Camden slaps ban on Islamist group

A group which promotes extreme Islamist organisations has been banned from using a taxpayer-funded neighbourhood centre.

The Ministry of Dawah has held lectures at the Camden Council-backed venue in north London for more than two years. Its glorification of Osama bin Laden, and extreme Islamist clerics such as Anwar al-Awlaki, was revealed in the JC last week.

The King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association (KCBNA) runs the Kings Cross Neighbourhood Centre. Camden Council is its biggest funder, having given the association thousands of pounds in the past two years.

An event planned for last Sunday night did not go ahead and Dawah supporters were told not to travel to the centre as there were “venue booking issues”. The group had said events would be “cancelled until further notice”.

But Nasim Ali, KCBNA executive director, confirmed that he had suspended the group’s bookings following last week’s revelations.

Council leader Sarah Haywood had told the KCBNA to take responsibility for the Ministry of Dawah’s conduct after being informed that the group’s actions might be breaching the government’s Prevent counter-extremism guidelines.

Last year’s Prevent review included clear directives to local authorities, stating that “propagandists for terrorism and for ideologies taken up by terrorists should not be permitted to make use of publicly owned venues” and that authorities “must be ready to take appropriate action”.

Camden’s Prevent co-ordinator had been made aware of concerns about the Ministry of Dawah earlier this month but the council failed to make clear what direct action it was subsequently taking.

Mr Ali said: “Camden Council raised concerns about the group. We do not want to support any organisations whose activities are a concern to Camden Council or may be detrimental to the work we are trying to do.

“We work with all sections of the community and over the past 32 years have helped to unite this diverse community and provide services to support that ethos. We work with people from all different faiths, ethnicity, culture, sexuality and backgrounds.”

Last updated: 1:31pm, May 24 2012