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Posts Tagged ‘council of mosques’

This is what you might call a holding post because I’m sure many more considered words and analysis will be filed by others on this subject.

This is from the Official Website of Chowdhury Mueen Uddin:

Chowdhury Mueen Uddin was Director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS. Since 2005, he has been advising healthcare providers on how best to provide patients spiritual care at times of need. In this capacity, he currently chairs the Multi-Faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy.

 He served on the Board of a number of distinguished charities. These include, among others, Board member Labo Housing Association and Gateway Housing Association; Past board member and vice chairman – As-Shahada Housing Association; Chairman and board member – Muslim Aid; Vice Chairman – East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre).

He served as the Secretary General of the Council of Mosques UK and Eire for 2 terms (1984 – 1988) and was involved – along with many others – in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

He was formerly Deputy Director of the Islamic Foundation, Markfield, Leicestershire (1995 – 2005) and, prior to that, worked for a leading Housing Association in London.

Chowdhury Mueen Uddin is married and lives in London. He was born in Bangladesh and read Literature at the University of Dhaka. He began his career as a journalist, filing moving accounts of the Great 1970 Cyclone and interviewing the burgeoning independence leader of that country, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

And today the BBC reports this about him:

A UK Muslim leader and a US citizen have been sentenced to death over crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.

UK-Bangladeshi Muslim community leader Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khanwas were being tried in absentia by a special tribunal in Bangladesh.

They were found guilty on 11 charges relating to the abduction and killing of 18 independence supporters.

Verdicts in similar cases have sparked violent reactions in Bangladesh.

The proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal have come under criticism from several rights groups, including the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has described the trials as flawed.

The online news service BD24 has more detail:

Al Badr leaders Ashrafuzzaman Khan and Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin have been sentenced to death for killing top Bengali intellectuals in the last days of the 1971 Liberation War.

The two have been found guilty of torture and murder of 18 intellectuals including nine Dhaka University teachers, six journalists and three doctors during the war.

Justice Obaidul Hassan-led International Crimes Tribunal-2 said the prosecution had proven all the 11 charges against the two ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

The ICT-2 Chairman started the proceedings with his initial remarks at around 11am.

A total 41 pages of the 154-page verdict were read out.

Justice Shahinur Islam read out the first part of the 41-page summary verdict and Justice Mujibur Rahman Mia read the second part.

Justice Mia said the involvement of Ashrafuzzman and Mueen-Uddin with the killings of 18 intellectuals had been proven conclusively.

At times, they carried out the murders, sometimes they instigated and encouraged them, said the judge.

The two had complete control over the Al Badr during the Liberation War, said the verdict.

The tribunal in its verdict said Ashrafuzzaman and Mueen-Uddin will be ‘hanged until death’ for their war-time atrocities.

Other two judges — Justice Md Mujibur Rahman Mia and Judge Shahinur Islam — read out parts of the verdict.

Sunday’s verdict described how the former leaders of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, Jamaat’s student affiliate in 1971, had abducted and killed the intellectuals between Dec 11 and Dec 15 in 1971.

Ashrafuzzaman was the ‘chief planner’ and Mueen-Uddin was the ‘operation in-charge’ of the massacre.

A diary recovered from Ashrafuzzaman’s Nakhalparha residence in Dhaka after independence contained the plan for the massacre and a list of targets.

Freedom fighters waiting outside the court and the Ganajagaran Mancha supporters hailed the sentence.

 Hundreds turned out on the streets in Gopalganj and Feni — home districts of the two convicts — to celebrate the verdict.

They demanded its swift execution.

 The prosecution also expressed satisfaction.

It is the ninth verdict of the ongoing war crimes trials involving the two tribunals.

So far, six former and current Jamaat leaders and two BNP leaders have been convicted.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin was born in November, 1948 at Chanpur in Feni’s Dagonbhuiyan to Delowar Hossain.

He was a student of Bangla department at Dhaka University during the Liberation War and worked as a staff correspondent of Dainik Purbadesh.

According to case details, Mueen-Uddin was a central leader of Jamaat’s student front and member of the notorious militia outfit Al Badr.

He was given ‘important’ position in Al Badr and he spearheaded the execution of the Bengali intelligentsia towards the end of the Liberation War.

Mueen-Uddin’s family, too, had come out strongly in support of Pakistan, according to the prosecution.

He fled to Pakistan and to the UK from there, after Bangladesh gained independence. He has been residing in London since.

Apart from discharging important duties of Jamaat-affiliated ‘Dawatul Islam’ in London, he is also the executive editor of weekly Dawat.

He is one of the directors of National Health Services, a trustee of the Muslim Aid and chairman of Tottenham mosque’s executive committee.

On his website, the former Al Badr leader has admitted to his war-time role for a ‘unified Pakistan’.

In an interview to Al-Jazeera’s Jonah Hull for the program ‘Talk to Al-jazeera’ in July, he said the tribunal was a ‘joke’.

For the record, Mueen-Uddin, whom I met on the doorstep of his north London home in 2008, a couple of hours before I was sent a threatening legal letter by libel lawyers Carter Ruck, strongly denies the charges.

(And there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of him being extradited, largely due to Bangladesh’s use of the death penalty, but also because of serious concerns over the way these tribunals were conducted. If the Bangladesh National Party/Jamaat e Islami alliance win back power in the New Year, as many expect, these verdicts will be quashed anyway.)

Although he lives in Enfield, he has very strong links to Tower Hamlets, and not just through his work with the East London Mosque, the London Muslim Centre and the Royal London Hospital.

Note the name Dawatul Islam in the article above. He founded it.

It has received well in excess of £100,000–perhaps way more–over the years, both from Labour dominated Grants Panels and more recently from Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s vote buying fund grant pot.

As recently as August, Lutfur announced another £40,000 for it for a “Girl’s Talk” project. It’s aimed at preventing girls getting involved in gangs, which is kind of ironic given the history of some of Lutfur’s chief supporters..

The detail is here.

Just saying…

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It is surely a coincidence of almighty proportions that within months of bagging a £10,000 grant from the “Mayor’s Community Chest” fund, the Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques has been able to produce its first ever newsletter in which praise and thanks are offered to our Great and Dear Leader.

[A warning: what you’re about to read will never be reported in the Bangladeshi press because they’re also the lucky prize-winners from the Mayor’s pot of monopoly money (the London Bangla Press Club has been given a £9,000 prize to produce a “business plan”).]

The Council of Mosques has a website here and for some reason it seems to have permission from the town hall to use the Tower Hamlets Council logo. This isn’t surprising: they’re very close.

Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 20.35.33They’re also very grateful to Lutfur Rahman.

Here’s the newsletter:

p1

p1

p2

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p3

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Two quotes in particular on p1 stand out:

“I am extremely pleased to announce that 24 mosques and Islamic centres have benefitted from the first round of the Mayor’s Faith Building Fund. I’m sure all faith organisations appreciate the hard work of Mayor Lutfur Rahman in securing the funding for this scheme that will improve the facilities which serve tens of thousands of residents.”

“..special funding is given to the recent funding boost from Tower Hamlets council through the Mayor’s Funding scheme to support faith institutions.”

 The second quote is from Hira Islam, secretary general of the Council of Mosques.

Sound familiar? Well, Hira is, as I disclosed here a few years ago, also a heavy-hitter in the Islamic Forum of Europe.

The IFE, you’ll recall, featured heavily in Andrew Gilligan’s Channel 4 Dispatches documentary three years ago when the principal claim was that the group was trying to infiltrate Tower Hamlets Council and to influence Lutfur Rahman into directing town hall grants to its pet projects.

And Hira Islam was the “Mr A” mentioned in that Dispatches documentary, the serving council officer said to be a key figure in Lutfur’s mayoral campaign.

Both claims were mocked by the borough’s large flock of ostriches.

Yet, yet, yet…
It seems Hira and his friends in the IFE have been pretty successful at lobbying Lutfur.

As I detailed here in June, 24 mosques have been given £383,000 out of a total of £600,000 awarded in the first round of the Mayor’s three-year £3million programme to renovate faith buildings with taxpayers’ money. The wealthy East London Mosque has been given £10,000, none of which is going to the needy among its worshippers but instead to polish its sign and to repaint its dome and minaret.

The IFE and the CoM were instrumental in this, holding a large meeting in March to discuss how the funds could be distributed. Helpfully, the Mayor was on hand to explain the process. All above board. See here:

mayor1

Here are some more of their photos showing how the men at the Council of Mosques decide things:

Did you spot any women in any of those photos? (Maybe that’s why Tower Hamlets Borough Commander Dave Stringer policeman looked a bit miffed in one of those pictures.)

Here’s the Equalities Impact carried out by the council before the awarded the grants:

Community Faith Buildings Support Scheme 2012-2015 - Round 1

A “neutral” effect on gender in the borough apparently.

And here are the two councillors appointed by Lutfur to his Corporate Grants Programme Board, the body which “advises” which groups receive the money.

Lutfurites Alibor Choudhury and Maium Miah.

Seems they don’t much trust women when it comes to making decisions about money for religious buildings.

Surely if Lutfur truly was committed to equality (as he says he is), he’d have made it a strict condition of these grants that more women have to be involved in running the buildings?

Has he even raised these concerns during his regular meetings of the Council of the Mosques? Maybe he’s not even noticed the lack of women there.

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