Mohammed Shafiq

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Mohammed Shafiq
Born Mohammed Shafiq
(1979-01-25) 25 January 1979 (age 35)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Occupation Political commentator
Religion Sunni Islam
Children Three Daughters
Parents Khalifah Haji Muhammad Ramzan RA and Hajan Nasim Akhtar
Awards Fusion man of the year runner-up 2008

Mohammed Shafiq (25 January 1979 in Manchester, England) is a founding member and Chief Executive of Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organisation based in Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom. He is also Head of News and Politics at the Ummah Channel.

Shafiq has spoken out against extremism and terrorism since 2001, and was the first UK Muslim leader to appear on BBC News to condemn the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack.[1]

In October 2013 he was warned by anti-terrorist police about death threats being made by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.[2][3]

In January 2014 he led a campaign in reaction to Maajid Nawaz tweeting a cartoon from the Jesus and Mo series.[4] He was criticized by many in the media and social media as whipping up hatred against Maajid Nawaz.[5]

Ramadhan Foundation[edit]

In August 2005 he was appointed as press spokesman of The Ramadhan Foundation, a moderate group aimed at helping young Muslims in the United Kingdom and fostering interfaith dialogue.[6]

Representing the Foundation, he has become a regular face across TV, radio and newspapers, responding to Muslim issues and making numerous statements on controversial subjects including forced marriages, honour killings, grooming of white teenagers, and drug dealers.[7][8][9][10] He has been accused by MEP Daniel Hannan of being a "rent a quote" beloved of journalists for his controversial views,[11] but more recently has been recognized for speaking honestly on controversial topics such as the cases of child grooming in Blackburn and Rochdale.[12] He was also the first UK Muslim leader to appear on BBC News to condemn the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack.[13]

Muslim Unity Convention[edit]

Shafiq was the project manager for the 1st Muslim Unity Convention, held in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 in the city of Manchester at the magnificent Bridgewater Hall.[14]

Shafiq was a member of the organising committee of the 2nd International Muslim Unity Convention held in October 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia[15][16]

Media appearances[edit]

Shafiq has appeared regularly on television and radio since 2005. He came to prominence when the then newly elected Pope, Benedict XVI, made a controversial speech in Germany during which he quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said all the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world was "evil and inhuman"; the speech had provoked protests by Muslims across the world.[17] Shafiq appeared on Sky News and BBC News 24 to discuss this issue.[18][19]

Shafiq is a senior Presenter and Head of News and Politics on Ummah Channel and presents various shows including the world famous Debate Night show and also is the main English speaking presenter for special shows and broadcasts.[20]

Shafiq also regularly reviews the newspapers on Stephen Nolan's weekend late night show on Fridays at midnight on BBC Radio 5 Live along with former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes.

Rochdale sex trafficking case[edit]

In interviews and in published articles regarding the Rochdale sex trafficking gang, Shafiq has made controversial statements regarding members of the Pakistani community who had been involved in grooming girls, blaming them for harbouring a racist attitude towards white girls.[21] He observed there was an over representation of Pakistani men convicted of child sexual exploitation and on street gang grooming in which the majority of victims are white.[21] The groomers would exploit white girls for sex and abuse as "they should not have extra-marital sex with Pakistani girls inside their own tightly-knit communities".[22]

Al-Shabaab threats[edit]

In October 2013 Shafiq was alerted by anti-terrorist police that he and a number of other prominent Muslim figures in the UK had been targeted by a propaganda video created by Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya: the video branded Shafiq and other Muslims for "selling out"[2] and had urged jihadists in the UK to take action, citing the murder of Lee Rigby as an example to follow.[3][23] Shafiq has been offered special protection by the police if there is any further sign of threat. Shafiq continues to campaign against terrorism and to give interviews.[3][23]

Political affiliation[edit]

Shafiq was a member of the Labour Party for two months in 1997 but resigned when the government introduced tuition fees against the promises before the election.[24]

He is a supporter and member of the Liberal Democrats [25]

In February 2008 he was asked to resign as vice-chairman of Rochdale Liberal Democrats, following comments he posted online under the name "Deeplish Lad", accusing a colleague of racism and using "tricks from the BNP handbook" - a move said by Lib Dem sources to be "the final straw".[26]

Maajid Nawaz Controversy[edit]

In January 2014 Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, posted a "Jesus and Mo" image on his twitter account.[27] The image depicts Jesus saying "hey" and Mohammed saying "How ya doin".[28][29] Mohammed Shafiq then posted on twitter "We will notify all muslim organisations in the UK of his despicable behaviour and also notify Islamic countries."[30][31] Shafiq further Tweeted "Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam," so linking Nawaz's anti-extremist think tank with an Urdu term which means "defamer of the prophet" in Urdu,[32] which under Islamic law is a crime that carries a death penalty.[33] Maajid Nawaz has since received a number of death threats.[27][31][34] Shafiq also reportedly organized an on-line petition to Nick Clegg to have Nawaz removed as a Liberal Democrat candidate,[32] though when the organizers of the petition, named as SA et al, were contacted by the press they distanced themselves from Shafiq, adding, "Incitement to murder is completely unjustified."[35]

An online petition with more than 6000 signatures (as of 26/01/14) was meanwhile created calling for Nick Clegg to discipline Mohammed Shafiq.[4][29][36]

Personal life[edit]

Shafiq attended Springhill High School in Rochdale and Bury College in Lancashire and is married with three daughters.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC News: Glasgow terrorist attack
  2. ^ a b Lisa Gray (19 October 2013). "Extremism opponent targeted on terrorist hit list". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Simon Hooper (26 October 2013). "British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/25/liberal-democrats-t-shirt-jesus-muhammad-religion?utm_content=buffer4fa99&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer&commentpage=1
  5. ^ "The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty" Nick Cohen, The Guardian 25 January 2014; accessed 15 February 2014
  6. ^ Freedom but no release from saga. By David Sapsted. The National. Published 25 February 2009.
  7. ^ forced marriages
  8. ^ honour killings
  9. ^ Grooming of White Teenagers, Daily Mail
  10. ^ drug dealers
  11. ^ Daniel Hannan (11 January 2009). "Who appointed this man a "Muslim leader"?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  12. ^ a b Nigel Bunyan (8 May 2012). "Rochdale grooming trial: Mohammed Shafiq, the campaigner who stood up to the abusers". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  13. ^ "Glasgow terrorist attack - Mohammed Shafiq". YouTube. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  14. ^ Muslim Unity Convention
  15. ^ Mohammed-Shafiq. "2nd International Muslim Unity Convention 2009 - Spirit Of Islam". Yanabi.com. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  16. ^ Ramadhan Foundation. "2nd International Muslim Unity Convention". Muslimunityconvention.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  17. ^ "Pope 'sorry' for offence to Islam" BBC News 16 September 2006; accessed 15 February 2014
  18. ^ Sky News
  19. ^ BBC News 24
  20. ^ "David Miliband speaks to Ummah Channel". YouTube. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  21. ^ a b Muhammed, Shafiq (18 May 2012). "Rochdale grooming trial: Split views on race issue". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  22. ^ Shafiq, Mohammed (18 May 2012). "An obsession with racism that left vulnerable girls at the mercy of sex predators". Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "BBC Radio Manchester - Indus, British Muslims threatened by Al-Shabab". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "Mohammed Shafiq (Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats)". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  26. ^ http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/community/276/man-exposed-for-deceit-chosen-as-lib-dem-candidate-for-bamford
  27. ^ a b Keith Perry "Lib Dem candidate receives death threats for tweeting Prophet Mohammed cartoon" Daily Telegraph 21 January 2014
  28. ^ https://twitter.com/MaajidNawaz/status/422342223460855809
  29. ^ a b "Maajid Nawaz asks for calm over Jesus and Prophet Mohammed cartoon tweet" Christian Today 22 January 2014
  30. ^ https://twitter.com/mshafiquk/status/424575029599543296
  31. ^ a b BBC News: "Cartoon row: Deselection call for Lib Dem Maajid Nawaz" See video from 3:18
  32. ^ a b Nick Cohen "The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty", The Observer, 25 January 2014
  33. ^ http://islamqa.info/en/22809
  34. ^ Rowena Mason "Maajid Nawaz defends decision to tweet controversial cartoon" The Guardian 28 January 2014; accessed 15 February 2014
  35. ^ Jonathan Brown and Ian Johnston "Nick Clegg attacks death threats against Maajid Nawaz - Lib Dem candidate who tweeted a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus greeting each other", The Independent, 26 January 2014
  36. ^ http://www.change.org/petitions/nick-clegg-give-full-support-to-libdem-ppc-maajid-nawaz-and-take-disciplinary-action-against-party-member-mohammed-shafiq

External links[edit]