the Taliban were "better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years." Many critics might suggest the Afghani schoolgirls murdered for daring to want an education might think otherwise. Elsewhere, Begg has cited and sold the works of the "charismatic scholar" Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, a former mentor to Osama bin Laden.
As for Yvonne Ridley, the speaker at Ms Ellison''s event: she infamously supports a number of terrorist organisations, including Hamas, and frequently voices anti-Jewish canards - invoking the traditional anti-Semitic idea of Jewish ''tentacles'' exerting influence over Government.
Ridley was a journalist for the British Sunday Express, and is most famous for being captured by the Talibanin 2001 just before the US invasion. In 2003, she converted to Islam, and, since then, with a bit of Stockholm Syndrome in the mix, she has become one of the UK’s most prominent extreme Islamists. Ridley helped found George Galloway’s ''Respect'' party as well as the Stop the War Coalition – both organisations are acute examples of the far-Left – Islamist alliance.
There are too many horrifying instances of Ridley’s views to list here. A few choice examples: in 2006, Ridley penned an article (interestingly, she has deleted the original copy) expressing her sorrow upon discovering that the Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayevhad been killed. Basayev masterminded the Moscow theatre siege and the murderous attack on a school in Beslan, in which at least 156 children were murdered. In an admiring article. Ridley described Basayev as a “shaheed” (Islamic martyr).
Ridley has been a strong supporter of Galloway’s ‘convoys’ to Gaza, and in 2009, she joined with one such convoy, met with Hamas leaders and personally contributed money to this violent terrorist organization. At the 2006 Al Quds Day rally in London, Ridley was happy to invoke anti-Semitic canards, stating: “Drinking Coca Cola is like drinking the blood of Palestinian children”.
Yvonne Ridley is also no stranger to Cageprisoners. In 2008, the organization invited both Ridley and Anwar Al-Awlaki, a leading Al Qaeda member and later one of the World’s most wanted men (eventually killed by an American drone strike), to speak by video link at their Ramadan Fundraiser.
What is Jane Ellison MP doing? On Monday, her speaker is pro-terror. Her subject is pro-terror. Her co-hosting organisation is pro-terror. One rightly expects an MP to campaign for her constituents, but, as a friend of mine pointed out: if Ellison were campaigning for the rights of a child abuser, it would hardly be right to invite a Paedophile Support Group to speak in Parliament.
For years, we have seen Members of the British Parliament snuggle up to groups whose bigotry and support for violence far outdo any far-Right and neo-Nazi organisation in the UK. I doubt Jane Ellison MP would invite the far-Right BNP to speak at the House of Commons; so why invite Cageprisoners?