Mo Shafiq: Supporter of Blasphemy Laws and Hate Preaching Extremists
Mo Shafiq is a former member of the Liberal Democrats who runs ‘The Ramadan Foundation’ in the UK. From what I can gather the latter role consists of little more than having a website and calling yourself a ‘foundation’.
Shafiq enjoys a steady media presence though, wheeled out as the ‘moderate’ talking head for whatever Muslim hot topic is the flavour of the day. The behaviour and views of Shafiq reveal two possibilities however: 1. That the bar for what is to be considered ‘moderate’ has been set so patronisingly low, or 2. Media outlets are failing to adequately research or question those they deem suitable enough to represent a community.
Shafiq’s troubling behaviour first caught my eye in 2014 when he whipped up potentially deadly hatred against fellow Muslim Maajid Nawaz. Nawaz, co-founder of the anti-extremism group the Quilliam foundation let it be known that he wasn’t offended by cartoon depictions of his prophet by tweeting out a ‘Jesus and Mo’ comic strip. Shafiq didn’t quite feel the same way about this gesture of liberalism, as reported by Nick Cohen in The Guardian:
On Twitter, Shafiq went further and gave a master class in double speak. “Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam,” he tweeted. Most of his audience had no idea what he meant. A few knew all too well. “Ghustaki Rasool” is “defamer of the prophet” in Urdu: a charge that incites Islamists to murder. Fanatics took to Twitter to prove the point. “Have spoken to someone in Pakistan,” one of Shafiq’s followers replied. “They will have a surprise for him on his next visit!” Another Twitter user contacted Nawaz to say: “Gustak e rasool is punishable by death anywhere in the world. Btw I’m in the UK not Pakistan.” A third cried that “dogs like Maajid Nawaaz will be punished!”
Rather predictably, death threats followed for Nawaz.
More recently, Shafiq has engaged in a bout of weasel talk after the murder of Pakistani Governor Salman Taseer was reported. You may recall that a man named Malik Mumtaz Qadri decided Taseer’s views amounted to ‘blasphemy’ and therefore took it upon himself to settle the matter with a barrage of bullets. Depressingly, this killer received a significant amount of support from the faithful in Pakistan – and the UK for that matter.
Shafiq tried to placate both sides on this issue with embarrassing consequences. On one hand he would condemn the killer for taking the law ‘into his own hands’, but would also honour him with a eulogy on his personal Facebook page using the Arabic phrase for ‘may God be pleased with him [Qadri]’. ‘Pleased’? For what exactly?
When pushed on his position regarding ‘Blasphemy’ laws, Shafiq would only criticise their ‘misapplication’ rather than disavow such human rights’ violating concepts altogether. He’s yet to detail exactly what a just system of ‘blasphemy’ law would look like.
As an aside, below is a video of an angry confrontation between Shafiq and worshippers at a British mosque. Why are these people so angry with Shafiq you may wonder? Well, they are angry because they believe Shafiq disrespected murderer Qadri by labelling him a ‘terrorist’:
This brings me to the latest troubling episode. Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman is a cleric from Pakistan who, along with fellow cleric Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman had called for the death of Taseer as well as ‘led a high-profile campaign in Pakistan in praise of assassin Mumtaz Qadri’ when they got their wish.
Well, these clerics announced a joint event in Shafiq’s home town of Rochdale this month which Shafiq felt fit to promote via his official Twitter page:
The Facebook link directed you this (now deleted) event flyer:
Both of these clerics can be seen addressing the crowds at Qadri’s funeral in the below video:
If my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me, there appears to be a gentleman visible that shares a striking resemblance to Mo Shafiq:
It’s equally depressing when you consider just how packed the event was too:
Why would Mo Shafiq promote the event of a man that advocates and celebrates murder in the service of ‘blasphemy’? And if that is Mo Shafiq in the image, why would he attend such an event?
The fact that Shafiq enjoys frequent media appearances without being questioned on his support for blasphemy laws and endorsements of odious individuals such as these two clerics is a travesty. He has some explaining to do.
Feel free to remind the next broadcaster or individual that provides Shafiq with air time.
UPDATE 16 August 2016
It has now been confirmed that the man in the above images is in fact Mo Shafiq. Were there any lingering doubt, the below should remove it.