Think tank: Muslim group spokesman praised terror

CSC: Co-founder of 'moderate' group posts on Facebook that any Muslim who died fighting Israel would be a martyr.

islamic jihad dressed as trees 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
islamic jihad dressed as trees 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
A London-based think tank has revealed that the co-founder of a Muslim communal organization whose spokespeople are used by mainstream media outlets has glorified terrorism and attacks on Israel. The Center for Social Cohesion (CSC) reported that last week Asghar Bukhari, co-founder and spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC UK), said on the social networking site Facebook that any Muslim who died fighting Israel was a martyr. Responding to comments by another contributor on a discussion entitled 'Has Europe come to terms with Islam?', Bukhari said, "Muslims who fight against the occupation of their lands are mujahadeen and are blessed by Allah. And any Muslim who fights against Israel and dies is a martyr and will be granted paradise." The Muslim leader went on to justify jihadism, saying, "The concept of jihad is a beautiful thing, and logical to those with a sincere heart. It tells the human being to stand up and fight against those who bring evil and oppression on this earth, and by standing up - roll back that oppression until the people are free from it." He continued, "There is no greater oppressor on this earth then [sic] the Zionists, who murder little children for sport. Any public attack on Islam... is not going to be tolerated by men like me. I have dealt with these Zionists before, a veneer of reason below which lies a crooked mind plotting and planning to extend their hatred against us." In 2006, The Observer newspaper revealed that Bukhari had given money to the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving. In an e-mail to Irving, Bukhari wrote, "You may feel like you are on your own, but rest assured, many people are with you in your fight for the truth." The National Union of Students (NUS) has banned MPAC UK from campuses for being anti-Semitic. However, mainstream media organizations such as the BBC and Sky continue to use MPAC spokespeople, and Bukhari in particular. CSC called into question the media outlets' use of MPAC UK and their portrayal of it as a mainstream Muslim organization. "The leadership of MPAC UK has been shown before to have expressed opinions which border on glorification of terrorism," said Robin Simcox, a CSC researcher. "Concern has previously been expressed to the BBC and other media about their continuing use of Bukhari and his organization. Despite this, they are regularly treated by the BBC and other mainstream media as representative of mainstream Muslim opinion," Simcox said. "Bukhari's incitement and likely illegal public comments should be a matter of grave concern to broadcasters and others who have repeatedly given him and his organization a platform," Simcox added. The think tank has reported the incident to the police.