We reported yesterday that a senior Metropolitan Police Chief Mark Rowley came under criticism for initially agreeing to attend an event by the infamous Henry Jackson Society. However, due to campaigning by organisations such as MEND, he is reported to have “snubbed” the event.
Henry Jackson Society’s report launch about so-called “Islamist terrorism” not only went ahead without the chief, but the David Anderson, the former independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation who wrote a foreword to the report, also declined an invitation to the event. He reportedly told the Middle East Eye:
“I do not associate myself with all the activities and statements of the Henry Jackson Society. Indeed I declined their invitation to the launch in case there should be any misunderstanding about this.”
Dr Shazad Amin, spokesperson for MEND and Islam21c contributor, said:
“Mark Rowley ought to be commended for a brave and principled decision not to attend this event with organisations like HJS, who peddle Islamophobia and whose Student Rights subsidiary has carried out ‘witch-hunts’ against Muslim students, as the NUS [National Union of Students] confirmed,”
“There is no place for people like this in our ‘tolerant and mutual-respect based society’. In our view, the Met risked losing serious credibility with Muslim communities which could undermine the fight against extremism if they spoke on an HJS platform.
“The Muslim community will be greatly comforted by their decision and the Met should be congratulated on it.”
This episode goes to show the importance of ordinary people using their voice to hold those in influential public positions to account. Organisations like MEND and MCB that facilitate such accountability and activism should be supported and worked with on the common good to spread justice, accountability and ma’ruf, decreasing harm and injustice in whatever capacity possible.
Organisations like the HJS are a relic of power structures before the advent of social media where all people have the potential to spread common sense and expose to ridicule ideologies that wish to disempower and frighten society.