MP given protection after visit to London mosque

Radical Islamist group posts threat against parliamentarian on web; say last year's stabbing of MP Stephen Timms serves as "piercing reminder."

Mike Freer 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of UK parliament)
Mike Freer 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of UK parliament)
LONDON – A member of parliament described how he was ushered into a safe room at a London mosque by staff after receiving death threats by a group of extremist Islamists.
Conservative MP Mike Freer was meeting with constituents at the North Finchley Mosque last Friday when a radical group calling themselves “Muslims Against Crusades” posted on its website threats encouraging Muslims to attack the parliamentarian.
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Last year, Labor MP Stephen Timms was stabbed by a Muslim constituent at a meeting in East London. Prior to Friday’s meeting, the Muslim Against Crusades group stated on their website that the attack on Timms should serve as a “piercing reminder that their presence is no longer welcome in any Muslim area.”
“We warn Mike Freer and every other MP in Britain that their presence is no longer welcomed in any Muslim area and that examples such as Stephen Timms should serve as a piercing reminder of this,” the extremists wrote on their website.
The group held a protest outside the mosque while a number of protesters managed to get into the meeting.
“One of the protesters sat at a table where I was dealing with a constituent and was abusive,” he said.
Freer, who is not Jewish, said he was called a “Jewish homosexual pig” and staff at the mosque then decided to take him into an adjacent office for his own protection until police arrived.
The representative of the neighborhoods of Finchley and Golders Green – who is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel and vice-president of the All-Party Parliamentary Enquiry into Anti-Semitism – played a prominent role in the campaign against Palestinian activist Raed Salah’s visit to the UK in June.
“Given this man’s history of virulent anti-Semitism, will the home secretary ban him from entering the UK?” Freer said in Parliament in July. “The UK Border Agency has made a very serious error in letting this man walk through passport control.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Freer, who is also very involved in multi-faith work, emphasized that it was a small and unrepresentative group behind the unrest and that the mosque had no connection to them.
“I wish to make it clear that the events in no way reflect the views of the mainstream majority at the North Finchley Mosque,” Freer said. “The incident was cause by an extreme group not connected to my local community.”
Freer said that he has a good relationship with the management of the mosque and has frank discussions about an array of issues with them.
“On some issues we disagree and on many we agree, they take the view that dialogue is important and they respect my role as MP serving the community and my continued work engaging local communities,” he told the Post.
“For many years I have worked on improving interfaith relations and locally our faiths live harmoniously. We must not allow a small, extreme group from outside the area to divide us,” he added.
A Police spokesman said: “Officers attended North Finchley Mosque at 4:10 p.m. on Friday after a disturbance by protesters inside the building. There were no arrests.”
Freer has asked Home Secretary Theresa May to take action against the extremist Muslims Against Crusades group.