Thursday, April 09, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Blears Tells MCB Deputy Chair to Swivel On it

As readers may recall, the Cabinet Minister of People's Hearts, Hazel Blears, has been threatened with a libel action by the deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council for Britain (MCB) Daud Abdullah. He wants £75,000 of taxpayers' cash because he thinks La Chipmunk libelled him in a letter to the Guardian which questioned his signing of the Istanbul declaration (a call for global Jihad), and in particular the parts which seem to suggest that it is legitimate to attack UK forces. Hazel Blears has already made clear that she will robustly defend any such action and the government will refuse to do business with the MCB until this issue is resolved.

I can today reveal that her legal team have sent Abdullah's solicitors a very trenchant letter, which basically says, "see you in court".

Letter from the Treasury Solicitor, acting on behalf of HMG

8th April

Farooq Bajwa & Co
Regent House
Nuffield Place
London W1H 5YN

Dear Sirs

Dr Daud Abdullah

We act for the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and have been passed a copy of your letter to her dated 31 March.

We understand from your letter that your client, Dr Daud Abdullah, does not dispute that he is a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration from which the Muslim Council of Britain (the MCB) has distanced itself in its letter of 23 March. We further understand that Dr Abdullah has not yet sought personally to disavow the content of that Declaration, and that he has not taken any action to withdraw his signature from it.

We assume that Dr Abdullah would not dissent from the view that the contents of the Declaration are a matter of legitimate and substantial public concern, and that, as the Government Minister with lead responsibility for community relations and faith matters, the Secretary of State has a clear duty to comment on the issues raised by it, especially since Dr Abdullah has signed it whilst holding a senior position in the Muslim Council of Britain which has been one of the Government’s interlocutors in the Muslim communities.

In the light of the Secretary of State’s duty, and given that your client appears to stand by the contents of the Declaration, we consider that the assertions made in your letter are misplaced.

You complain on behalf of your client that, in her letter dated 25 March 2009 which was published in The Guardian on 26 March, the Secretary of State commented that the declaration which your client signed,

“supports violence against foreign forces – which could include naval personnel.”;

That comment was based upon, and fully warranted by, the wording of paragraph 8 of the Declaration, which provides as follows:

“The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard the sending of foreign warships into Muslim waters…as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression, and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation. This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways.” [emphasis added]

If, as you insist on his behalf, your client did not intend the Declaration to be seen as a call to attack foreign warships, then surely he should not have signed it whilst it contained paragraph 8 and should now take steps to resile from it - as, we understand, the MCB has claimed it has done.

You also insist on your client’s behalf, in relation to the issue of anti-Semitic violence, that he has never advocated violence of any sort, least of all that based on race and or religion; and your client has, in his response to the Secretary of State published on the Guardian website on 26 March, directly stated his position as being

“…absolutely opposed to any attack or violence directed against innocent persons of any faith or no faith anywhere in the world…” [emphasis added]

The Secretary of State’s legitimate concern is however that, far from being “a declaration of political support” as you contend, the Declaration read as a whole does encourage such violence, since Paragraph II 7 provides as follows:

“The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity.”

The clear meaning of this is that any supporter of Israel is to be regarded not as innocent, but rather as guilty of the perceived “crimes and brutality” of Israel, and as liable to the same treatment as that which the Declaration calls for against Israel. Elsewhere in the Declaration, reference is made to “jihad and resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine” [Paragraph II.5]; to Hamas “maintaining the Resistance against the Jewish Zionist occupation” [paragraph II.2]; to the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to broker a peaceful solution as “the false peace process” [paragraph II.3]; and so on.

If, as you insist on his behalf, your client is opposed to all violence of any sort, then that is a further reason why he should not have signed the Declaration and should now distance himself from it.

In this regard, the Secretary of State welcomes the statement dated 26th March (but not issued until 27 March, and in any case subsequent to the Secretary of State’s letter in the Guardian dated 25 March) signed by inter alia Dr Abdullah and agreed at a meeting attended by Mohammad Sarwar MP. While this clearly states that Dr Abdullah rejects violence, the conflict with the Istanbul Declaration remains and Dr Abdullah remains a signatory to it.

The Secretary of State’s preferred course is that these issues are resolved by discussion between all the interested parties, as offered in Mr Rossington’s letter of 25 March and accepted by Dr Bari, Secretary General of the MCB in his letter of 27 March to Mr Rossington. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State does not consider that such discussions can sensibly take place while the threat of legal proceedings remains.

Dr Abdullah will no doubt wish to consider this reply, with the benefit of advice from you. We should make it clear, however, that if his decision is to proceed with an action against the Secretary of State, that action will be defended robustly; and the Secretary of State will take all steps necessary to vindicate her position in front of a judge and jury. We hope this will not be necessary; but if proceedings are issued, we confirm that we have instructions to accept service on behalf of the Secretary of State.

It follows, of course, that your offer of settlement is rejected.

Yours faithfully,

Well that told them! The only way to deal with this kind of issue is to defend yourself robustly and leave the opposition in no doubt that you will defend yourself at all costs. Abdullah now has a real dilemma. His only real option it to back down as gracefully as possible. Of course, if the MCB had any balls, it would fire him as deputy chairman. But we all know that the MCB is like when it comes to terror accusations. They condemn them, but someone always find a way of using the word 'but'.

Note: Hazel Blear's original letter to The Guardian is HERE. Mr Abdullah defends his position HERE.


JuliaM said...

I'm no fan of hers (I long for the day she's booted out in disgrace, frankly) but on this, she's absolutely right.

Simon Gardner said...

Good for her.

It’s way, way about time someone started standing up to the god-botherers.

Anonymous said...

She (Labour) made a rod for their own back by thinking they could moderate/mitigate the *Muslim problem*.

However, I am glad to see she is treating them with the contempt the MCB deserves.

Simon Gardner - I hate that picture you used! It looks like that woman from Blake7!

JuliaM said...

It is.

I think Simple Simon dreams of commanding women trampling all over his...erm, 'civil rights' ;)

Simon Gardner said...

It is the woman from Blake’s 7 (Jacqueline Pearce).

Unsworth said...

Why bother with all the verbiage? She should simply have told him to issue his writ. Abdullah is a bluffer.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Abdullah is a bluffer.

I misread that as "fluffer" and was wondering if Islam didn't forbid that sort of thing

Roger Thornhill said...

I am so glad the letter picks up on the disingenuous boilerplate mumbleswerve so typical in such situations, namely:

“…absolutely opposed to any attack or violence directed against innocent persons of any faith or no faith anywhere in the world…”

and in particular the term "innocent". The letter highlights this in regard to direct or indirect references to Israel, but AFAICT it does not stop there and anyone can be deemed as not being innocent.

Reference the mealy-mouthed utterances in regard to 9/11, 7/7 and other events.

This has to be nailed.

Bert Rustle said...

I would hazard a guess that this is partly motivated by the desire to dissuade those who previously voted Labour from voting BNP.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Somewhat antithetical to the spirit of Passover.

Lexander said...

Come on let's get Abdulla in court facing a tough QC. About time we got a straight answer from him. Well done Blears.

Vulpus_rex said...

The MCB and its ilk are more or less New Labour creations.

Without the ear of a government desperately bending over backwards to appease these unelected loud mouths the organisation would have starved of oxygen years ago.

I'd like to wish her luck, but the repellent HB is merely now having to tame a group of professional trouble makers she and her party created.

Dr Evil said...

That is a very verbose way of saying "put up or shut up". the MCB is a bunch of extremists anyway. I really do not understand why the government bothers with them. they are just vocal. They have no legitimacy. They weren't voted into office. Just a noisy pressure group who want to foist their ridiculous views on the rest of us. Perhaps Hazel should see if she can find reasons to deport a few of them. Wouldn't that be fun?

Rob said...

A meber of the government doing something right? It makes a pleasant change, even if I find Blears to be odious at the best of times. I do wish they'd stop inviting her onto Question Time. Always manages to descend each question into a party political spat, though to be fair, this appears to be the tactic of most of her cabinet colleagues too.

AnyoneButBrown said...

Why bother with all the legal guff? Wouldn't it have been easier for Hazel's brief to send a letter simply saying:

"We refer you the reply given to the plaintiff in Arkell v. Pressdram"?

subrosa said...

I never thought I'd ever type well doe Hazel Blears but I just have.

Obnoxio you make my day :)

Tomfiglio said...

Not normally a fan of Blears, and she probably wouldn't court my approval, but she's making a principled, cogent stand here. Well done. I wish my local council had some of her grit.

Sunder Katwala said...

Much as our libel laws need reform, this seems to me an example of self-destruction by lawsuit by Mr Abdullah.

I posted on this last night, though wasn't aware of this development, so congrats to Iain on the scoop.

Unknown said...

is the falling out with labour the reason they're not on the bbc anymore?

Peter Grimes said...

The Chipmunk DOES look pleased with herself, doesn't she? She seems to have got something right, but I thought that she was a solicitor. Why did she need the Treasury Solicitor to stand up for her?

A said...

The lawyers' letter is a bit of a fudge itself though; they write:
in relation to the issue of anti-Semitic violence
But fail to prove that he has called for anti-Semitic violence, only violence. Even though Blears wrote that he had signed:
A declaration [...] advocating attacks on Jewish communities all around the world.
But the declaration didn't do that - it did a lot of other unpleasant things instead.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Yes I have to say well done to Iain`s little chipmonk just a pity more of them didnt stand up for what was right, rather than vote garnering, in the past.

By the way does anyone know the views of the chief PC manipulator, Harperson herself, on this issue...

Unsworth said...

@ Obnoxio

Well it forbids most things...

talwin said...

'...action will be defended robustly'. Has the government any of our money left to do this?

Anonymous said...

I suppose I am as guilty as the next man - but 'swivel on it'?

The coarsening of society continues and the web continues to promote it.

moorlandhunter said...

I don’t really like Blears but on this occasion I will stand right next to her and tell the MCB to swivel. Hear hear little Blears
I still won’t vote for Labour, a party that took us to war on lies, sits back and allows the country to go down the toilet and for so long, still is in many cases, not giving enough kit to our fighting forces in Afghanistan where they sent them in the first place.
I still want Blair to face a public enquiry into his lies that has seen many of our soldiers dying in the Middle East as well as thousands of Iraqis and is now milking in £400,000 for two 20 minute talks on the strength of his lies.

I wish a spot to form on the end of his nose!

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Good for you, Chipmunk! About ten years too late, of course. The MCB, like most pressure groups, should never have been allowed to get their grubby little paws on the public purse.

Not a sheep said...

I have never had much time for Hazel Blears but over this one issue I applaud her.

The Grim Reaper said...

I find it slightly laughable that this is a woman who is a member of a government that, for many years, bent over backwards in order to appease various bearded nutters who claim to represent the Muslims of this country.

Still, I suppose they've got to get the Murdoch press off their backs somehow, don't they?

Jon Lishman said...

What does 'swivel on it' actually mean?

Jimmy said...

It seems to me that the most defamatory allegation is that he has signed a declaration calling for attacks on Jewish communities. It plainly does no such thing. Her letter attempts to move the goalposts by claiming that he has not completely disavowed violence. Undoubtedly this is true but it is a different allegation to the original claim of anti-semitism. I wonder how many will still be cheering if she loses and the taxpayer foots the bill.

The Grim Reaper said...

denverthen said "What does 'swivel on it' actually mean?"

Without putting it too crudely, it basically means Blears is telling Abdullah to stick his finger up his rear and... well, you get the picture.

Jon Lishman said...

Many thanks Grim.

Brief research reveals not that much:

The gesture is also known as the "bird", "flipping the birdie", the "highway salute", "The New York Hello", "concert C", "sticking your middle finger up", "Showing Off Your Monkey", "The One-fingered Salute", "The Canadian Turn Signal", and "flipping someone off". The gesture is mostly used as a non-verbal way of saying "**** you". When both hands are used, it is known as the "double-barrel salute", the "double deuce", or the "dirty double". A more comical approach is to wiggle all five fingers and query, "Do you see these?" retracting all but the middle finger state, "Its a whole flock of these." (A distinct reference to the aforementioned "bird")

In the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the V sign (given with back of the hand towards the recipient) serves a similar purpose (primarily "**** off"), whilst "the bird" is more often used for "up yours", "swivel on it", "sit and swivel on it" or "sit and spin". "

So it seems in the UK it has something to do with (metaphorically, I trust) suffering the fundamental insertion of a foreign digit and then being urged to spin around on said intruder. A "between the lines" mode of saying "F*** you", then.


Lady Finchley said...

Go, little Chipmunk! Give 'em what for!

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

Typical new Labour spin - talk tough and then continue to fund the Muslim Council with taxpayers money.
What a yarn.
-The only way of stopping this nonsense is to vote BNP in the Proportional Representation European Elections on the 4th of June.

(The only way the lefties will prevent this is by having a good nocturnal fiddle with the ballet boxes between the UK Thursday vote and the pan-European count on the Sunday.)

Simon Gardner said...

denverthen said... “What does 'swivel on it' actually mean?”


The term is a bit graphic. By the wonder of google, Iain is now the second or third entry for this (American) phrase. Just like Bonkathon a few weeks back.

logdon said...

Anyone interested in the MCB should read this

Just like Abdullah, his sidekick Inayat Bunglawala exhibits all the traits of evasive slipperiness we come to associate with the MCB. He says 'we condemn the killing of all innocent people, wherever they are' but in the eyes of Allah only muslims are innocent and in addition, it has been stated no Israeli is innocent because they are deemed non civilians due to conscription. Catch 22 has nothing on this lot in the circular spiral of dissimulation. Their loyalty is never to host nations or places of immigration, always the magic circle of the ummah and dar el islam, all else is dar el harb (house of war) which really sums the whole thing up! As for swivelling, surely anal penetration is verboten and that orifice is reserved solely for talking out of?

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

This is just a longer version of Pressdram v Arkell isn't it?

Bird said...


You will have noted the number of prolls on this tread with identical messages:
"I don't normally like Hazel Blears, but I must admit...." etc, etc.
This is, of course, pure Labour spin, with Blears, under orders, going for the white working class vote.

Houdini said...

leave the opposition in no doubt that you will defend yourself at all costs.

Which is especially easy when you have the full weight of the Government coffers and legal bunce to play with.

Let's not make this little witch the hero when what she has done is what she, and this Government, should have done years ago but didn't have the bottle to do it. Now the public sympathy has turned against the MCB they find the balls. Blears and Labour made this bed in 1997 and 1998 when they started giving millions of taxpayers money to these people.

Anonymous said...

The government ought to go a whole lot further and institute a thorough review of all public spending lavished on a wide variety of pressure and lobby groups. If they can manage without it then that will prove what popular demand there is for their causes, ......if they cannot?

caebrwyn said...

Good for her,but she has the financial backing of course to fight this all the way, not all of us can defend a libel claim with such disregard to cost

cassandra said...

After all these years of crawling and creeping to these MCB bigots/homophobic/racist/corrupt/
evil/treacherous/two faced/hate filled scum the nulabour muffins find out the truth about the MCB?
Remind me again how much taxslave cash the MCB has pocketed?
The newlabour tools have been negotiating with the very people they should have either ignored and/or deported to the Islamic paradises they keep going on about.
See how newlabour opperates now?
Divide the population into ever more seperate groups giving in when they should be firm and buying off those who cannot be bought off, creating ill feeling and victim status while alienating the native population, way to go there you nulab numpties!

BTW & IMHO blears will bark like all small dogs do, then quietly give in to the MCB when nobodys looking, a few QUANGO appointments for the MCB bigwigs and a few concessions thrown in for good measure, we have twigged how these nulab prats opperate, say one thing and do another eh?

tory boys never grow up said...

Much as I agree with the sentiment of the letter there is an interesting question as to why a letter between lawyers which would normally be subject to legal professional privilege has been leaked? It really is getting really near the edge of the slippery slope when legal correspondence leaks and is made public. I would trust that Hazel as a qualified solicitor is not the one doing the leaking - and no I'm not asking Iain to name his source (only rats residing at the Evening Standard sink that low)

Catosays said...

Apart from wishing to have carnal knowledge with the chipmunk (is that an offence?) I have little time for her. However, on this one occasion I'll give her the clap she so richly deserves.

Twig said...

The publication of this legal correspondence supports the case that this is an appeasement to disgruntled Labour voters who may be wavering because of the party's handling of immigration and related issues.

bewick said...

I would ask
1.Is his "doctorate" in Islamic Studies" rather than genuine academic endeavour. think I know the answer!

2. What exactly IS "the Islamic Nation". WHERE is it? Why does he not reside there!

3. who does he mean by "innocent". all MY reading of that term, used in an Islamic context, means ONLY Muslims. as I read it this is an example of "taquiyya" - deliberate deception suggesting that ALL innocent people are covered but actually only meaning innocent Muslims

4. £75k. Well that is an attempt to "tax" the infidel - jizzya in other words.

I think "Dr" Abdullah should rapidly emigrate to his "Islamic Nation" wherever that may be because his actions are seriously putting ALL Muslims in the UK at serious risk if I read the feelings at street level correctly.

Ralph Hancock said...

Cato: 'I'll give her the clap she so richly deserves.'

Well, she may. But it's very open-minded of you to be so frank about your own condition.

Unknown said...

I love the way people sucking the public teat (cf Liberty's Chakrabarti) are very quick to take umbrage and threaten very expensive (to us at any rate) civil action to salve their hurt feelings and bruised egos.

One suspects that if they had to fund a libel action with their own money they might well turn the other cheek.

wendy mann said...

i suspect the case will involve geneva conventions and the obligations of any signatory as the uk is.

support for collective punishment is against the convention and in fact demands pretty much what daud has signed for.

blears cant win if its about justice and no political interference.

wendy mann said...

"taquiyya" "jizzya"

you really know your islamic stuff dont you ... NOT.

for goodness sakes give the anti islamic sites a miss and get some real facts and understanding.

you only indicate your ignorance if you truly do believe the nonsense you write.

wendy mann said...

"Blears and Labour made this bed in 1997 and 1998 when they started giving millions of taxpayers money to these people."

they made this bed when they chose to deceive this country into wars of choice.

they are accountable for foreign policy, and they are now trying to shift blame to the muslim community who saw through the lies and today are critical of the dishonesty this government has practisaed.

it is an attempt to silence those who will criticise the current war plans that will take us into pakistan, a war plan of some years in the making and today seeks public backing.

many here of course wallow in their bigotry and prejudices and need little encouragement from government to hate muslims and islam.

the fact remains government has to point the finger of blame away from itself and will do anything to keep the average british redneck at bay.

Simon Gardner said...

wendy mann said... “many here of course wallow in their bigotry and prejudices and need little encouragement from government to hate muslims and islam.”

I’d just like to hold up my hand to being an equal opportunities “bigot”. I hate Islam. I hate catholicism. I hate evangelicalism. I hate mormonism. I hate scientology. I hate protestantism. I hate judaism... you get the picture.

Strangely, far from encouraging me, HM Government has tried to make my hobby of inciting religious hatred illegal.

It’s a bit daft since all the above god-bothery is a load of *******s for knuckle-dragging morons.

Simon Gardner said...

iain said... “people sucking the public teat (cf Liberty's Chakrabarti)”


Blogger said...

Just shows how stupid the government is for dealing with self-appointed representatives such as the MCB.

Any credit towards them recognising their obvious mistake must be tempered by their stupidity in making it in the first place.

Richmond Hill said...

Do have a look at Archbishop Cranmer's remarkable analysis of what Guardian blog readers think of Mr Abdullah.

Unknown said...

Can't stand the damn woman but I back her 100% on this.

This parasite is simply relying on the governments seeming inability to resist any claim emanating from supposedly offended Muslims.

They have made a rod for their own backs on this sort of thing. Personally I would have him removed from the country regardless of his nationality.

Mulligan said...

Respect to her. If only we'd been taking this attitude over the past 20 odd years then we would haven't encouraged the extremists to push and push further knowing we'd continue to bend to their ever increasingly outrageous demands.

Jane said...

I hope the taxpayer is not paying for Hazel Blears' botox injections!

Anorak said...

Labout needs to fight clean:

Because religion is about accepting a higher power, Tony Blair has called his new organisation about religion and God the Tony Blair Faith Foundation...

Johnny Norfolk said...

She is very good at talk but where is the action. talking tough and doing nothing.

Peter Lewin said...

So why has it taken Labour 5 years to fall out of love with the MCB. Right on cue, the BBC no longer put their "spokespersons" on screen.

The MCB is the UK branch of the Muslim Brotherhood; dedicated to a world wide Islamic faith, Sharia law, etc, etc.

Can't wait for the Jews to nuke Iran.

Gnostic said...

Bloody typical! Blears finally gets the hang of her job only when faced with the sack from the ungrateful electorate she's helped to widdle off for over a decade.

I'm sure there's a moral in this story. Somewhere...