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David Cameron Caught Smearing Sh Suliman Gani

How a south London Imām found himself at the centre of British politics

The last few days have seen a turn for the worse in the Tory campaign for London Mayor. The unsavoury tactics started quite early on when Zac Goldsmith’s campaign team started a slew of guilty-by-association arguments against Labour’s Sadiq Khan. They combed through his history and social networks for any instances where he ‘shared a platform’ with so-called ‘extremists’. A particularly embarrassing example was when Shaykh Suliman Gani—a prominent mainstream Imām in South London—was smeared by Goldsmith as “one of the most repellent people in Britain.”[1]

Shaykh Suliman Gani did not take his name being besmirched lying down; he immediately posted images of him ‘sharing a platform’ with a variety of senior Tory party members and MPs, including a picture with Zac Goldsmith himself!

Although this humiliatingly good response from Shaykh Gani was reported in many newspapers, including the Guardian,[2] unfortunately for the Tories their spin doctors did not take much heed. Now that Zac is further behind the polls than Sadiq, it seems they tried to step up the ignorant jingoism a notch to their own detriment.

Also read: Muslim leaders’ statement defending Sh Suliman Gani

Yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions saw a planted question from a Tory backbencher which David Cameron proceeded to hit for six—presumably as planned—but it turned out being a gigantic own goal for Zac’s campaign. David Cameron criticised Sadiq Khan’s judgement for sharing a platform with ‘extremists’ time and time again, amidst cries of racism from the opposite benches, and when asked for proof he blurted out the good name of Shaykh Suliman Gani.[3] Except, unlike the usual cries of ‘Extremist!’ we are accustomed to, this was a full-blown, pre-empted lie against the Muslim leader.

“The leader of the Labour party is saying it is disgraceful. Let me tell him, Suliman Gani – the honourable member for Tooting [Sadiq Khan] has appeared on a platform with him nine times. This man supports IS [Islamic State]. I think they are shouting down this point because they don’t want to hear the truth.”

Shaykh Suliman Gani was understandably shocked, since it is rare to hear a lie of this magnitude and audacity directly from the mouth of a head of state, let alone your own Prime Minister! Since then he has been interviewed by BBC and LBC,[4][5] clarifying his position on the so-called “IS”. He also sent us the following statement:

On 18 April 2016 Andrew Neil on the BBC’s London’s Mayor: The Big Debate stated that I am ‘a supporter of Islamic State’. Yesterday (20 April 2016) the Prime Minister in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions repeated this allegation when he said, ‘this man [ie, me] supports IS’.

Saying I support Islamic State is untrue and highly damaging to my reputation.

I am totally opposed to the so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIS, IS, Daesh, etc), which I view as a terrorist and inhumane organisation. Indeed, as an Imam and community leader, I have campaigned against the evils of Islamic State to my fellow Muslims, and to others in the community.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I state again that Islamic State is in no way compatible with my beliefs. I condemn IS wholeheartedly, and have done so repeatedly in public and in private since its inception.

This allegation that has been made about me is a smear on my good name. It is highly distressing to me, my family, and to those who know me.

I make this statement to set the record straight, although no doubt many people who have heard this allegation about me will continue to believe it until I either restore my reputation through the legal system or obtain an apology from Andrew Neil and the BBC.

In relation to David Cameron saying in Parliament that I support IS, I understand that he can do this despite it being untrue and at the same time avoid any legal implications by relying upon Parliamentary privilege.

This matter is now in the hands of my lawyers and I intend to take it forward through them.

Imam Suliman Gani

David Cameron has been challenged publicly by many people—including Shaykh Gani—to repeat the accusation outside of Parliament so that he can be liable for legal action. It is understood the accusation was made under a Parliamentary privilege that prevents legal action from being taken; although that did not stop Dennis Skinner from being thrown out of the House of Commons by Speaker Jown Bercow for calling the Prime Minister “Dodgy Dave” and refusing to withdraw.[6] Incidentally, there is a twitter storm scheduled for 7pm tonight to call on #DodgyDave to apologise to the Imām.

To the shock and dismay of friends and colleagues of Zac Goldsmith, he did not take this opportunity to show some of the integrity and principle that they claim for him. Those that know him personally, from what I have read and from those I have spoken to, are quite upset that, instead of apologising for the “dog-whistle tactics” of Tory headquarters and even the party leader, he has defended the slurs against Shaykh Suliman Gani. When asked by a BBC reporter for evidence of the Shaykh’s alleged ‘extreme’ views, he kept repeating that “it was all in the public domain,” that there was “plenty of evidence out there”—somewhereand he did not want to focus on Sadiq Khan in his campaign.[7] Too late for that NOW I suppose. Traditional Tory supporter Peter Oborne today wrote that these tactics had completely put him off the Goldsmith campaign and brought shame to the entire party, accusing it of bringing Donald Trump-style politics to the UK:

“Wild horses could not make me [vote Conservatives] now. Goldsmith’s campaign for mayor has become the most repulsive I have ever seen as a political reporter.”[8]

Perhaps the most outrageous blunder in this saga has been the attempted justification of David Cameron’s words by his official spokeswoman. This really does remind us of the ancient scholarly adage, al-‘udhr aqbahu min al-dhamb: the excuse is uglier than the sin itself. When put under pressure to explain the accusation that Shaykh Suliman Gani was an “IS” supporter, three times, she effectively explained it by reinterpreting what the abbreviation ‘IS’ stands for! As the Guardian reports,

Asked for Downing Street’s evidence that Gani supports Isis, she said that “at an event previously, he called for an Islamic State. IS. Islamic State.” Pressed on whether that was the same thing, she said: “I think you can have a debate about what IS means. But as you’ve just pointed out IS stands for Islamic State.”

Asked for a third time whether the PM has evidence that Gani supports Isis, the spokeswoman said: “The point the PM was referring to was at events this individual has spoken up on a range of things including the formation of an Islamic state.” [9]

If David Cameron knew what was happening outside of his bubble of elite interests and ‘advisors’ then he would certainly regret the precarious position he has actually gotten himself into. On the one hand he has been caught out smearing the name of a mainstream Muslim Imām, arguably based on ideological, Islamophobic advisors and think-tanks that have been linked to his speeches and press releases in the past.[10] On the other hand, he has smeared effectively every practising Muslim, who, despite refuting Daesh prolifically, would like some kind of Islamic state to exist! The odds do not look good.

Cameron and his friends have used the ‘government is against Muslims’ grievance narratives as indicators of so-called ‘radicalisation’ for years. But with blunders like this, one cannot really blame people for thinking some people, at least, within the corridors of power are not too fond of us.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/zac-goldsmith-accuses-rival-sadiq-khan-of-giving-platform-to-extremists-a3224246.html

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2016/apr/14/london-mayor-goldsmith-attacks-backfire-as-repellent-imams-tory-links-emerge

[3] https://youtu.be/CYGqtc2nVfM

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0770qs2

[5] http://www.lbc.co.uk/tooting-imam-slams-cameron-for-claiming-hes-extremist-129065

[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dennis-skinner-thrown-out-of-parliament-for-refusing-to-withdraw-dodgy-dave-jibe-a6979111.html

[7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0770qs2

[8] http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/london-mayor-race-conservatives-game-religious-and-racial-divisions-538083247

[9] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/20/mps-shout-racist-at-cameron-after-comments-on-sadiq-khan-in-pmqs

[10] https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/no-10s-extremism-report-mirrors-text-thinktank-study

About Dr Salman Butt

Salman studied Biochemistry at Imperial College London followed by a PhD in Chemical Biology, carrying out research into photosynthesis. During his years at university he became involved in Islamic society da'wah and activism, and general Muslim community projects. He is the Chief Editor and a regular contributor at Islam21c, and also has a blog on the Huffington Post.

47 comments

  1. Lol he got demoted anyway. !!!!!
    How embarrassing for him.

  2. A massive Takbir for our first Muslim mayor.
    To all the trolls especially hector, aren’t you just loving it now.

  3. MashaAllah good article exposing Tory lies as is normal for all leaders in Government.

  4. It’s a pity that Cameron said something untrue about Ghani when there are so many damaging truths he could have told.

    • However he purposefully chose to lie and mke Muslims or a Muslim out to be the enemy !
      C

      • How do you know it was “purposefully” done?
        What Ghani wants – a society based on the “principles” of islam does make him the enemy of Cameron and anyone who favours democratic principles.

        • Again your house Negro mentallity is obvious.
          If someone has Islamic principles they are the enemy.
          You’ve been sold a complete lie and because you have the house Negro mentallity you can’t see past it.
          Islam is not opposed to democracy. In fact most of the principles of the welfare state and how to run a state were taken from Islam. You just can’t see it and say anything just to oppose it.
          If Islam is the enemy why are you aiding the enenemy by increasing traffic to its web sites and posts?

          • So, if islam is not opposed to democracy will muslims now abandon their opposition to – say – same-sex marriage now that it has been democratically approved? Take another look at the “normative principles” – http://www.islam21c.com/politics/what-do-influential-british-muslims-believe/ – of islam: how many of those are compatible with democracy?
            Just which of ” the principles of the welfare state and how to run a state were taken from Islam”? Please give actual examples.

            • Its wideley known that the system of the state providing for each individual was taken from Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). He was the 2nd Khalif.
              Also do your own research. I know you called me your dad a while back but I can’t spoon feed you anymore son.

              • It’s “wideley known that the system of the state providing for each individual was taken from Umar” only by people who are ignorant of the fact that the Romans, Athenians, other Greek city-states and the Persians also did so.

                • Only either a depraved liar or a thoroughly stupid person would look up to Romans, Athenians, Persians, et al. as providing for EACH individual. Or maybe you would get around such a lie by not regarding the niggers or natural slaves as ‘individuals’. Wouldn’t surprise me.

                  • …and did Omar regard the kuffar and other natural slaves as ‘individuals’ ?

                    • Omar forbade the killing of anyone who was not fighting directly.
                      He forbade the killing of women and children.
                      He allowed the Jews and Christians their churches and synagogues. He could have levelled it all to the ground as he just conquered it completely.
                      For some reason Hector you only talk about the things you wrongly attribute to Islam. As I said whih you did not answer why are you so blatantly islamophobic?

                    • What have I said that is “blatantly islaophobic”? What does Omar’s alleged mercy to those he had conquered have to do with whether he regarded the kuffar and other natural slaves as ‘individuals’ ?

                    • This one’s called Argument from your own personal incredulity. This poor fella is having a right hard time trying to reconcile facts with his indoctrination that Muslims MUST have been barbaric like his own ancestors/heroes.

                    • It wasn’t until a century or so later that they recovered Aristotle so Omar probably wouldn’t have known about let alone accepted the term ‘natural slaves’ (a drift you obviously did not catch) and other unislamic notions around kafir western hierarchy of humans (with of course themselves at the top)

                    • “with of course themselves at the top” as in “You are the best of mankind”? It was foolish of not to remember that muslims consider everyone slaves, with themselves as what Abu mustafa would call the house negroes.
                      You speak of “facts”, but you never actually specify any facts. Precisely which facts are you talking about?

                    • Oh yes, while we’re dealing with facts, just what is “riqāq”, Rich?

                • Thanks for that post! You won’t live this one down or forget it!
                  So Islam is barbaric but you are giving example of the Romans, persians and Greek.
                  This shows where you are coming from and why it’s just blatant islamophobia as you use these nations as examples then attack Islam every chance you get!
                  Hector, why are you so islamophobic?

                  • What is islamophobic about pointing out that other cultures also practised “the system of the state providing for each individual” before the invention of islam? The question of how barbaric these civilisations were compared with one another and with islam – is another matter.

                    • History is full of times when the Muslim and leaders/general showed much mercy to the places they conquered.
                      Just for the example of the Crusaders.
                      Salahudin did not show the barbarism and mass killing your fellow crusaders did!
                      You only ever choose to mention the parts you think are negative.
                      Islam is a religion of Peace in its essence.

                    • My “fellow crusaders”, Abu mustafa?
                      As for your claim that “Islam is a religion of Peace in its essence”, take a look at muslim chronicles about muslim invasions of the Byzantine and Persian empires and Europe or The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. They are enthusiastic in their zeal for blood and slaughter. They are grotesquely exaggerated too in the number of deaths supposedly inflicted, but they certainly aren’t the work of followers of a religion of Peace in its essence.

                    • As you said it’s grotequely exaggerated. You answered your own question. In India Islam was spread moslty an largely by preaching and people accepting the message.
                      Everything you say is grotesquely exaggerated.
                      The reason why your islamophobic is you always see the supposed ‘bad’ parts and not the good ones which are definitely much more.
                      Crusaders killed hundreds of thousands unjustifiably. Explain that? it’s all fully documented in history.
                      You’ve never answered the question?

                    • How do you decide which killings are “unjustified”, Abu mustafa? Certainly the crusaders killed hundreds of thousands: what makes you think their killings were unjustified where the killings inflicted in muslim invasions were – presumably – jusrified? What makes you think they are my “fellow crusaders” anyway? As a fellow-believer you are better-qualified to explain their taste for slaughter than I am. If “in India Islam was spread moslty an largely by preaching and people accepting the message” why did muslim chroniclers so enthusiastically describe the slaughter of polytheist hindus? If islam was spread by peaceful means, why did hindus have to use violent means to persuade muslims to stop ruling them?
                      As for my own attitude to islam, the bad things i disapprove of – such as persecution of people whose sexual tastes Mohammed didn’t share, the spread of muslim rule by violence, the incorporation of slavery into he belief system, the claims to superiority and absolute power, the taste for torture, to name afew – are inherent to it. There is nothing phobic about my distaste for such things.

                    • You still did not answer the question!!
                      That’s a Troll. Anwers his own question!
                      Your rhetoric is old it’s the classic I hate Islam and Muslims because of this made up thing or that made up thing.
                      Western democracies and amies have killed many more people. Just look at he wars in 20th C. Yet you love the West and democracy and are severely biased and islamophobic in all your comments.
                      Your trying to say Crusaders killings were justified as they were from the West!
                      Also your not being ruled over by Islam so why do you keep dying about it?
                      I’m a revert and I understand your flawed logic slightly but it’s unbelievablly twisted at its roots.
                      Islam in its text and teaching is peaceful.
                      Whereas your Western democracy was fashioned by crusading Armies that murdered millions. And in your head even though you don’t openly say it, it’s justified as Islam is the enemy!
                      The wrongs of the West you cover up and don’t even see which is even more shocking.
                      Also you view Muslims at the top of the hierarchy as deep down you know belief in 1 god makes sense. In belief yes we are no doubt at the top. That does not mean your my slave!!!
                      Who were the mamluks??
                      They were slaves who became the rulers as Islamic concept of slavery is totally different to your western concept.

                  • Have you stopped beating your wife yet, Abu Mustafa?

                    Your question “Hector, why are you so islamophobic?” is like that. I am not islamophobic because I have good reasons to dislike islam. A phobia is an irrational hatred or fear. My distatse for islam is entirely rational.
                    A few brief responses to some of your imbecile remarks:
                    Which wars in the twentieth century took place between western democracies? Where have I said “Crusaders killings were justified as they were from the West”? What makes you think the crusaders “fashioned democracy”?

                    I don’t think “belief in 1 god makes sense.” i think belief in dozens – or hundreds – of gods makes just as much sense and that belief in a god or gods that is concerned with what people do is absurd nonsense.

                    The Mamelukes “were slaves who became the rulers” because they mutinied and overthrew their masters. They stopped being slaves.
                    As for your claim that the “Islamic concept of slavery is totally different to your western concept”, none of the slaves of the muslims who escaped and returned to their homelands who wrote about their experiences noticed the difference.

                    • “none of the slaves of the muslims who escaped and returned to their homelands who wrote about their experiences noticed the difference.”

                      OH my God haha it is so tempting to blast this lie out of the water…but you already know it’s a lie, don’t you? I mean, that’s precisely the opposite of the famous statements of non-Muslim historians that you have sloppily reversed (from the references I sent you myself). How easy it is to write up as down and down as up…

                    • “the references I sent you myself”

                      The way you explained what you meant by “riqāq”, no doubt. Are you really stupid enough to think Adam Watson’s fragment or Sheikh Omar Suleiman’s speechifying are famous statements of non-Muslim historians or are you merely stupid enough to hope that I might be stupid enough to believe it?

                    • Have you stopped beating and abusing your mum?

                      As in the West the person who gave birth to you is abused and put in an old people’s home where they are then abused and beaten more?

                      Is this the democracy you’re talking about or was it Vietnam where millions were killed by your democracy as voted by you. Or was it the democracy which nuclear bombed entire cities out of existence.
                      Is this the peace loving democracy you’re talking about and promoting?
                      I could carry on with over a thousand similar examples so let’s not carry this list on as you’ll only take it out on your poor family who have to deal with your hatred\abuse daily or have they already abandoned you?

                    • If didn’t take long for the True colours of the Troll hector to come out did it.

                      As I’ve always said and as is shown by his very hilarious outburst . These trolls like HECTOR will do and say anything to discredit Islam or Muslims. If they can’t tell the truth they will make it up or imply it.

                      Allah is with those who are patient my fellow brothers and sisters.

                    • I’m too busy beating and abusing your mum to bother with mine, Abu mustafa.

                      Let’s take a look at the examples of the faults of democracy you cite. In Vietnam – which I agree was disgraceful – it was the pressure of the people on the US government that forced the US to withdraw. Dropping atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki compelled the Japanese government to surrender and saved a great many lives. “Moderation in war is imbecility.”

                    • Is that the best you can do?

                      Hector all this shows is that you are a troll and will do and say anything as you are pathetic low life troll who has nothing to do except attack Islam and Muslims on here.

  5. Abu Bombastic

    The issue is in the media Isis have taken over the word ‘Islamic State’
    So if any one talks about any kind of state that’s islamkc and peaceful it’s automatically presumed to be Isis !!
    The same thing has happened to the banner of the prophet. If anyone has a flag with the shahada on it or the seal of the Prophet IRS automatically seen as Isis when in fact Isis have hijacked these symbols. As Muslims we should not allow a tiny minority fringe group to hijack these things.

  6. When the British criminals & terrorists fled Kenya, they made a desperate attemtpt to destroy the documentated evidence of their criminality & terrorism. In the end a whole batch of documents was discovered intact, that exposed British criminality, terrorism & concentration camps. Indeed the world has put up with much criminality & terorism from the Big Bruver extremists & terrorists.

  7. David Cameron supports extremists & terrorists. He has shared a stage with war monger, war criminal, intransigent & terrorist Netanyahu. David Cameron sponsors the Israeli state terror apparatus that has killed 2,000 children since yr 2000. The facts speak for themselves really.

  8. We know that government statements and policy is not based on any real insight. It is based on cheap tatty tabloid smut…. No wonder foreign policy and domestic policy continues to fail time and time again. Government has been infiltrated by zionist extremists and immoral tabloid editors. Government polilcy is based on full stereotype.

  9. I don’t think I will be voting for Zac.

  10. Top bloke that Sheikh Ghani chap. With secular/ consumerism society fragmenting and becoming a society of individuals, we need more family/ community men like Sheikh Gani. Grass roots work in education and building a wholesome morally sound soicety/ country, empowering people is a priceless endevour. The politicians draw their 100k salaries and have a debate about whether to set the tax rate at this or that. The real work of building the country is done by teachers, educationalists and activists at the ground level such as Sheikh Gani.

  11. Is this the same ‘mainstream’ Imam’?

    http://www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/8451539.Worshippers_told_to_boycott_Ahma%20diyya_shops/

    It is a sad state of affairs when a religious leader that promotes hatred can be called mainstream.

    • @Carl Abbot
      Don’t you have a life? I can’t imagine how empty people’s lives must be, to simply troll….
      #Yawn #Sad

      • Abu Bombastic

        It’s the fact that their own communities and people have thrown them out and ignore them. To feel belonging they have to come to a Muslim run and dead website for happiness!
        I feel sorry for them as many of us do.
        What excuse will they have on that appointed day!
        They know the message and still don’t want to believe. They won’t even be able to claim ignorance!
        May Allah guide us all.

      • Abu Bombastic

        *should say “Muslim run and read”

      • Julie. Yes I have a life thank you. I fail to see why I am labelled a troll for wondering why someone that has preached hate is labelled as mainstream.. For doing so I am abused. I have not made a single personal insult on this site, although I have been on the receiving end of a few. It seems that rather than engage in debate, people resort to personal insults. I have to ask, who is the troll?

        • What are comments he made? Are they even what he said?
          What’s the context?

          • Abu, if you read the link I’m my first post you will see for yourself. The thought that a religious leader can encourage others to shun others of a different faith should not be considered mainstream. As I say I don’t understand why I should be criticised for what is essentially a non controversial statement

  12. A well written article exposing the hate mongering agenda of the Tories. Obviously the people who voted for the Tories in the national elections, must be in great feelings of regret due to the massive cuts done to the welfare system whilst skimming in the cuts to the themselves. What a bitter pill to swallow…

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