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25 January 1979
Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England
|Occupation||Muslim public figure, Political commentator|
|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) 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. In October 2013 he was warned by anti-terrorist police about death threats being made by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
In January 2014 he led a campaign in reaction to Maajid Nawaz tweeting an image from the Jesus and Mo cartoon. He was criticised by many in the media and social media as whipping up hatred against Nawaz.
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. Through representing the Foundation, he has become a regular face in British media, commenting on British-Muslim issues and perspectives.
Muslim Unity Convention
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. He was a member of the organising committee of the second International Muslim Unity Convention held in October 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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. 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. 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, 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. He was also the first UK Muslim leader to appear on BBC News to condemn the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack.
Rochdale sex trafficking case
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. 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. 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".
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" and had urged jihadists in the UK to take action, citing the murder of Lee Rigby as an example to follow. Shafiq was later offered special police protection by the police.
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. He joined the Liberal Democrats. 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". He returned to Labour in 2015.
Maajid Nawaz Controversy
In January 2014 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim, posted a "Jesus and Mo" image on his Twitter account. The image depicts Jesus saying "Hey" and Mohammed saying "How ya doin'". Shafiq then posted on Twitter "We will notify all muslim organisations in the UK of his despicable behaviour and also notify Islamic countries." Shafiq further Tweeted "Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam," so linking Nawaz's anti-extremist think tank with an Urdu term which means "defamer of the prophet", which under Islamic law is a crime that carries a death penalty. Maajid Nawaz has since received a number of death threats. Shafiq also reportedly organized an on-line petition to Nick Clegg to have Nawaz removed as a Liberal Democrat candidate, 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." The online petition asking Clegg to suspend Nawaz eventually had 22, 927 supporters, a counter petition calling for Clegg to discipline Shafiq received 8,375 supporters.
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