Why is the UK funding Iran’s ideological advances? - opinion

It appears Islamists have benefited from the financial largesse of the UK, giving a whole new meaning to the terms aiding and abetting.

 AN ANTI-ISRAEL demonstration takes place in Tehran. As Iran’s ayatollahs called from their pulpits for the destruction of Israel, it was easy for the West to forget that it too was in the line of fire, says the writer. (photo credit: REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)
AN ANTI-ISRAEL demonstration takes place in Tehran. As Iran’s ayatollahs called from their pulpits for the destruction of Israel, it was easy for the West to forget that it too was in the line of fire, says the writer.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)

Iran’s ideologues no longer hide their support of the Islamic Republic in the UK. They have grown so bold in fact that they now proudly advocate annihilation and genocide to the media, playing those bastions of free speech to the tune of their hatred and exclusionism.

With no pushback to speak of, how far will the West fall before it finally decides to reclaim lost ground?

Actually it is much worse than a bad case of complacency as it appears Islamists have benefited from the financial largesse of the state, giving a whole new meaning to the terms aiding and abetting.

A report by the Henry Jackson Society published in June 2021 – “Iranian influence networks in the United Kingdom: audit and analysis,” most clearly identified the many ways in which the Islamic Republic has worked to expand its ideological footprint, exploiting Britain’s commitment to multiculturalism to destroy it from within.

Ever since news broke this month that renowned writer and free speech advocate Salman Rushdie was attacked while attending a conference in the US, both the British public and media seem to have woken up to the realities of Islamic radicalism and what its practitioners may have in store, should they be allowed to further pander their narrative of hate.

Hezbollah flags at Al-Quds Day March (credit: JOSH DELL)Hezbollah flags at Al-Quds Day March (credit: JOSH DELL)

A haven for diversity and social liberalism, the United Kingdom has long held its commitment toward multiculturalism, interfaith dialogue and tolerance with pride – the symbols of a thriving modern democracy.

It is those values many radicals would love to see burn to the pyre of their fundamentalism. The carriers of a century-old utopian political ideology that seeks to return to past glories by imposing medieval religious laws, Islamists want to disappear our democracies, absolutely, without exception and for all eternity.

West imagines itself beyond the reach of radical Islam

Although many experts, have, over the years, spoken of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, as that expressed by Hamas, al-Qaeda or again the Islamic Republic of Iran, few ever paid attention – somewhat deluded by the belief that they stood not only sovereign within their borders but safe within the walls of their state institutions. As the West imagined itself beyond the reach of radical Islam, for indeed its armies had more pressing enemies to slay, terror’s ideologues worked to breach Western democracies’ sacrosanctum.

Indeed, as Iran’s ayatollahs called from their pulpits for the destruction of Israel, it was easy for the West to forget that it too was in the line of fire, that while others may have suffered the brunt of most attacks it didn’t make its people any safer.

And so they came.

War we may soon learn to recognize came by way of a fatwa published by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 in reaction to the publication by author Salman Rushdie of The Satanic Verses, a book, which, according to Iran’s chief ideologist and arguably father of modern-day terrorism, violated the sanctity of Islam, its Scriptures and edicts.

The scene was set. From that point on, Tehran would stand aggressively in opposition to the West, its democratic values, principles, its way of life and aspirations.

And so Iran’s agents were dispatched.

Tehran exploits British laws to garner support

As the decades rolled on, Tehran built its ideological outposts, exploiting Britain’s laws to rally minds to its cause.

IT IS one of those outposts I want to speak of today, as its director most blatantly and unapologetically showed his hands, arguing to whoever cares to hear that Ayatollah Khomeini stands a “torch of light for the whole of mankind” and that his decision to condemn a man to death over a few written words was an act of religious and moral liberation against the Western colonizer.

I give you Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the British-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). A grand supporter of Iran and its Governance of the Jurist, Mr. Shadjareh hosts every year an Al Quds Day march, a grand coming together of the who’s who of antisemitism in the UK. Jeremy Corbyn, the former aspiring prime minister, knows that best of all, as he attended himself, lending his status to Hamas supporters so they could too, bask in the delights of free speech.

Registered as a charity in the UK, IHRC claims itself to be “an independent campaign, research and advocacy NGO that struggles for justice for all peoples regardless of their racial, confessional or political background.” Its ambitions you may ask? Well quite modestly to promote “a new social and international order, based on truth, justice, righteousness and generosity, rather than selfish interest.”

Like its Iranian master, IHRC declares its struggle to be one of liberation in the face of injustice – on the basis, of course, that such justice is seen through the lens of its fundamentalism.

For an organization that proffers its dedication to fairness and equality, sectarianism remains a recurrent theme, so does its call to restrict freedom of the press and free speech. But that is not what should worry us… if only!

The fact that many experts, including Paul Stott, the head of security at Policy Exchange, have warned against the radical nature of IHRC, stressing on its advocacy of all things IRGC, making the NGO the “most consistently pro-Iranian voice in London,” without much luck in garnering government support, boggles the mind.

Not only that but IHRC, alongside countless other pro-regime organizations, has been the recipient of tax breaks and government grants, raising some serious questions around officials’ responsibility in helping sustain and perpetuate such perverse activities and narratives.

According to a report published by the Daily Mail the “charity has funneled more than £1.4 million in donations and has benefited from over £300,000 in taxpayer-funded gift aid donations over the last six years. The IHRC Trust charity also received over £20,000 in government grants during the pandemic.”

Now would be as good time as any to send terror, and by that I mean Iran’s regime, a clear message – that the buck stops here.

The writer is a research fellow for the Henry Jackson Society.