If you are Jewish or even if you are not, you will probably be aware of a group called the Community Security Trust or CST. This group, mostly paid for and supported by Britain’s Jewish communities themselves, provides security volunteers and security advice for synagogues, Jewish communal property and Jewish communal events. The CST has, like any individual citizen, no power of arrest and is forbidden to carry any sort of weapon, but the presence of a security volunteer on the door of a synagogue has probably saved lives. The security volunteers are able to use their bodies to bar entry to an assailant or ask suspicious people questions to determine whether the said individual should be allowed in or turned away. People who visit synagogues on a regular basis get used to being asked questions that are intended to find out whether the person is who they say they are and what their intentions are.
It’s sad that in the United Kingdom today we still need guards on synagogue doors, but in every generation and in almost every nation, there have been anti-Semites and it’s sensible to take precautions against violent anti-Semites. Contributing to and supporting the work of the CST has been one way that Britain’s Jews have guarded themselves against the physical expression of the poison of Jew-hatred, the nature of which changes from generation to generation.
I praise the work of the CST security volunteers, the men and women on the ground who actually do the guarding. I have encountered little to complain about concerning any of the security staff I have met. CST volunteer guards come from a variety of backgrounds and religions and I have never been treated anything but courteously, professionally and effectively by them.
The CST management, on the other hand, I find less and less praiseworthy, also I find things that deserve criticism. Chief among those things that deserve criticism is the close associations between CST management and the Islamic grievance-monger Fiyaz Mughal. Associations matter. People will draw inferences from whom a person or an entity associates with, when it comes to Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of the disgraced ‘Islamophobia’ monitor Tell Mama, these inferences are wholly negative.
There’s an old saying that if you lie down with a pack of dogs, you will wake up with fleas and that statement truly fits the association between the CST and Tell Mama. The CST have a lot to lose, most notably respect and support, by their continued links with Tell Mama or other groups in which Fiyaz Mughal is involved. On the other hand, Tell Mama gain a lot from their association with a respected group like CST. They gain political influence, access to decision-makers and they earn a lot of public relations credits from being associated with the CST. CST’s presence in Fiyaz Mughal’s orbit gives his organisations a credibility that they would not otherwise have had.
The CST has gained an impressive reputation over the years for their reasonably accurate reports monitoring anti-Semitism but that could all be lost should they continue to back an organisation like Tell Mama, an entity that is both a byword and shorthand for dishonesty. Among a number of highly concerning activities, the Tell Mama organisation has openly lied about the number of ‘hate crimes’ against Muslims and has publicised fake ‘attack’ stories as true, yet has issued no corrections to these stories when they have been exposed. Tell Mama have also abused the mentally vulnerable for political gain and have allied themselves with groups and individuals who call for censorship of Britons’ rights to speak criticially of Islam. Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations have also allegedly gained undue influence over some police forces and over the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service, something that runs the risk of making the police and prosecution authorities less honest and trustworthy than they should be.
There is an awful lot of mud that surrounds and emanates from Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations and if they are not careful then the CST may find that mud sticking to them. No sensible person, whether they are Jewish or not, would want to see the organisation that guards Britain’s synagogues going down the pan. But this might happen if the CST continue to back Tell Mama uncritically, in the way that they have been doing. How long will it be I wonder, before the well-publicised and often easily destroyed lies and distortions that are promulgated by Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations, start to affect the CST? The CST will have only themselves to blame if they find their own reputation for honest and probity under attack or under intense scrutiny because they have chosen to associate themselves with liars and dissemblers such as Tell Mama.
The highly questionable, and in my mind inexcusable, links between the CST and Tell Mama have been the subject of criticism for years by Jews of the political Right. Jewish conservatives, including myself, from across the religious spectrum have on various occasions expressed dismay at the antics of Fiyaz Mughal and those with whom he associates. On Social Media there are packs of trolls attacking those who criticise Fiyaz Mughal. The Tell Mama Twitter account seems to have no problem with retweeting or making approving noises about some of these trolls. There are even allegedly avowed Jew-haters who are said to have worked with Tell Mama / Fiyaz Mughal and who have harassed and stalked critics of Tell Mama online.
Moving further right in the Jewish political spectrum, we have some serious criticism of Fiyaz Mughal and Tell Mama coming from the Jewish Defence League UK. A few years back they exposed Fiyaz Mughal’s ‘Muslims Against Antisemitism’ as an opportunistic political fraud that the JDL say was merely a spoiler organisation to stop Jews joining groups like the EDL and JDL. The JDL UK also have concerns about both the honesty of Tell Mama and whether it’s right for the CST to continue to associate with them. Whatever one’s opinion is of the JDL UK (and for people’s information, their far right-ness gives my Rabbi the screaming abdabs) it is difficult to disagree with the conclusions they draw about Tell Mama and their founder Fiyaz Mughal.
The JDL UK accuse the CST of ‘betraying’ British Jews by associating with the group Tell Mama and with Fiyaz Mughal. They are said to be betraying British Jews by working with a group that goes out of its way to play down Islamic Jew hatred and any criticism of the ideology of Islam itself. Since February 2012 the CST and Tell Mama have been supporting each other in public and CST staff attended the Tell Mama launch event.
The JDL UK said of the CST’s association with Tell Mama: “The truth is that CST has done nothing to curb Muslim Jew-hatred. Appallingly the CST is more concerned in libelling, and labelling white people (including us Jews) as Nazis, and racists, and pushing for them to get the blame for a crime which is vastly and evidently committed by a Muslim majority. This is a very serious thing because many people who look up to the CST are unfortunately being fooled by the CST’s new Islamic-appeasing agenda.” I agree with that statement to a large extent. It’s very difficult for an organisation to properly target the problem of violent Islamic Jew-hatred, when groups like the CST are so close to entities like Tell Mama that are backing the ideology from which the Islamic Jew-haters take their cues.
Although the JDL UK may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I think it’s right to acknowledge when they are correct in their assessment of a situation. When it comes to Fiyaz Mughal and Tell Mama, the JDL UK are indeed correct. The CST gives Fiyaz Mughal and his groups a legitimacy that they don’t deserve and which they could not get through their own endeavours. The CST help to give legitimacy to the constant stream of lies that pour from the mouths and keyboards of Tell Mama staff and associates and to my mind that’s not what the CST should be doing. The CST should be providing security staff and advice to Jewish organisations and not helping Fiyaz Mughal play his twisted politics or to gain influence.
Here’s another quote from the JDL UK about what benefits Tell Mama get from their association with the CST.
The JDL UK said:
In helping Tell Mama and Faith Matters, the CST is assisting in the Muslim narrative that they are such victims, when in fact they are one of the principal groups victimising gay people and Jews, not to mention murdering people in the streets. The CST are not just enabling the concealment of Muslim racist attacks, but also Muslim homophobic attacks. Such thing cannot go unnoticed or unchallenged.
The JDL UK are correct here. The CST are assisting Fiyaz Mughal in promulgating a false narrative that Muslims are under constant violent attack when the reality is that it’s the Muslims who are doing the oppressing. The knowledge that Jews, Gays, Christians and a whole host of other groups are consistently victimised by the followers of Islam should have made the CST nervous or careful about working with Islamic groups. They should have been especially careful about signing up with someone like Fiyaz Mughal. The CST should have dropped their foolish and counterproductive association with Mughal and Tell Mama the moment that it was revealed by the Daily Telegraph that Mughal’s ‘hate crime’ figures were utterly fraudulent. If the CST had done that, then they may have been able to save their hard fought for reputation as the communal guardians of Britain’s Jews. By continuing to associate with Tell Mama the CST have hurt themselves. By cleaving to Tell Mama the CST have ensured that they will be associated with every lie that Tell Mama make, every bent prosecution that Tell Mama are involved in and with every nut-case troll that are associated with the Tell Mama organisation’s public presence.
If you or I hung round with thieves or sex offenders or political extremists and made excuses for them or supported them in public, then it would be difficult to claim that we were not thieves, sex offenders and political extremists ourselves. We would be tainted with the guilt of those whom we have backed. This is the danger that the CST run by their all too close association with Tell Mama. When a group like CST decides to trash their own organisation’s reputation by close association with such a problematic and questionable individual as Fiyaz Mughal or an organisation that is so obviously dishonest as Tell Mama, then it’s time for us to ask Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who is guarding those who are supposed to be guarding us? After all if the CST don’t seem to be want to guard their own reputation against the dishonour of being associated weith Tell Mama, can we truly trust them to guard our synagogues, our communal events or anything else for that matter?
The close association between the CST and Tell Mama is likely to end badly for the CST. The lack of trust will grow and I believe that Tell Mama will milk the CST for borrowed credibility until the CST becomes a laughing stock and are no longer of any use to Fiyaz Mughal and his Empire of Lies. The only losers in that situation will be the British Jewish community as a whole. Not only will we see our security organisation damaged but we as a community will be blamed for the Islam-appeasing attitudes of the management of high profile organisations like the CST. No good at all will come of the continued association of CST with Tell Mama and the relationship has the potential to bring about problems of a magnitude that should only exist in nightmares.
I don’t want to see the CST crumble or be tainted by their foolish association with Tell Mama and Fiyaz Mughal, quite the opposite, I want the CST to be an effective provider of synagogue guards and to be an honest chronicler of anti-Semitism in the UK today. Unfortunately they cannot do these jobs effectively or be trusted to be honest reporters of problems, if they continue to shackle themselves to a bunch of proven liars such as the Tell Mama organisation.
It doesn’t matter how high profile the individual or organisation may be, associating with Tell Mama or any other of Fiyaz Mughal‘s groups or causes creates reputational damage to Tell Mama/Fiyaz Mughal associates. Both Peter Tatchell and Baroness Rabbi Neuberger have found themselves dismissed as naïve fools and blinkered leftists respectively because of their involvement with Fiyaz Mughal’s organisations. Any good reputation that Mr Tatchell or Baroness Neuberger may have had in the past has been permanantly stained by giving their backing to organisations run or created by Fiyaz Mughal. I don’t want to see the CST become as mocked as Tatchell or Neuberger are because of their association with Tell Mama, therefore in order repair their reputation and to get back to their proper job, the CST need to dump Mughal and all his organisations, as swiftly as humanly possible.
JDL posts on the CST’s association with Tell Mama and other Fiyaz Mughal groups