Tower Hamlets council has rightly come in for a fair degree of stick for providing platforms to people who don’t really fit the community cohesion agenda. Not only did it give Preventing Violent Extremism money to members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, via the Cordoba Foundation, in February 2008, but it also has a track record renting out public buildings to others who are even more hardline.
Past guests put up courtesy of the town hall include Omar Bakri Mohammed and the Yemen-based terror fugitive Anwar Al-Awlaki.
In fact, it was after the outrage caused by the latter’s video-linked appearance at the Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel in April 2009, that the council realised it needed to tighten its controls. Worryingly, as late as last November, their new checking system seemed to be a touch rusty when Anjem Choudary’s loony mob managed to book Collingwood Hall for an “Islamic Revival” event.
However, things are now looking better.
Today, around 150 Tower Hamlets mums turned up to the Brady Centre to hear a series of lectures about how to raise their children. The women-only Raising A Nation conference was organised by the Tayyibun Institute and was billed as the “key to a victorious Ummah”.
One of the men enlisted to advise on child-rearing techniques was Abu Abdissalam. Believed to be aged in his 30s, he was born in Coventry and raised in London. He gained a degree in Computer Science from City University and then went to study Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia.
He doesn’t much like the West (and who can blame him after drunken excesses of last night!); in fact he appears to be brimming with anger.
Full details about him can be seen on the Harry’s Place website here. He makes references to the stoning to death of adulterers, chopping off the hands of thieves and to Ali Al-Timini, the US cleric convicted for plotting terrorism in the wake of 9/11.
When asked if he would be turning up to today’s event, the organisers merely said that “something had come up” and that he was being replaced by another speaker.
Isn’t being honest an essential ingredient of child-rearing?
Here’s why he wasn’t there: someone at Tower Hamlets council had done their research on Abdissalam and demanded his name be removed from the list of speakers as a condition of hire.
A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Abdissalam was on an original list of speakers for this event, but was flagged up in our booking protocols (the Conditions of Hire) as someone of concern. The organisers were therefore asked to remove him from the list of speakers, which they did, and the event went ahead without him today.”
I don’t often get to say this, but well done, Tower Hamlets council. What other New Year resolutions should they be making?