Sheikh Salah can sue. So what happens to CST ...and Cameron??
SHEIKH RAED SALAH getting the last laugh?
THE High Court has ruled that Sheikh Raed Salah was unlawfully detained and is entitled to claim compensation. This is an embarassment for Home Secretary Theresa May, who ordered his detention.
Sheikh Salah, leader of the northern section of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and a former mayor of Umm el Fahm, came to this country on June 25 to honour speaking engagements, one of them with MPs at the House of Commons.
These meetings had alll been pre-advertised and were public. No one told the Sheikh that he was banned from this country. An immigration officer at Heathrow scanned his passport reportedly ignored an alert to exclude him.
Three days after entering the UK, having spoken at at a meeting in Leicester, and with his other engagements, including that at he Houses of Parliament, to keep, Sheikh Salah was detained at his west London hotel, handcuffed and taken to Paddington Green police station, which has often been used for alleged "terror" suspects.
No clear reason was given. No crime had been committed, although newspapers like the Mail implied Sheikh Salah had somehow breached Britain's security. The Home Ssecretary subsequently served a deportation notice on him, on the grounds that his presence in the UK was "not conducive to the public good".
Salah challenged his removal and obtained bail in July. He is appealing against the decision to deport him in separate proceedings before an immigration tribunal which continues next week. In the judgment released on Friday, Mr Justice Nicol found for Salah on one of three grounds that his detention was unlawful. He rejected his claim on two other grounds.
It was reported this week that senior officials at the UK Border Agency had opposed the Home Secretary's decision, warning that the evidence against him was disputed, open to legal challenge and the case "very finely balanced". Salah had sought damages for illegal detention, arguing in an earlier hearing that he had been "confined without lawful authority" and subjected to what was essentially "false imprisonment".
It was also observed that the government action had succeeded in prolonging the Sheikh's stay in Britain for much longer than his originally planned trip.
It is reported that Theresa May decided to act after receiving a dossier on Sheikh Salah from the Community Security Trust (CST). a body whose official remit is to protect Jewish people and institutions in Britain from any threats, and monitor antisemitism. The CST, which has enjoyed good relations with the police for some years, boasts of having alerted the authorities.
Informed members of the Jewish community, including those who have worked with the CST, say it receives much of its guidance from the Israeli state. Supporters of Sheikh Saleh say that the evidence against him, including alleged antisemitic statements, was fabricated.
I've nothing against people organising to defend themselves and others against racist attacks, and antisemitism, quite the contrary beingJewish myself. But I've had my own experiences with the Jewish community's security, and so have friends, and they did not leave us feeling secure. It was the Community Security Organisation, as CST used to be called, which excluded several people from a film festival, apparently because one of them had been recognised from a previous occasion selling Jewish Socialist. Even after he spoke to the organisers, whom he knew, assuring them he had come to see the films and not sell magazines, the security men told them they would not be responsible for the security of the festival if this man was admitted.
On another occasion a couple I know were trailed around the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall by these Community Security heavies even though they were only treating his parents to a concert of Russian Jewish music. What kind of security "threat" they were suspected of plotting neither they or I know. But I did recognise one of the "security" team as having doubled as a guard for Ariel Sharon when he visited London.
If some of us have learned to distrust an organisation which confuses security with policing, terror with politics it does not like, and leaves doubt as to where its accountability lies, one man thinks it is fine. Prime Minister David Cameron was guest at a CST dinner earlier this year. "And it’s great to be able to show my support again for Community Security Trust and the brilliant work you do. ... I believe CST is a model for all our communities in Britain. So much of what you do epitomises what I’m getting at when I talk about the Big Society. You don’t say “just leave it to the government, it’s not my responsibility", uou say “I want to play my part; I want to do my bit.”
"I want to be frank with you. It shames our country that our Jewish schools should need protection. But they do. And it’s fantastic that CST provides it. But just as your community does so much to raise money so we should help too. So I’m proud that Michael Gove has announced up to £2 million on security for schools this year and there will be more to come for all the years it’s needed in our country".
Cameron went on to extol the importance of countering extremism by educating in British national identity.
Welcoming Salah's arrest in June, CST's blog said "Most of the publicity regarding his visit had concentrated upon his speaking in the House of Commons tonight, alongside various pro-Palestinian activists and Jeremy Corbyn MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP and Richard Burden MP.
"Salah’s Islamist ideology is reflected by those organising the events, most of whom are leading lights in Britain’s pro-Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood type circles, such as the MEMO group. These groups and activists seek to dominate the ideological and political leadership of Britain’s highly diverse Muslim communities. Many on the secular far Left have made common cause with these Islamist ideologues: not because they believe that British society will be a better place for having such groups dominate Muslim communities, but rather because both ideological streams are would-be revolutionaries with many enemies in common.
"The fiasco over how Salah actually entered the UK, should not distract attention from the crucial fact that the Government has shown the meaningfulness and intent of its recent review of Prevent counter-extremism strategy. Salah’s banning and subsequent detention demonstrates that Government has now moved beyond only seriously challenging those who are explicitly pro Al Qaeda, or otherwise in favour of terrorism against Britain and British overseas forces and facilities.
"Now, Government is also facing up to the enormous challenge of how to reverse the influence of those pan-Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas) and Jamaat-i-Islami, both of which make common cause and have significant control over British Muslims’ physical and political infrastructure; including an extensive network of lobbying groups, umbrella bodies, charities and mosques. Prior Governments have attempted to work with such groups (largely out of perceived necessity), but have repeatedly found them to be, ultimately, not conducive to the public good and social cohesion.
"The Labour Party may also have shifted its position. Some Labour MPs have long mixed in the Islamist and secular pro-Palestinian circles demonstrated by Salah’s visit, and exemplified by the past behaviour of Ken Livingstone. The Shadow Home Secretary has criticised the Government’s handling of border controls, but such criticism risks rebounding unless Labour is able to rein in those MPs and Lords who move in such circles"
Note that satisfaction over Salah's detention and some lumping together Muslim parties and "secular pro-Palestinian circles" was followed by the admonition to Labour to "rein in MPs and Lords..".
The writer seems confident of having his way. Mind you that was in June, and this is September.