Charlie Flowers and NAMP’s “Unresolved Investigation”

Writing on Facebook, on-line troll Charlie Flowers has confirmed, with his usual swagger, that he was the “unnamed man” about whom the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) contacted the Home Secretary a while ago:

The letter referenced above from NAMP to the Home Office about me? That was the main reason they lost their funding. Do NOT fuck with me or my Cheerleaders.

In fact, other minority police groups lost funding at the same time as NAMP. However, although Flowers’ attempt to take credit for this may be opportunistic, there is no reason to doubt that the letter was not about him: he has previously mentioned that he was arrested and held by police for several days, and he has also previously accused NAMP of “persecuting” him. However, although this amounts to a claim of wrongful arrest, Flowers appears to have confined his complaints to elliptic comments on Twitter and Facebook.

So, was this simply a botched/biased intervention by NAMP, or was something else going on? James Brokenshire’s response to NAMP’s letter includes the confirmation that the decision not to proceed was made by the CPS. Some months prior to that arrest, Flowers was interviewed by police in relation to his involvement with Farah Damji. Police also declined to investigate threats made by Flowers against the blogger Tim Ireland.

Flowers appears to have become involved with the EDL through a prior association with Alan Ayling (aka “Alan Lake”); however, he claims that this was during a period when parts of the EDL were anti-Islamic extremist rather than simply anti-Islam. Among those Flowers met with was Darren Marsh; however, they later fell out and, true to type, Flowers posted Marsh’s home address on Facebook as an attempt to intimidate (this was on the now-defunct “NiceOnesUK” page). Flowers also attempted to co-ordinate an event involving ex-EDL members and the Quilliam Foundation. He also become involved with other Muslim groups, as I noted here.

Flowers first left a comment on my site on Christmas Day 2008, when he introduced himself as someone involved with Dominic Wightman’s VIGIL Network, which purported to track on-line extremists and which had the endorsement of Patrick Mercer MP. In late 2009, he began a campaign of abuse and threats against Tim at Wightman’s behest, although won’t admit this was the reason (he instead claims he was motivated by Nadine Dorries’ stalker-smears against Tim); he’s also targeted me for condemning his behaviour. The full background is here.

Also involved with VIGIL was Glen Jenvey; Wightman and Jenvey have also since then both had brushes with the law.

UPDATE (14 June): Flowers has deleted the above post, but he has meanwhile joined a relevant thread on 4 Freedoms. Again, he accuses NAMP of acting improperly, and he adds that:

I’ve never been in the EDL. I don’t even LIKE the police, let alone work for them. I do my own thing, my own way. If that should entail making a chart on the massively dodgy organisation known as NAMP, so be it. We’ve got some on the Infidels, C18 et al, too… When I was arrested, one of the arresting officers said to me ‘we know this is probably bollocks, Charlie, but we have to be seen to be doing it.’

…I would sooner have root canal work than talk to Scotland Yard again, but it looks like I’m going to have to ring them tomorrow to get this canned.

Flowers left the comment as “The-AEA”; this is the name of an umbrella group he created.

UPDATE 2 (15 June): On the same thread, Flowers has now posted a scan of a letter he received from a “Detective Sergeant attached to Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard”, which states that the CPS “have decided that there is no case to answer”. Flowers writes that “It proves that it >was< all a load of rubbish after all”.

The letter is dated 12 July 2010, which was a few weeks after Flowers had been arrested; the month before, he had boasted on Facebook of having done “three hours of CSI: London with Farah [Damji]”. The letter also mentions Belgravia Police Station; Damji mentioned this location in taunts she made against Tim during this period.

However, Flowers was arrested for a second time, in December 2010. This may again have been “a load of rubbish”, but why trumpet a letter relating to an earlier arrest while leaving a later arrest unexplained? Especially when, despite the strange involvement of Specialist Operations in the summer, it is the December arrest which is more likely to be the one involving NAMP.

Flowers has acted towards me, and others, with malice and spite; but I carry no brief for NAMP, and I’m very open to the possibility that something untoward may have occurred. The Sun‘s 2009 “Terror Target Sugar” splash about Islamic extremists turned out to be a dud, and it appears that the Independent‘s story of NAMP officers “targeted by radicalised members of the EDL” is not all that it appears to be either.

If a police investigation involving NAMP was botched (or worse), it is in the public interest for the details to be known; especially given that the individual at the centre of the story must have good some reason not to have sought formal redress for wrongful arrest. And if the arrest was by the book, we must wonder why the CPS declined to proceed.

Together at Long Last: Pam Geller and the English Defence League

In 2010, Pam Geller announced a “Global Freedom Initiative” of anti-Islam activists. Not much followed, but in January of this year she promised a “a new global force”, called Stop Islamization of Nations, to bring together European and American “Stop Islamization” franchises. Now, yet another umbrella organisation has been unveiled, finally cementing her stormy on-off relationship with the English Defence League:

The Global Counter Jihad rally will feature the president of SION and executive director of SIOA, Pamela Geller, as well as SION Vice President and SIOA associate director Robert Spencer. Also speaking will be the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, SIOE’s Anders Gravers, and other worldwide leaders from official Stop Islamization and Defence League groups.

“The conference,” said Geller in a statement, “heralds the launch of a worldwide counter jihad alliance. Freedom fighters from Europe and America, as well as India, Israel, and other areas threatened by jihad, will at last be working together and forming a common defense of freedom and human rights.”

The conference is to take place in Stockholm. If “Tommy Robinson” wanders over the border into Norway, let’s hope he manages to avoid making drunken jokes about Anders Breivik, such as his infamous “I’m from Norway and I’ll shoot you” crack.

Back in 2009, Geller and Spencer were so wary of the EDL that Spencer made noises about “libel” when I discussed a dinner in London involving Spencer at which EDL members had shown up. Since that time, the EDL has courted respectability: it has made an alliance with British Freedom (formerly called “The British Freedom Party”), which cast off some ex-BNP baggage to facilitate the move; British Freedom’s leader Paul Weston in turn has met with Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America and with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition (the TFC also directly supports the EDL and the UK group Christian Concern). “Tommy” has also been regularly interviewed on Michael Coren’s TV show.

(Hat tip: LGF)

The EDL: “An Unresolved Investigation”

From the Independent31 July 2011:

Britain’s National Association of Muslim Police (Namp) will deliver a letter to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, stating that its officers have been targeted by radicalised members of the EDL. It details an unresolved investigation of an unidentified man arrested last year with “quantities of fireworks/devices” alongside names of Muslim police officers circled on whiteboards for attacks.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, I now have a copy of the letter. Here’s the relevant section:

Last year the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) arrested a man who was actively gathering intelligence/information on serving Muslim Officers including myself and other senior NAMP executive members. According to MPS he was in possession of a quantity of fireworks/Devices, neither NAMP nor any of other persons targeted have or were ever made aware of the full extent of this enquiry e.g. explosives and other enquiries to date. The police also found partial addresses and surveillance videos on his computer, this would suggest that he was undertaking reconnaissance activities. At the time were told that the man arrested was a lone wolf and not linked to any organisations. It took us just a few minutes of basic internet research to establish that this individual has links with the EDL and has attended EDL rallies and meetings, which we brought to the attention of MPS. He was released with any bail conditions and no risk assessment was carried out. This individuals is still of concern to us and we are not aware whether he is still subject to any ongoing intelligence work by SO15 or whether he has been referred to the National Domestic Extremism Unit for intelligence purposes or de radicalisation programme.

The investigation by Specialist Operations (SO) was very poor and dismissive of our concerns… It took the intervention of ACPO officers to inject a degree of seriousness into the investigation. However, sadly the investigation did not lead to charges being brought forward… MPS advised us that a file was sent to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and they have advised no further action be taken. Earlier this year we had the opportunity to meet senior officials from CPS, we were extremely upset and disheartened to learn that they have no recollection of giving MPS advice on this particular case.

Despite the Independent‘s description, the detail of the “whiteboards” is not mentioned.

The letter was passed to James Brokenshire MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Crime and Security. His reply includes a direct quote by way of response from the Metropolitan Police:

The MPS is extremely disappointed with the inaccurate assertions made in Mr Ahmad’s letter, including issues around the quality and conduct of the investigation and the lack of referral to the CPS. However we do understand that the concerns raised by Mr Ahmad need to be addressed. A senior officer from the Counter Terrorism Command has already been in touch with him and a meeting has been arranged for September, during which we will address the allegations and hopefully provide him with the necessary assurances.

There’s not anything else in the public domain out there, although on-line thug Charlie Flowers has claimed on his abusive Twitter feed that NAMP was “making it all up”.

Back in October, the Guardian noted that prosecutions were sometimes “mysteriously dropped” when police spies were involved.

Joseph Farah Puffs “Hebrew Roots” Teacher Michael Rood

From WND:

If you’re not familiar with [Michael] Rood’s amazingly insightful teachings of Hebrew roots, there’s plenty more that will “blow you away,” says WND founder Joseph Farah.  Rood has earned a reputation as the “Messianic Matador,” who waves his tattered red cape in the face of the religious “bull” of his generation. His television series, “Prepare for A Rood Awakening from Israel,” has been heralded as the most energetic exposition of scriptural truth to come out of Israel in over a millennium.

In particular, Farah is enthusing over a new video:

Seldom has there been such an overwhelming response to a video offered in the WND Superstore.

And that’s understandable.

This one presents stunning visual evidence of Egyptian chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea – archaeological finds that support the biblical account of the miracle parting described by Moses in the book of Exodus.

In fact, there’s nothing new here – the “stunning visual evidence” appears to consist of interpretations previously made by the late pseudo-archaeologist Ron Wyatt, whose purported discoveries of ancient relics rival Indiana Jones and the mother of Constantine combined: the list includes the Ark of the Covenant; Noah’s Ark, house and grave; pre-flood wood without tree rings; sulphur balls from Sodom and Gomorrrah; and even a sample of Jesus’ blood (which contained 23 chromosomes from Mary and one from God). Wyatt’s legacy is today primarily embodied by Richard Rives, who is a regular WND pundit.

But what of Rood’s “amazingly insightful teachings of Hebrew roots”? Members of the “Hebrew Roots” movement appropriate Jewish rituals and cultural forms – members believe that this brings them into alignment with Biblical teaching, and they are often scathing about the “paganism” of mainstream Christianity; for instance, Rood claims that the Good Friday is in reality “the day that the Philistines sacrificed to Dagon, the Philistine fish god,” and that this explains the Catholic practice of eating fish rather than meat on this day. Protestants don’t get off lightly, either, though: according to a purported quote on critical websites, Rood claims to have escaped the “Baptist cult”.

However, Rood seems to be a particularly divisive figure within the movement; in 2007 he was involved in a dispute with the former administrator of his ministry, which led to an arbitration finding against him and legal action. More generally, conservative Christians have complained about his behaviour and his teachings, and allege past links to a non-Trinitarian  group called The Way International.

Rood’s website certainly appears overheated:

Michael Rood, a former U.S. Marine, has declared war on every self-serving, man-made religious system on the planet. In his 1995 live seminars, “From Here to Eternity – the Book of The Revelation exposes the New World Order Michael began revealing the many tentacled monstrosity of “Mystery Babylon” that had buried itself inside every religious system on the planet. On March 4, 1996, he commenced his final assault on fossilized “Churchianity” when he presented the groundbreaking 20-hour seminar, “The Prophetic Fulfillment of the Feasts of the LORD” which exhorted the spiritually wilting Christian world to graft back into the Hebrew roots of their faith – while exposing the man-made traditions of modern Phariseeism.  Then, in 2001, Michael hit the television airwaves with “A Rood Awakening from Israel,” which enunciated “the original faith once delivered unto the Saints” and took believers to the next level in their spiritual walk – being filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in obedience to the Torah.  

The immediate accolades from Christian leaders around the globe were soon followed by Mystery Babylon’s full-scale retaliation.  In a concerted effort to protect its sheeple from the truth, manufactured lies were fed to ignorant false witnesses manning the long-range guns of the Internet. In the safety of anonymity and often across international borders where libel and slander go unpunished, the hordes of hell (falsely attired as sincere Christians) continue to fire barrages of deceitful propaganda upon innocent believers who are earnestly searching for truth. 

According to his book The Mystery of Iniquity (as quoted in The Silence Is Broken! God Hooks Ezekiel’s Gog & Magog), Rood also looks forward to Israel nuking Damascus:

 When the Islamic terrorists step over the line, the nation of Israel will come down with the equivalent of millions of tons of TNT… The inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem will stand up against the aggression and incinerate their enemies round about. Damascus will become a ruinous heap of radioactive rubble.

Rood also promotes an “Astronomically and Agriculturally Corrected Biblical Calendar”:

The western Gentile Christian world has forsaken God’s calendar. Instead, it has adopted a pagan reckoning of time in which every day of the week and month of the year is named after a pagan god or fallen angel.

Thus the scholarly realisation that to understand Jesus and the New Testament properly one ought to know about the First Century Jewish context is transformed into the idea that the supposed recovery of mystical secrets from the Jewish tradition somehow provides special esoteric insight into spiritual reality.

Rood’s close associates include Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Gordon is of Orthodox Jewish background, but now identifies as a Karaite (and as a “former Pharisee”); he has a “Masters Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelors Degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem” and has worked academically on the Dead Sea Scrolls. His association with Rood appears to be controversial on both sides; a Karaite petition complains

about the ever growing reaction on part of Christians who, due to the activities of Messianic teachers like Michael Rood, various Hebrew-roots preachers and our own Karaite Jew Nehemia Gordon, develop misunderstandings regarding the Israelite God, religion and people in the form of a new religion called, Messianic Karaism.

Some of Rood’s critics, meanwhile, complain that he is working with “a non-Christian, non-Messianic Jew who rejects Jesus”.

Nehemia is the author of The Hebrew Yeshua vs the Greek Jesus, which extols the virtues of a medieval Hebrew translation of the Gospel of Matthew over the Greek New Testament text, which is regarded as corrupt. The book comes with an introduction by Rood and a preface by Avi Ben Mordechai; I came across Ben Mordechai in 2009, when another Hebrew Roots enthusiast, Jim Barfield, claimed that Ben Mordechai had endorsed his (undisclosed) theory about how the Copper Scroll could be used to find lost treasure from the Jerusalem Temple (ludicrous archaeological claims seem to be endemic to the movement).

Keith Johnson, meanwhile, was quoted in the press earlier this year after a Hebrew Roots teacher named Ralph Messer wrapped Eddie Long in a Torah scroll after giving an eccentric phallic interpretation of the scroll’s significance. Johnson accused Messer of “exploiting African-Americans and making a mockery of the Hebrew roots of the faith”, and of allegedly charging a friend for Hebrew lessons that never materialised.

Alleged Extremism at Leyton Mosque Highlighted

The Independent reports:

Leyton Mosque, which overlooks the Olympic Park, has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between rival factions for more than a year. Last month Dr Usama Hasan, a prominent theologian and one of the mosque’s imams, resigned following a string of disruptions by extremists who were angered by his lectures on Darwinism and comparatively progressive interpretation of Islamic teaching.

…Under a deal that was supposed to bring some form of closure to the dispute Dr Hasan and some of his detractors resigned from the board of trustees. But much of the power within the mosque still rests in the hands of Dr Hasan’s critics.

Now it has emerged that the Charity Commission is investigating the mosque over concerns that it has links to extremism… According to the Liberal Conspiracy website, a letter has been sent to the mosque’s new trustees stating that the commission was opening a statutory inquiry after “concerns were raised with us about alleged links to extremism.”

Sunny’s Liberal Conspiracy post makes clear that the complaint to the Charity Commission was made by Hasan himself; the “statutory inquiry” is a journalistic hook for bringing Hasan’s concerns to wider attention [UPDATE: Oddly, Hasan’s name on the letter is obscured in a BBC report]. These concerns were published on Hasan’s blog last month, although he withdrew his posts as part of the dispute resolution.

Unhappily, the Liberal Conspiracy article is entitled “London Mosque investigated for terrorism”; while eye-catching, such a headline obviously gives the erroneous impression of a police investigation either into acts of terrorism or a terror plot. Judging from Hasan’s deleted material, it seems that the problem rather is that certain individuals involved in Hasan’s ousting are alleged to have extremist links and extremist views. That’s obviously worrisome, but not quite as dramatic as the headline implies.

The campaign against Hasan was widely noted last year; the Guardian reported:

Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution.

A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in “considerable antagonism” from the community and for his “belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public”.

…The death threats against Hasan were made in an anonymous leaflet handed out by protesters. It quotes religious authorities saying that any Muslim who believes in evolution is an “apostate” who “must be executed”.

Hasan says he believes the leaflets were produced by the website Islamic Awakening. The website’s leader, Abu Zubair, has led a long campaign against Hasan including making threats when Hasan was delivering a lecture in January.

The leaflet, which was written in English, included a footnote warning readers that only a Muslim ruler of a Muslim country can implement the execution: “Muslims are not allowed to execute anyone without such authority, and as such are discouragedfrom entertaining any such thoughts about the person concerned”. This was obviously a token effort to avoid an incitement charge; Hasan judged that

 “This was incitement to murder, death threats, there are enough nutters out there and I do worry next time I am in a public place or if I lead prayers.

“I have already beefed up security at the house. I am worried about my wife and young children. I do a lot of public speaking and I may need it (security) for the rest of my life.”

Those of us who remember the Rushdie affair and the related murder of Hitoshi Igarahi in Japan know that an extremist bent on killing an “apostate” or his/her associate is unlikely to be overly concerned with the jurisdiction of where the murder takes place. Muslims who spoke in support of Hasan were also targeted with threats.

Unfortunately, however, Hasan’s troubles have also come to the attention of an anti-Islamist vigilante, who last year used a sockpuppet Facebook profile to encourage Islamists to attend the mosque to make a scene and thus expose themselves; such idiotic antics are not in Hasan’s interests (or anyone else’s, for that matter).

Sunny adds:

Dr Hasan has since withdrawn his complaint after but I’ve learnt that the anti-terrorism think tank Quilliam Foundation have also asked the [Charity Commission] to investigate.

As commentators below the article note, Hasan is a “Senior Researcher” with Quilliam, and so this really amounts to the same thing. Again unfortunately, however, there are reasons to be concerned about Quilliam’s integrity, as I discuss here.

South Korea Ministry of Education Removes Evolution References from Textbooks

Nature reports:

A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx.

…The campaign was led by the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which aims to delete the “error” of evolution from textbooks to “correct” students’ views of the world, according to the society’s website.

…The STR is also campaigning to remove content about “the evolution of humans” and “the adaptation of finch beaks based on habitat and mode of sustenance”, a reference to one of the most famous observations in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

…The STR is an independent offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR), according to KACR spokesman Jungyeol Han. 

The KACR website can be seen here; it seems that an event to promote the revisions will take place on 16 June. A news report here has further details; unfortunately, the Google Translate version is of very limited use.

The popularity of Creationism in  Korea is long-standing; in 2000, New Scientist ran a special issue on how “From Kansas to Korea, Creationism is Flooding the Earth”. The Institute for Creation Research has some general background, in an article by Professor Young-Gil Kim of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who was the first president of the organisation. It appears to be an old article, dating from 1985:

The Korean creation science movement was inspired by a large international creation seminar held during August 12-15, 1980, at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade Meeting in Seoul, Korea. The seminar, entitled “Creation? Evolution?” attracted great attention, and the total number of attendees was about 4,000.

This first creation science seminar in Korea had a great impact on many people, especially evolutionists. The seminar was covered by Korea’s national TV and radio stations. The invited speakers from the USA were Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish from the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. Walter Bradley, of Texas A & M, and Dr. Charles Thaxton, of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics.

…KACR has published five books, including several translations of ICR books. One Korean-authored book, entitled Is Evolution a Scientific Fact?, has become one of the best-selling books in Korea.

…KACR is now writing a college textbook, Introduction to Natural Science, in terms of the creation model. The writers of the book are Professor Harriet Kim of Seoul National University (Biochemistry), Professor Eun-Ho Lee of Yonsei University (Biology), Professor Jung-Han Kim of Yonsei University (Chemistry), Professor Jung-Wook Kim of Seoul National University (Environmental Science), and Professor Seung-Hong Yang of Kyoungbook University (Physics). 

A second ICR article, by Chon-Ho Hyon, has further details:

…a considerable number of pastors are realizing the importance of creation science education for the youth in their churches. In 1994, Rev. Hongnam Lee, Pastor of Chanyang Presbyterian Church in Daejeon persuaded a few other fellow pastors to join him in support of the KACR mission, especially to give financial assistance for the Creation Science Exhibition Center. In 1995, they founded an organization called “The Creation Science Supporters’ Association.” The purpose of the association was to support the mission of KACR and at the same time to reclaim the younger generation in their churches who had been tainted by evolutionary ideology.

KACR’s achievements are listed; for example:

A project recently completed on “Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway” by Dr. S. W. Hong and others at Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering, demonstrated that the Ark’s design was the best of all possible designs.

Also, interestingly:

It is our vision to strengthen world missions by using creation science as a tool. Drs. Bunsam Yim and Chongsung Kim in Indonesia, a Moslem country, are already using this missionary approach with positive results.

Nazarbayev Hosts Religious Leaders

Nicholas Baines, the Bishop of Bradford, has made several posts on his blog about the recent Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which took place in Kazakhstan and where he represented the Archbishop of Canterbury. He writes:

Sitting in the Pyramid at the heart of Astana, the astonishing capital city of Kazakhstan, it is hard to concentrate. There are fifty of us around the table, discussing a pile of issues related to faith and politics.

…It is easy to sneer or take for granted a conference such as this… Yet, a meeting of these people would never have happened twenty or thirty years ago. We take it for granted that religious leaders meet and speak together honestly. But, we easily forget that such conversations are relatively recent phenomena. To see the President of Kazakhstan sitting flanked by the Patriarch of Russia and the top man of the Muslim World League – who are flanked in turn by a Chief Rabbi from Israel and a Roman Catholic cardinal (I was a couple of places away…) – is still remarkable…

I wrote about a previous Congress in Kazakhstan back in 2006; I was somewhat sceptical of all the praise that delegates heaped on President Nazarbayev, and I noted the restrictions on religious freedom in the country. Baines is himself not uncritical:

It is well known that Kazakhstan’s international reputation for religious tolerance is currently threatened by the new Religious Law due to come into effect in October 2012. This new law is partly provoked by fears of extremism or terrorism, but is the wrong answer to the right question. It insists on a form of registration that would make it impossible for an Anglican Chaplaincy to be opened, for example. It also provides for any published materials to be vetted before distribution. It gets a bit more complicated than this, but you get the idea.

Baines has given details of his address to the Congress here, and of what someone else said on his behalf at a panel event here.

Via Twitter, I asked Baines about recent Observer article by Nick Cohen excoriating Tony Blair for his links to Nazarbayev. Cohen had written:

As one astonished and disgusted former supporter put it: “If you want to know what price a great man will sell his legacy for, it’s $13m.” According to the Financial Times, that is the sum that President Nursultan Nazarbayev has paid for Blair’s services. His old gang is along for the ride and eager to see what an oil-rich dictatorship, which shoots strikers, burns the offices of opposition parties and kills their leaders, can offer.

…He won’t explain why he’s helping the Kazakh dictator present a better face to the west. Apparently, he has said that he is not personally profiting from appearing in a propaganda video praising the dictatorship’s “progress” and hymning its “extraordinary economic potential”.

Baines responded to me on Twitter:

Cohen anti-Blair whatever. There is more to it. Engagement better than shouting frm a distance in my view. I’ll post more anon.

Interfax has a number of related reports, including details of addresses by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and by Nazarbayev himself. According to the President:

“We see how pseudo-freedoms are being promoted in many societies. They are trying to present distorted views on the nature of human relations as the norm in today’s society. Motivation for fair work is replaced with a wish for fast income by any means. These anti-morals are being presented as some absolute value,” he said.

Nazarbayev believes the increase of moral crises in the world is indicated by “instances of aggressive campaigns against clergymen and attempts to remove religion from social processes.”

Personally, I would find it uncongenial to be lectured on “pseudo-freedoms” by a man who was last year re-elected with 95.5% of the vote, having been reluctantly persuaded to ignore constitutional term limits following a petition from “ordinary citizens” who wanted him to stay in power for a third decade.

Interfax also reports that the Congress also saw the creation of a “Council of Religions”.

Nazarbayev also has links with another inter-faith organisation: this is the World Public Forum, which was co-founded by a confidant of Vladimir Putin named Vladimir Yakunin. Ahead of last year’s election in Kazakhstan, Yakunin presented Nazarbayev with a “Dialogue of Civilizations” prize, and this is just one link between the WPF and Kazakhstan: former Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer is a co-chairman of the WPF and, like Blair, a “consultant” to Nazarbayev, while the chairman of the WPF’s International Coordination Committee is the Austrian politician Walter Schwimmer. Back in February there was a “Celebratory Event to mark the 20th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Kazakhstan and Austria”, at the Kazakh embassy in Vienna; Schwimmer was billed as the moderator, and the programme for the event highlighted his WPF position.

Salon Profiles “Islamic Antichrist” Author Joel Richardson

Salon has a brief profile of Joel Richardson, author of several books on how the Bible predicts a “Muslim Anti-Christ”:

His 2009 book “The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Nature of the Beast” became an unlikely New York Times bestseller despite not benefiting from any substantial publisher promotion or press treatment. He has been discussed in the New York Daily News, written for World Net Daily and David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine, and appeared frequently on Glenn Beck’s hugely popular (but now thankfully defunct) Fox show as well as on the Dennis Miller Show.

…Richardson is “coming up and making the rounds” in this subculture, [Matthew] Duss [of the Center for American Progress] says. Richardson’s website features endorsements from several pastors and professors, as well as Robert Spencer, the leading anti-Islamic intellectual in the United States.

…Relative to many of his competitors, he is well-versed in scripture and is a comprehensible writer. His preachings about loving Muslims while despising Islam make him seem grounded in Christian teachings and compassionate in his beliefs. But his virulently bigoted views on Islam make him a dangerous character — and one that has found many adherents on the religious right.

Richardson, like Hal Lindsey before him, interprets prophetic passages of the Bible in ways that do violence to their historical context, but which pander to the particular concerns of the US right. Perhaps his most ludicrous stretch is his endorsement of Walid Shoebat’s claim that the Greek letters representing “666” in the Book of Revelation are actually misinterpreted Arabic letters for “In the Name of Allah”, revealed visually to an uncomprehending Saint John the Divine. He also indulges in a bit of current affairs punditry, claiming that Obama’s unwillingness to keep the Egyptian dictator Mubarak in power is evidence that he wants Islamists to take over the country.

Richardson isn’t happy with the Salon profile, though:

The Left truly have become caricatures of themselves. I was contacted the other day by a reporter for the radically left wing news outlet Of course, I do not trust these people, but I was happy to share with the reporter my heart for Muslims. But while my emphasis was on loving Muslims despite their Qur’an’s hatred and of my own Christian faith, the article was a predictable, cheap, demogogic rant about my bigoted “Islamophobic” hatred. Yawn.

I’ve written a number of blog posts on Richardson, and the man himself has occasionally stopped by to leave comments; I’ve always found him to be personable. Last year, he called for reconciliation between Shoebat and Mosab Yousef, a rival Palestinian ex-Muslim-turned-Christian whom Shoebat had accused of being a Hamas “infiltrator”.

Richardson’s teachings have recently gone international: at the beginning of May he gave a presentation at the Salem Church in Stavanger, Norway.

(Incidentally, I recently received an email from a reader urging me to consider two other points in favour of the “Muslim Anti-Christ” theory. I don’t know if these are arguments which Richardson would endorse, but they’re kicking around the internet. They are: (1) that there is a phonetic similarly between the Hebrew word “‘?l?h“, meaning “curse”, and “Allah; (2) that Zechariah 5 mentions a “flying scroll” sent out across the world as a curse, and this is supposedly a prophecy of the Koran. Both points are nonsense: there is no etymological link between “Allah” and “‘?l?h”, and the concept of “curse” has been misunderstood. A “curse” in the Bible is actually a punishment inflicted by God, and it’s clear that the “flying scroll” is a symbolic instrument of God, not some kind of rival religious text.)

London Mayor’s “Muslim Engagement” Expert “Likes” Thug’s Abuse

Added “Like” to comments calling me a “fat cunt” and boasting of harassment

Yesterday, I noted in passing that Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who a few days ago was reportedly chosen by her ex-husband Boris Johnson to join a London Mayoral “Muslim Engagement Task Force” (she teaches art at a mosque in east London and is married to a Muslim), had recently chaired a debate organised by Charlie Flowers, the on-line thug who has subjected me, and others, to on-going campaigns of abuse and attempted intimidation. I didn’t make a meal of it: it seemed to me that Mostyn-Owen was probably unaware of Flowers’ unpleasant behaviour, or had been fobbed off with an excuse of some sort.

Alas, it seems I was being unduly optimistic: Mostyn-Owen (who also uses the contraction “Allegra Mowen”) is fully aware of Flowers’ behaviour and character, and she apparently endorses both. Late last night she linked to my post on the Facebook page of Flowers’ “Cheerleaders Against Everything” group, and she has expressed her approval (via the “Like” button) of comments following from Flowers and another crony. As ever, Flowers abuses me as a “fat cunt” (“cunt” being one of his favourite words), and he accuses me of being in league with MPAC (I’m not). A screen-shot can be seen here; for extra measure, Flowers also throws in his usual “stalker” lie against Tim Ireland, borrowed from Nadine Dorries MP – in 2009, Flowers was manipulated by Dominic Wightman into harassing Tim, and to save face when he realised the truth he then bandwagoned on Dorries’ accusations.

Of course, what Flowers and Mostyn-Owen think of me is not particularly of wider public interest. However, what is alarming is that someone who supposedly is soon to be advising the Mayor of London on Islam is so quick to approve and encourage a man who is so obviously vicious and dishonest – and, for that matter, who comes with so many unanswered questions around him. In 2010, as a friend of Alan Lake, Flowers held the megaphone at an EDL rally in Westminster in support of Geert Wilders; while we can accept his claim that this was at a time when he hoped that elements in the EDL would remain focused on Islamic extremism rather than becoming generally anti-Muslim (it’s a mistake to call Flowers “Islamophobic” – the problem is rather that he’s a vigilante rather than that he’s anti-Muslim), his role at the rally remains somewhat odd. Later that year he was arrested, although no charges followed.

It should be noted that Flowers continually forces himself into my awareness. It was he who first contacted me, at the end of 2008, boasting of his links to Dominic Wightman’s VIGIL organisation (through which Flowers is also linked to Glen Jenvey), and he continues to contact me with abusive and taunting messages. The most recent batch came through on 22 May.

UPDATE: Flowers has now progressed from making crudely abusive comments to boasting of actual harassment – and once again, Mostyn-Owen is giggling along:

To add a bit of commentary on this: Bukhari is not my “friend”, and I’ve never had any contact with him. Flowers knows he’s lying. In 2009 I contacted MPAC to get details about potential bogus postings being made to the MPAC discussion forum by Glen Jenvey; of course Flowers didn’t like me doing that, since making bogus postings is one of the main things that he thinks constitutes activism. It hardly follows from that that I’m in league with MPAC, or even a supporter. I don’t know the details of what he did to Bukhari, but it may perhaps be related to Flowers’ (apparently botched) arrest at the end of 2010.

As for Tim – he’s not a “womanstalker”, or any kind of stalker. As noted above, Dorries complained about him, but as has been amply demonstrated, this because she doesn’t like scrutiny of her conduct as a MP and she’s unscrupulous when it comes to discouraging critics. Also, Tim is not “on meds”, although a malicious photoshopped image has been created which purports to show a box of anti-psychotic medicine made out in Tim’s name. The image was emailed it to various hostile individuals, including Harry Cole and, as a form of harassment, to Tim himself.

Flowers published Tim’s ex-directory home address on-line, shortly after Jenvey had made postings of his own accusing Tim of being a paedophile. Flowers’ stated intention was that Tim should be forced to “go back to Australia”, and Flowers promised that his details would be given to everyone he’d “ever pissed off”; if Flowers was true to his word, that would have included a UK-based Nigerian herbalist who had recently threatened a woman journalist with oral rape, and the BNP.

This is the viciousness which Allegra Mostyn-Owen “Likes”. She is clearly not a fit person to be advising the mayor on anything. However, it’s unlikely to worry Boris Johnson; Tim has previous knowledge of Johnson ignoring a paedo-smear complaint, and we all remember Johnson in 1990 promising to help his friend Darius Guppy track down a journalist whom Guppy wished to give “a couple of black eyes and a … a cracked rib or something”.

(Footnote: As an aside, Boris Watch notes that Mostyn-Owen has recently discussed on Facebook the possibility of getting her current husband “some kind of diplomatic visa thru’ strings” to visit Pakistan. Clearly someone used to getting her own way.)