18 January 2010

Extremist in Egypt, teacher in London, what else are you, Reza Pankhurst?

The name of Reza Pankhurst reached the headlines in 2002, when he and his friends were arrested by Egyptian police.

Dr Waheed said businessman Mr Pankhurst, student Mr Nawaz and Mr Nisbett, an English convert to Islam who was studying at the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo, were all members of the Islamic Liberation Party, also known as Hizb ut-Tahrir.
More headlines followed in due time:
Three Britons accused of promoting a banned Islamic group have been jailed for five years each in Egypt. Ian Nisbet and Reza Pankhurst, from London, and Maajid Nawaz, from Essex, were accused of trying to revive Hizb al-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party).
Of course, what Egypt needed more than anything else at the time was another extremist organization in the already boiling cauldron. In 2006 Mr Pankhurst was released from Egyptian jail:
Reza Pankhurst, greets his wife in 2006 after four years in an Egyptian jail for promoting the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement

The four years spent in jail didn't do anything to Mr Pankhurst resolve, apparently, since his name continues to appear in headlines:

A senior figure in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a hardline Islamist group that the Government keeps “under continuous review” and the Conservatives want to ban, is teaching and preaching at a top university. The Times has learnt that Reza Pankhurst, who was imprisoned in Egypt for membership of the group, is a teacher at the London School of Economics and regularly preaches to students at Friday prayers.
A quick reminder about the nature of HuT (from their site):
Exclusive to the Muslim world, our political aim is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate as an independent state - having an elected and accountable ruler, an independent judiciary, political parties, the rule of law and equal rights for minority groups.
People familiar with the (quite public) goals of HuT in, for instance, Britain, don't pay much attention to the "Exclusive to the Muslim world" - HuT calls for establishment of Caliphate everywhere, including Britain. And "the rule of law" means rule of Sharia, make no mistakes. It is not for nothing that Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in multiple countries. Not in UK, though. And maybe having HuT folks speaking about their ways and means openly is the best policy, I wouldn't be the judge.

But back to our main subject - Reza Pankhurst and HuT.
The group is supposedly barred from organising and speaking on campuses under the National Union of Students’ policy of “no platform” for racist or fascist views. The presence of one of its prominent members as a university teacher raises new concerns about Islamist radicalisation on campus.
Be interesting to know what exactly our hero preaches to his students. I hope it will come to light, since some people apparently became worried:
A new review of campus extremism began last month after it was discovered that the alleged Detroit airline bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was a former president of the Islamic Society at University College London.
But our hero is not stupid, and has an answer to those who question his activities:
Only last week he was talking about the Detroit bomber and saying the guy was not radicalised in London and it was all to do with foreign policy.
Not, to be sure, an original answer, many an extremist used this excuse. But it works, at least for the "mea culpa" inclined part of the British public.

The next headline from the same source, The Times, is even more alarming:

LSE’s Hizb ut-Tahrir teacher Reza Pankhurst and the secretive ‘Brothers’ Circle’
An Islamist radical whose teaching role at a leading university was exposed yesterday by The Times led a secretive “Brothers’ Circle” at which he espoused his hardline views. Reza Pankhurst, a senior figure in the hardline group Hizb ut-Tahrir, gathered a group of male members of the London School of Economics (LSE) Islamic Society for private talks.

Mr Pankhurst, whose party advocates the creation of an Islamic state governed by Sharia, is a research student employed as a teacher in the LSE’s government department. He is due to teach undergraduate classes this term in three topics covering nationalism and revolution in the Arab world.
Some teacher... But the sinister dotted lines extend further, and there is an Israeli angle too:

LSE’s Islamist teacher ‘groomed suicide bomber for Tel Aviv attack’
A Radical Islamist who allegedly mentored a British suicide bomber is teaching and preaching to students at a top London university. Reza Pankhurst, a senior member of the hardline Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, is a postgraduate at the London School of Economics and regular preacher at the Friday prayer services at the university.

He was alleged to have played a key role in radicalising Omar Sharif, the British suicide bomber who died after an attempted attack in Tel Aviv in 2003. It is claimed that Sharif met Mr Pankhurst at Hizb meetings when he was a student at King's College London in the Nineties.

According to Sharif's former university friend, Zaheer Khan, Mr Pankhurst acted as Sharif's mentor and had “a big hand to play” organising the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir on campus.
If you need a reminder about the murderous fanatics:
A university student from London was named today as the man who blew himself up in the suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, which left three people dead and 55 injured.Asif Mohammed Hanif, 21, from Hounslow, west London, was last night named as the fanatic who strapped explosives to his body and set them off outside a crowded bar on Tel Aviv's beachfront.

Another Briton, named as Omar Khan Sharif, 27, from Derby, was with Asif at the time of the attack and was also padded with explosives, but they failed to detonate and he ran off.
Young, restless, and surely gets around, our Mr Pankhurst, but let's not forget, "it was all to do with foreign policy", after all.

I guess that you can connect the dots fairly easy now. Tell me who your teacher is...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


OSA said...

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</p><p><span> </span></p>

Dick Stanley said...

Londonistan, indeed.

snoopythegoon said...

Well, I am not sure I will be talking to Calvin anytime soon, but it would be interesting to know what OSA stands for. OSA gets a lot of hits on Google, and I am sure most of them are irrelevant.

Thanks anyway.