MPAC Founder Supported Holocaust Denier in 2000

From today’s Observer

Asghar Bukhari, a founder member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), which describes itself as Britain’s largest Muslim civil rights group, sent money to [David] Irving and urged Islamic websites to ask visitors to make donations to his fighting fund.

In one email Bukhari tells Irving: ‘You may feel like you are on your own but rest assured many people are with you in your fight for the Truth.’…

…Bukhari confirmed sending the letters in 2000. ‘I had a lot of sympathy for anyone who opposed Israel,’ Bukhari told The Observer said. ‘I wrote letters to anyone who was tough against the Israelis – David Irving, Paul Findley, the PLO.”I don’t feel I have done anything wrong, to be honest. At the time I was of the belief he [Irving] was anti-Zionist, being smeared for nothing more then being anti-Zionist.

The MPACUK website responds in bullish mood:

…Mr Bukhari must have known David Irving would be convicted 6 years later of holocaust denial? If Asghar Bukhari had known of David Irving’s holocaust denial and racism he would have condemned him, not given him any support!…the plain fact is that MPACUK have been very clear in our condemnation of holocaust denial…

Asghar Bukhari’s mistake 6 years ago was to judge on the basis of the limited number of David Irving’s articles he had seen, and assume that accusations of anti-Semitism against him were simply another smear campaign. In 2000 when this incident occurred Irving was fighting a libel case and the key principle in our legal system is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Now that it has become clear that Irving does in fact hold such dispicable [sic] views Asghar Bukhari has no hesitation in opposing him.

…Twisting an innocent gesture of support (even if gravely mistaken) into more than it is, is just another Islamaphobic [sic] attack aimed at undermining and harming the brave individuals who support the Palestinian cause and the cause of British Muslims.

This blustering and self-righteous response, by turns hectoring and whiny, makes little sense. Bukhari only supported Irving because he believed that someone is “innocent until proven guilty” – but Irving was the plaintiff in 2000; it was Deborah Lipstadt who stood accused of being a liar and a libeller, for having made reference to Irving’s Holocaust denial and far-right links. But more to the point: what sort of utter fool “assumes” that Irving fights for the “Truth” (with a capital “T”), and that he is right to persecute an academic through the UK’s libel courts – but doesn’t feel the need to find out what he actually stands for before launching into a fundraising campaign? Given that Irving’s views and political activities have been widely reported in the mainstream media for many years, this beggars belief.

MPAC complains that supporters of Palestinian rights are often smeared as anti-Semites. That is indeed the case, and this blog has covered various individuals and organisations who try to silence criticism of Israel in this way. But MPAC indulges in exactly the same vice: expose a Muslim who wraps himself in the Palestinian flag while consorting with far-right extremists and you’re an Islamophobic apologist for Israel.

The extent and influence of pro-Israel lobbies in various countries is a subject of perennial debate. However, most of that discussion ignores or plays down a vital part of the dynamic: the role of a pro-Palestinian anti-lobby [sic] led by demagogues and fanatics.

2 Responses

  1. […] extremists, and they began with pranks aimed against the likes of Asghar Bukhari (of whom I am not a fan). However, because Tim uncovered a bogus posting to a Muslim website designed to create an […]

  2. […] not), and, noting that Bukhari once offered to donate money to David Irving (as I blogged here), he suggests that I am in fact a […]

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