Press Release - Denial of charges of extremism

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

12th June 2012

 

Al-Tawhid Mosque Refutes charges of Extremism

In response to the Charity Commission announcing its intention to investigate complaints it has received about Masjid Al Tawhid and subsequent media coverage, the Masjid denies and will vigorously defend itself from all accusations of extremism and links to terrorism.

The Vice Chairman of the Mosque Mehmud Patel said, “We are surprised by the claims and the Charity Commission's decision to investigate on grounds of alleged links to extremism. The Trustees asked the Commission in June 2011 to investigate an internal dispute amongst trustees regarding issues of management and control, and they refused to do so.”

Saghir Hussain, the lawyer acting for the Trust, said “We believe that the complaints are motivated by political and personal agendas, and ask the Commission to make available to us the written complaint so those motives become clear, and can be challenged legally. Within the Muslim Community accusations of extremism are becoming common, as a way for people to settle scores and gain advantage in organisational and personal disputes. We urge the Charity Commission to exercise caution and deal with underlying issues, not headline grabbing accusations.”

Members of the Trust have been involved in a year-long dispute with Usama Hasan and his family members over control of the Mosque. Reports of historical events involving controversial speakers have all taken place under the watch of the Hasan family.

Vice Chair Mehmud Patel said “The Mosque has effectively been run as a family affair, not a charity, by Dr Suhaib Hasan and his son Usama over all these years. As the trustees tried to move away from this model of operation, there was bound to be conflict.”

The current Trust is therefore astounded that disgruntled ex-trustee Usama Hasan has chosen to attack the mosque and it's management using issues that he and his family members were clearly responsible for. We feel it is important that facts should be properly reported.

 

The Trust is currently considering commissioning its own independent review of management issues including the conflict and accusations of extremism.

The Facts

Prior to June 2011, the Chairman of the Mosque since 1998 was Dr Suhaib Hasan, and his son Usama Hasan was Vice Chairman. Also, Dr Suhaib Hasan's son-in-law, Dr Liaquat Ali, was Trustee and in charge of HR at the mosque. Further, Mrs Shakila Hasan, Dr Suhaib Hasan's wife, has been kept in charge of the women's section and girl's madrasah since 1998. She was assisted in this by Mrs Khola Hasan, her daughter and wife of Dr Liaquat Ali.

Throughout his Chairmanship, Dr Suhaib Hasan took responsibility for all Islamic activities at the mosque. His firm control and personal responsibility for matters has been documented in more than one Trust meeting. In the minutes of the Trust meeting of 27th October 2008 which Dr Suhaib Hasan chaired and later signed, it states that he said “In this masjid only the Ameer (leader) will call meetings and only the Ameer will have the final say in any issue.” Again on 3rd June 2012 he stated “All da'wah [Islamic propagation] programmes should be under my observation ... because this is mainly my department.”

From 1998 to 2011, the Chairman Dr Suhaib Hasan and Vice Chairman Usama Hasan, along with his brother-in-law Dr Liaquat Ali, were responsible for the arrangement of all Islamic activities at the mosque. In 2003, Anwar al-Awlaki was introduced as a speaker at the mosque by Abu Muntasir Manwar Ali of JIMAS, a close associate of both Usama Hasan and Dr Suhaib Hasan. As recently as September 2011 and April 2012, Usama Hasan arranged events at Masjid al-Tawhid in conjunction with JIMAS, without Trust approval. Throughout that period no members of the Hasan family expressed concerns or unhappiness with those speakers or their views.

Contrary to media reports, Usama Hasan was dismissed from the Trust in February 2011. He disputed this, but voluntarily withdrew his claims to the Trust as part of arbitration in May 2012. Usama Hasan by his own admission went to train in Afghanistan in 1990. Therefore it is odd that he now uses his own change of beliefs to tarnish others for activities controlled by his own family, and to divert attention from the years of mismanagement that the Trust has suffered under the control of the Hasan family.

For Further Information Contact:-

Saghir Hussain (Solicitor) - 07971277731

Mehmud Patel (Vice Chairman) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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