Over the last few years one of the most doughty fighters for restrictions on Britons freedom of speech and especially freedom of speech about the ideology of Islam, has been the Tell Mama ‘anti Islamophobia’ group and its founder Fiyaz Mughal. He has constantly and for many years been publicly pressing social media companies to remove opinions that he and other Muslims find ‘offensive’.
He and his Tell Mama organisation has also been allegedly using their extensive contacts within various parts of Her Majesty’s Government, such as the Department of Communities and Local Government, various police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service to promote their ‘Islamophobia’ narrative. Tell Mama and Fiyaz Mughal have also used their contacts and their media presence to push for more censorship of anti Islam comment both online and in print media and to call for greater punishments on those ‘thought criminals’ who fail to accept the idea that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. Fiyaz Mughal even appeared on television and in the Guardian recently trying to exploit the Darren Osborne case and using it as a basis for a complaint about people expressing negative, but sadly as I have found so often true, opinions about Islam and calling for yet more censorship of British social media.
Such actions by Fiyaz Mughal have been highly lucrative for the projects, often ones of dubious value, that he has set up. For example: Between 2008 and 2012 various Fiyaz Mughal spawned projects that managed to screw approximately £750k from the British taxpayer. These projects included Tell Mama itself (£397k) along with a ‘care for Islamic converts’ project (£100k) and a ‘woman’s mosque directory’ (£75k). Many Britons, myself included, look at the money, our money, that has been spunked on Mughal’s various projects, and feel that this money could be far better spent elsewhere.
Regular readers of this blog may know that there are many other articles on this blog concerning the activities of Fiyaz Mughal and his various organisations. These articles based on information from a number of different sources examine the waste of money that Fiyaz Mughal’s projects represent, the noted dishonesty of his Tell Mama vehicle, along with the consistent and loud calls for censorship that come from both Mughal himself and his various entities. These pieces can be found on the Fahrehheit211 site by using the search terms ‘Fiyaz Mughal’, ‘Tell Mama’, ‘Faith Matters’ or ‘mendacious grievance mongering taqiyya artist’. But it’s not just this blog that is suspicious of or questioning of the motives and policies of Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations as entities as diverse as the Telegraph, New English Review and Breitbart have also been quite negative about Mughal and his various vehicles.
However, it’s not Fiyaz Mughal’s previous projects, worrying and dangerous that they are, that concern this article. It is Fiyaz Mughal’s current project that needs to be examined.
After a good couple of decades promoting Islam in some way shape or form, and being publicly funded to do so since at least 2008, Fiyaz Mughal has decided to re-invent himself as – wait for it – please make sure you are sitting down – a champion of ex Muslims. There will be many people who will be utterly astonished at Mughal’s transmogrification from one who founded and managed a group that fights to promote a shonky ‘Islamophobia’ narrative to a person who claims to be a champion for those who leave Islam.
There will be a number of people who will be astounded by Fiyaz Mughal’s relatively sudden transformation from Islam promoter and champion of censorship of those critical of Islam and of the behaviour of individual Muslims into a man who has co-edited a book about leaving Islam. I know I am surprised, but I’m not sure that I completely buy into his foray into the world of ex Muslims. I hold this view not only because I despise the damage that Mr Mughal along with his various groups have done to our police forces, our justice system and elsewhere with their dodgy ‘Islamophobia’ narrative, or the massive amounts of money that have been wasted on Fiyaz Mughal’s various projects. I hold this view mainly because I just don’t believe that he’s serious in wanting to fight the ex Muslim corner.
Fiyaz Mughal was up until a mere few weeks ago calling publicly for social media to ‘do more’ to remove what he called ‘anti Muslim hate’ and was using the Darren Osborne case as a hook to hang his call for more censorship on. It is likely that much of what Mughal claims to be ‘anti Islam hate’ that is to be found online is merely people expressing their justifiable dislike of an ideology that, let’s be honest here, hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to not be hostile to the rest of us. Also likely is that the sort of challenge that Islam is getting on social media and elsewhere is exactly the sort of stuff that those contemplating leaving Islam need to see and hear. If Fiyaz Mughal gets his desire for more and stricter censorship of anti Islam comments then it is likely to deprive those thinking of leaving Islam from the very information that could help to turn them against this destructive and dangerous ideology, information such as the details of the Islamic ‘prophet’s’ life that show him to be a violent, misogynistic, murderous, hate filled, paedophile.
The organisations founded or run by Fiyaz Mughal also do not have stellar records when it comes to helping or supporting ex Muslims and Tell Mama is particularly guilty of this. For example the author, counter Islam campaigner and ex Muslim Shazia Hobbs has claimed that she has been repeatedly blocked by Tell Mama on social media when she has asked about what the organisation is doing to help ex Muslims. I must admit that a person such as Fiyaz Mughal, who has founded an organisation that has received massive amounts of public money but blocks ex Muslims and has a record of lying about the nature, number and severity of so-called ‘hate crimes’, is not someone who I would trust to defend or protect me if I was an ex Muslim.
Having been one of those individuals and groups who have observed the work and conduct of Mr Mughal and his organisations over a number of years I’m afraid I have come to a conclusion about him and the organisations that he has founded and run. That conclusion is that I would not buy a used car from Fiyaz Mughal, let alone buy the idea that he is now championing ex Muslims when his organisation did much to exclude them from the debate and which aligned themselves with entities that called for censorship in the press and social media about issues relating to Islam.
His relatively sudden conversion to the cause of ex Muslims is for me a little suspicious and other correspondents to this blog who have had trouble from Fiyaz Mughal and his various organisational vehicles have privately told me that they are similarly suspicious. There is the possibility that Fiyaz Mughal – who described himself under oath in a court case last year as a ‘non practising Muslim’ – may well be seeing that ex Muslims are another bandwagon that he can jump on just as he jumped on the ‘Islamophobia’ bandwagon when it rolled into town. This may strike some as an overly cynical view but as Fiyaz Mughal has characterised himself by the conduct of the organisations he has been involved in, as being as slippery as an eel covered in KY Jelly, maybe it’s not so cynical.
We turn now to the puff piece from the Faith Matters site about Fiyaz Mughal’s new book which is co-edited by Aliyah Saleem, a House of Lords researcher and ex Muslim with a seemingly solid reputation for ex Muslim advocacy. It’s worth examining this puff piece in a little more detail and giving due attention to what Fiyaz Mughal says. As is policy for this blog the original text from the Faith Matters site is in italics whereas this blog’s comments are in plain text.
Fiyaz Mughal writing on the Faith Matters site said:
“Why did I co-edit and put this book together? Well, part of my identity remains as a Muslim
Although Fiyaz Mughal has claimed in the past to be a ‘non practising Muslim’ he has not clarifed to my knowledge just what this means. Does he mean that he chows down on a bacon sandwich and quaffs a pint of beer at the weekend or does he go further and denounce the crimes of Islam’s founder, Mohammed? He doesn’t really make it clear must how much of his identity is Islamic and uses the vague term ‘non practising’.
though being a Muslim does not mean that I feel defensive of my faith
So the last twenty years, nine of which have been years in which Fiyaz Mughal’s various projects have been lavishly funded by the taxpayer, didn’t happen did they. This, we need to recall, was a period where Mr Mughal promoted Islam through mosque directories, convert care projects, and ‘Islamophobia’ dissemblers like Tell Mama. Fiyaz Mughal’s organisations have also spawned various shonky ‘interfaith’ initiatives with the likes of naïve happy clappy Rabbi’s like Jonathan Wittenberg of the Masorti Jewish movement getting on board. Nearly all of Fiyaz Mughal’s various entities and projects have been ones that inevitably unjustly and dishonestly have painted Islam as a ‘religion of peace’. Fiyaz Mughal has far from being someone who welcomes debate about Islam has in fact been a person who has started groups that have vigorously defended Islam, called for censorship of anti Islam comment and which have promoted Islam as being completely compatible with free Western societies.
nor do I feel that people cannot and should not question any belief.
Bollocks! Complete and utter bollocks. He and his organisation had the chance to speak to and engage honestly with people like Shazia Hobbs who brought their concerns about the situation facing British ex Muslims, but they refused. They blocked her just as they’ve blocked almost any critic of their work or their conduct, including myself. He and his Tell Mama group turned away those questioning their belief in Islam including those who mentioned the dire security situation that ex Muslims face.
People have the right to question belief and religion and sometimes vocally so, but they do not have the right to harass and intimidate people.
More utter and complete bollocks. The examples given above about the excluding of certain ex Muslims from the debate and the consistent and constant calls for censorship, made by Fiyaz Mughal, of speech critical of Islam. As regards ‘intimidation’ then this is where things become interesting. It was Fiyaz Mughal we should recall that got the counterjihad writer Tim Burton gaoled for 12 weeks after Mughal claimed that a joke job application for a post at Tell Mama, the phrase ‘mendacious grievance mongering taqiyya artist’ was ‘religious intimidation’. As this blog has stated in other posts Fiyaz Mughal comes over as remarkably thin skinned for a public figure, a man who finds it difficult to accept either challenge or criticism of himself, his organisations and his ideas. Because of that Fiyaz Mughal’s vague and woolly definition of ‘intimidation’ probably needs to be taken with if not a pinch but more likely a tipper truck full of salt.
What is also a fact is that for numerous reasons, some people leave faith and reject it. This happens in every faith and the degree to which this happens is led by numerous reasons.
So far this is about the only factual thing I can find that I can agree with Fiyaz Mughal on. People do leave faiths for various reasons but one reason may be having believers confronted with the crimes of the faith of their birth. There are many ex Roman Catholics for example who have become anti-Clerical in their attitudes because of being exposed to information about the abuses and crimes that some Catholic priests have been involved in. However, because of Fiyaz Mughal’s enthusiasm for censorship about counter Islam speech it is likely that those contemplating Islam would, if he got his way, be robbed of access to information on social media about the numerous crimes of Islam.
This is also the case with Islam and these personal experiences are things that should be explored and the reasons why.
Again I have no issue with this statement only with the person making it. As I stated before I find it difficult to give credibility to the idea of Fiyaz Mughal as a champion of those questioning Islam when he has engaged in so much promotion and excuse making of and for Islam and has been at the forefront of calls for censorship. Trust Fiyaz Mughal on the issue of ex Muslims? No thank you. Sorry, but I’d rather trust Arthur Daley to sell me a second hand car after he assured me that it wasn’t ‘clocked’ than trust Fiyaz Mughal on the issue of ex Muslims.
“Do I agree with people leaving Islam – well, people have a choice as to how to live their lives and they make their own decisions.
Well of course people in free countries have free choice of religion as they do over other aspects of their lives. But Islam is different from other faiths, something that Fiyaz Mughal seems loath to mention. Those who leave Christianity or Judaism or other faiths rarely face the sort of violence aimed at those who leave Islam have to suffer.
Have I left Islam – no and I find much beauty in it but there are things that I think need to be interpreted in a modern context if the faith, like any other faith, is to remain relevant to a younger generation.
I note well that Fiyaz Mughal appears to be hedging his bets a little here in a similar manner to how he has claimed in the past to be a ‘non practising Muslim’. Maybe he’s trying to divert attention away from the numerous lunatic head chopping types in the Islamic community who see it as a divine instruction to kill those who leave Islam? As for his statement about reinterpretation of Islamic doctrine in order to make it ‘relevant’ to the young, well I’m afraid that liberal Islam ship seems to have sailed. If anything younger Muslims seem to be cleaving to a much more extreme version of Islam than older generations. If there is a ‘relevant’ Islam for young Muslims today then it is the violent, fascistic and oppressive Islam of Mohammed the ‘prophet’ that they have chosen and not the liberal Islam promoted by the increasingly irrelevant liberal Muslims. As much as I personally would like to see Islamic reform I wouldn’t want to stake my life on it happening any time soon, which is why Islam as an ideology should be seen as a threat to our societies.
I also want to add that people who leave Islam do so because of a range of reasons and experiences and these experiences are their personal ones. Who am I to question or undermine them, but I can listen and reflect and ensure that I protect their right to speak up, just as I would expect other’s to protect my right to.
Hypocrisy and cant from Fiyaz Mughal in spades in this paragraph. Yes people leave Islam for a number of reasons but he and his organisations have undermined people who wish to leave Islam by campaigning for pro Islam censorship of the press, the broadcast media and of social media. Anybody, but especially people who are contemplating changing their politics or their religion require information in order to grow as individuals and build themselves a foundation on which they can base their personal changes upon. Denying such people, in particular ex Muslims the right to be exposed to counter Islam speech and words which may help people get a different view of Islam than that imposed on them by their families.
There is even more rank hypocrisy in Fiyaz Mughal’s statement that he wants to have his right to speak protected and also protect the rights of others to speak. I find this statement to be breathtakingly divorced from reality. Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations have done the following: Run to Twitter and other social media platforms demanding that counter Islam speech is removed; Has partnered with Stop Funding Hate a left wing pro press censorship organisation in order to attack newspapers such as the Daily Mail; Has whined to both the Times newspaper and the House of Commons Home Affairs select committee about both the Fahrenheit211 blog and other counter Islam speakers, such as the former Twitter user Dow Heater, and smeared us as ‘far right’ even when this label most certainly does not apply (as many of the neo Nazis I’ve encountered online have found out). Fiyaz Mughal asks us to respect his right to speak, that’s fine, I can’t disagree with that but Fiyaz Mughal and more specifically the organisations that he has been involved with have also been a major promoter of speech restrictions and the silencing of counter Islam voices including those of ex Muslims. It’s remarkably two faced of Fiyaz Mughal to ask for his own right to speak whilst almost simultaneously doing all that he and his organisations can do to silence the voices of others.
To conclude: Although I have no quibble or criticism with either Aliyah Saleem nor the organisation that she co-founded, Faith to Faithless, they seem as far as I can ascertain to be pretty sound in their motives, I find myself deeply suspicious of Fiyaz Mughal’s involvement in this new book. I fear that the only person who is going to gain from this book is Fiyaz Mughal himself as it will allow himself to re-invent himself as a champion for ex Muslims, something I believe his previous activities and the groups he has formed and run, would disqualify him from being. I fear also for the reputation of Ms Saleem and Faith to Faithless because of their involvement with a person who has set up groups like Tell Mama that have become for many a byword for sleaze, censorship and in some cases downright dishonesty.
Because of the danger posed to ex Muslims by elements in the Islamic community, if I was an ex Muslim, I would be very wary of becoming involved in any project that has Fiyaz Mughal’s involvement. I’m not of course saying that Fiyaz Mughal would drop ex or questioning Muslims in the crap by revealing their identities to the apostate hating Islamic lunatics, there is no evidence of that and to make such a claim would be wrong. But, I do believe that someone like Mughal who has shilled for Islam for so many years, isn’t exactly the best person to represent or promote the interests of those who have left Islam or are contemplating doing so.