Mohammed Shafiq

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Mohammed Shafiq
Born Mohammed Shafiq
(1979-01-25) 25 January 1979 (age 38)
Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England
Occupation Muslim public figure, Political commentator
Children Three Daughters
Parent(s) Khalifah Haji Muhammad Ramzan RA and Hajan Nasim Akhtar
Awards Fusion man of the year runner-up 2008

Mohammed Shafiq (born 25 January 1979)[1] is the English-born chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organisation based in Greater Manchester, and a media commentator on British-Muslim issues.

Shafiq has spoken out against extremism and terrorism since 2001, condemning the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack.[2] In October 2013 he was warned by anti-terrorist police about death threats being made by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.[3][4]

In January 2014 he led a campaign in reaction to Maajid Nawaz tweeting an image from the Jesus and Mo cartoon.[5] He was criticised by many in the media and social media as whipping up hatred against Nawaz.[6]

Career[edit]

Ramadhan Foundation[edit]

In August 2005 he was appointed as press spokesman of the Ramadhan Foundation, a moderate group[citation needed] aimed at helping young Muslims in the United Kingdom and fostering interfaith dialogue.[7] Through representing the Foundation, he has become a regular face in British media, commenting on British-Muslim issues and perspectives.[8][9][10][11]

Muslim Unity Convention[edit]

Shafiq was the project manager for the first Muslim Unity Convention, held in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.[12] He was a member of the organising committee of the second International Muslim Unity Convention held in October 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[13][14]

Media[edit]

Shafiq has appeared regularly on television and radio since 2005, when the newly elected Pope, Benedict XVI made a controversial speech in Germany, and Shafiq appeared on Sky News and BBC News 24 to discuss the issue.[15][16] Shafiq is a senior presenter and head of News and Politics on Ummah Channel and presents various shows including the Debate Night show and is also the main English-speaking presenter.[17] 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.

He has been accused by MEP Daniel Hannan of being a "rent a quote" beloved of journalists for his controversial views,[18] but more recently has been recognised for speaking honestly [according to whom?] on controversial topics such as the cases of child grooming in Blackburn and Rochdale.[19] He was also the first UK Muslim leader to appear on BBC News to condemn the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack.[20]

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"[3] and had urged jihadists in the UK to take action, citing the murder of Lee Rigby as an example to follow.[4][23] Shafiq was later offered special police protection by the police.[4][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 joined 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] He returned to Labour in 2015.[27]

Maajid Nawaz Controversy[edit]

In January 2014 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, posted a "Jesus and Mo" image on his Twitter account.[28] The image depicts Jesus saying "Hey" and Mohammed saying "How ya doin'".[29][30] Shafiq then posted on Twitter "We will notify all muslim organisations in the UK of his despicable behaviour and also notify Islamic countries."[31][32] Shafiq further Tweeted "Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam," so linking Nawaz's anti-extremist think tank with an Urdu term which means "defamer of the prophet",[33] which under Islamic law is a crime that carries a death penalty.[34] Maajid Nawaz has since received a number of death threats.[28][32][35] Shafiq also reportedly organized an on-line petition to Nick Clegg to have Nawaz removed as a Liberal Democrat candidate,[33] 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."[36] The online petition asking Clegg to suspend Nawaz eventually had 22, 927 supporters,[37] a counter petition calling for Clegg to discipline Shafiq received 8,375 supporters.[5][30][38]

Personal life[edit]

Shafiq attended Springhill High School in Rochdale and Bury College and is married with three daughters.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Muslim campaigner says grooming scandal has exposed problem, Manchester Evening News, May 9, 2012.
  2. ^ YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Lisa Gray (19 October 2013). "Extremism opponent targeted on terrorist hit list". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Simon Hooper (26 October 2013). "British Muslims defiant over al-Shabab threat". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  5. ^ a b Nick Cohen. "The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty" Nick Cohen, The Guardian 25 January 2014; accessed 15 February 2014
  7. ^ Freedom but no release from saga. By David Sapsted. The National. Published 25 February 2009.
  8. ^ forced marriages
  9. ^ honour killings
  10. ^ "Muslim leader accuses police of being 'over cautious' in stopping Asian gangs pimping white girls". Mail Online. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  11. ^ drug dealers
  12. ^ "Muslim Unity Convention". IslamicBoard - Discover Islam - Connect with Muslims. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Mohammed-Shafiq. "2nd International Muslim Unity Convention 2009 - Spirit Of Islam". Yanabi.com. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  14. ^ Ramadhan Foundation. "2nd International Muslim Unity Convention". Muslimunityconvention.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  15. ^ YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  16. ^ YouTube. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "David Miliband speaks to Ummah Channel". YouTube. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  18. ^ Daniel Hannan (11 January 2009). "Who appointed this man a "Muslim leader"?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  19. ^ a b Nigel Bunyan (8 May 2012). "Rochdale grooming trial: Mohammed Shafiq, the campaigner who stood up to the abusers". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  20. ^ "Glasgow terrorist attack ITV NEWS". YouTube. 1 July 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  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. London. 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. ^ Nicholas Watt. "Nicholas Watt tracks down the people who watched Blair enter Downing St in 1997". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "Mohammed Shafiq (Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats)". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  26. ^ "Rochdale News - News Headlines - Man exposed for deceit chosen as Lib Dem candidate for Bamford! - Rochdale Online". Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  27. ^ "Rochdale News - News Headlines - Mohammed Shafiq joins the Labour Party - Rochdale Online". Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  28. ^ a b Keith Perry "Lib Dem candidate receives death threats for tweeting Prophet Mohammed cartoon" Daily Telegraph 21 January 2014
  29. ^ "maajid nawaz". Twitter. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  30. ^ a b "Maajid Nawaz asks for calm over Jesus and Prophet Mohammed cartoon tweet" Christian Today 22 January 2014
  31. ^ "Mohammed Shafiq". Twitter. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  32. ^ a b BBC News: "Cartoon row: Deselection call for Lib Dem Maajid Nawaz" See video from 3:18
  33. ^ a b Nick Cohen "The Liberal Democrats face a true test of liberty", The Observer, 25 January 2014
  34. ^ http://islamqa.info/en/22809
  35. ^ Rowena Mason "Maajid Nawaz defends decision to tweet controversial cartoon" The Guardian 28 January 2014; accessed 15 February 2014
  36. ^ 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
  37. ^ Brown, Jonathan; Johnston, Ian (26 January 2014). "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. London. 
  38. ^ "Petition · Give full support to LibDem PPC Maajid Nawaz and take disciplinary action against party member Mohammed Shafiq · Change.org". Change.org. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 

External links[edit]