Top Muslim adviser in hate email 'stitch-up'

By Leon Symons, February 19, 2009

A senior government adviser on Muslim communities was the victim of a stitch-up, it was claimed this week.

Maqsood Ahmed, who is an adviser on extremism, works at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

According to a story in the Guardian at the weekend, he sent an email to several people saying that a number of Muslim websites critical of Islam were created by Jews with the aim of subverting the religion. Mr Ahmed was criticised by both Muslim and Jewish groups.

But friends of Mr Ahmed, who was a delegate representing his ministry at the first London Conference on Antisemitism on Monday and Tuesday, claimed that he had been the victim of a con.

Mr Ahmed himself refused an comment. But one friend at the conference who spoke on his behalf said: “This is utter nonsense. Mr Ahmed, who is a Sufi Muslim, is a great friend of both the Jewish and Muslim communities and such a thing would be anathema to him.

“If he was anti-Jewish, he would hardly have been invited to this conference. He received the email and then sent it on to friends in Redbridge to warn them to be aware that such rubbish was out there.

“Those friends appear to have distributed the email further.

But somewhere along the chain, someone removed the top and bottom of the message so that it looked as though Maqsood had sent it. He believes it was done maliciously and he is utterly devastated that people should think he was the originator of this.”

The JC has seen the original email, which contained a list of several names of websites and a long list of people to whom it had been sent prior to Mr Ahmed.

Apart from attending the London antisemitism conference, Mr Ahmed was invited by the Israeli Government to last year’s Global Forum on Antisemitism in Israel, where he was one of the main speakers. It was his fourth appearance at the forum.

A security source said: “He has been shafted, quite simply. He sent the email on in good faith and someone topped and tailed it, removing the vital question he added which was ‘Have you seen this?’ Any blame should be attached to the person who did that. Maqsood is a very good friend of the Jewish community.”

Last updated: 10:22am, February 19 2009