Islamophobia event condemned for inviting Cage and Al Quds Day convenors

European Commission-funded anti-racism body, which arranged the 'Informal coalition' meeting, urged to 'recognise the harm caused by such organisations'


A summit on combating Islamophobia has been condemned for inviting a Muslim group accused of antisemitism and another organisation whose former director praised the terrorist beheader, “Jihadi John”.

In an email sent to several organisations, the European Network Against Racism (Enar), which receives hundreds of thousands of euros in annual funding from the European Commission, announced it was hosting a meeting of an “informal coalition against Islamophobia” on May 24 at its Brussels headquarters.

Among the recipients were representatives from Cage and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), which convenes the anti-Israel Al Quds Day march in London.

In 2013, the Community Security Trust raised concerns over “antisemitic” material on Cage’s website. Two years later, its then-director praised Isis terrorist Mohamed Emwazi — also known as “Jihadi John” — as a “beautiful young man”.

In December, the Sunday Telegraph reported that the European Commission was preparing to cut funding to the IHRC over its expression of “antisemitic views”.

Anti-racism advocacy group Hope Not Hate has previously said criticism of the organisation centred on its “demonisation of the Jewish community in the UK”.

When this article went live, Enar had not confirmed the May 24 summit took place — and if so, whether the representatives of Cage and the IHRC had attended.

Sara Khan, the British Government’s counter-extremism tsar, condemned the “views and divisive activities” of Cage and the IHRC.

She told the JC: “Enar need to recognise the harm caused by such organisations, not least to the fight against racism. At a minimum, Enar must be willing to challenge these organisations.”

Fiyaz Mughal, the director of counter-extremism organisation Faith Matters, said that “work on tackling anti-Muslim hate does not need such groups being consulted”.

He added: “It strengthens the far right and those who seek to damage work on countering Islamophobia.”

A Board of Deputies spokesman said: “It is ironic that a conference which purports to be about how to counter racism should feature the Islamic Human Rights Commission.”

According to Enar's 2017 annual report, just under 70 per cent of its funding comes directly from the European Commission’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme.

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