Islam Channel chief Harrath Arrested on Terror Claims

From the Times:

The head of the Islam Channel, Britain’s most popular Muslim television station, has been arrested in South Africa and faces deportation to Tunisia over terrorism allegations.

The Times disclosed more than a year ago that Mohamed Ali Harrath, a Scotland Yard adviser against Islamic extremism, was wanted by Interpol because of his alleged activities in his homeland. His arrest on Sunday after a flight from London is being blamed by supporters on a security clampdown by the South African authorities in the run-up to this summer’s World Cup.

Harrath, 46, is the force behind the Islam Channel, which is watched by 59 per cent of British Muslims and beamed by satellite to 132 countries. He has been fêted by politicians, with the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, the minister Shahid Malik and the Tory frontbencher Dominic Grieve attending his annual festival. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gave him a platform to address thousands in Trafalgar Square in September at the official taxpayer-funded event to mark the end of Ramadan. Harrath, who has a heart condition, collapsed during his arrest and is being treated at Eugene Marais hospital in Pretoria, where he is under police guard. The broadcaster has been convicted in absentia of numerous criminal and terrorism-related offences by Tunisian courts and sentenced to 56 years in prison.

The Islam Channel last night accused Tunisia of using Interpol to harass and intimidate Harrath.

Before fleeing his homeland, he co-founded the Tunisian Islamic Front, which Tunis accused of seeking to establish a Muslim state by armed revolutionary violence. Harrath insists that the organisation was a non-violent political party set up to oppose what he regarded as Tunisia’s one-party rule.

At Tunisia’s request, he has been on an Interpol Red Notice, its highest form of alert, since 1992 but was allowed into Britain in 1995 and accepted as a refugee.

Mohammed Ali Harrath is wanted by Interpol. See warrant.

According to an internal document, Mohammed Ali Harrath is also a trustee of Inayat Bunglawala’s organ iEngage.

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  1. Abdullah Schweitzer
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    No doubt that his supporters at the MCB, Azad Ali, Bunglawala, Kamal Helbawy, Anas Tikriti and the usual gang of hardline Islamist nutters are working hard to extradite Harrath back to the UK. A country which they hate because of the Jooos and Islamophobia.

  2. Jannat al Ferdous
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    I am celebrating the good news! But he will be freed and back in the UK before you can say ‘John Denham and Communities and Local Government’.

  3. zia
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    The Tunisian government is a vicious dictatorship which supresses all dissent.
    How informative to see Spitoon supporting it !

  4. Yaseen
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    How dare you Zia!! The self-righteous slanderers at Munafiqoon can not be refuted, for they represent real Islam, compliance with Allah (swt) and his Sharia and emulation of the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) NOT

    Its called selective Human Rights and Freedom the archetypal paradox, the Tunisian state and its Arab contemporaries are free and in fact lauded for killing, maiming, imprisoning and torturing people as long as they are political opponents or ‘Islamists’ we have seen similar hypocrisy over in Uzbekistan were people still get boiled alive.

  5. Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Where does it say in the article that the Spittoon supports the Tunisian government?

    It doesn’t. But what the last two commenters have shown is that it is perfectly acceptable amongst some charlatans who purport to speak in the name of Islam to support terrorist acts against Muslims.

    Harrath has been convicted of terrorism related offences in Tunisia – he is on Interpol Red Alert notice – the highest form of notice. He is not wanted for trial – because he has already been found guilty in Tunisia in absentia (since he fled the country – they concluded the trial without him). He has been convicted of setting up some Islamist group – which Tunisia claims that it wants to overthrow the secular government violently and implement an Islamist state in its place. Harath claims that it was a peaceful group. Either way – he is a wanted man.

    May Allah protect innocent Muslims from random and indiscriminate acts of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam whereby the victims receive no justice and the perpetrators are touted as heroes of Islam.

  6. zia
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Abdul Hamid

    Where does it say in the article that the Spittoon supports the Tunisian government?

    A British citizen is being sent to a dictatorship, notorious for its human rights abuses, to face trial and Spitoon is supporting and celebrating this- simply because Mohamed Ali is a religious Muslim . There is not a word of criticism of the Tunisian one-party regime, or questioning its evidence- instead there is acceptance and total support of the legal rulings of a dictatorship

    Read Amnesty’s reports on the Tunisian regime Spitoon is backing

  7. Posted January 26, 2010 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    LOL. I note that there is not a word of criticism by the “We’re so Muslim, I’m so Muslim” commenters on the acts of violence and terrorism that are on Harrath’s criminal record. Not surprising because it’s ok to kill Muslims if you want to set up an “Islamic State” or rather, another one-party theocratic dictatorship.

  8. Kitchener
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Nelson Mandela was also prosecuted on terrorism charges by a similar regime. What is your point?

    Anyway, you could all stop getting excited now and pick on someone else:

    26 January 2010
    Provided by: SAPA (South African Press Association)
    The CEO of the UK-based broadcaster Islam Channel, arrested at OR Tambo International Airport at the weekend, was released on Tuesday.
    “He is planning to head back home to his family in the UK,” Media Review Network chairman Iqbal Jassat said.
    “The only condition of his release is that he report back to the Pretoria High Court in two months for processes on an interdict we were granted, preventing him from being extradited to Tunisia.”
    Muhammed Ali Harrath, 47, was hoping to be back on a plane home by Wednesday.
    “We hope that this will also lead to his blacklisting being reversed.”
    Earlier on Tuesday Harrath moved from a hospital he was at to cells at Moot police station in Pretoria. He was at the hospital from Sunday because he fell ill shortly after his arrest.
    “He has a heart condition and took ill after the arrest,” Jassat said.
    Harrath, 47, who appears on Interpol’s most wanted list, was arrested on Sunday when his passport was scanned on arrival in Johannesburg and showed a red flag notice — used by Interpol to track the movement of people on its wanted list.
    He is the CEO of Islam Channel, a UK-based television channel broadcast on DSTV.
    The Media Review Network, in co-operation with the non-governmental Organisation for the Protection of Constitutional Democracy, applied early Monday morning for an interdict to prevent him from being extradited to his home country Tunisia. Jassat said Harrath was a political refugee who sought asylum in the UK, after leaving Tunisia about 20 years ago.
    “He is a refugee who didn’t commit any crime, apart from being a human rights activist back then.”

    Hawks spokesman Musa Zondi confirmed his release.
    “We could not oppose his release… one of the reasons for this was that we did not receive any information from the Tunisian government… this man is also very ill, and to keep him here in that condition would be inhumane,” Zondi said.
    Jassat said if Harrath were to be sent back to Tunisia, he faced the death penalty as the maximum sentence, or a minimum of life imprisonment, apparently for his political activism.
    “We all know the dismal human rights records that Tunisia displays,” he said.
    (c) 2010 All copy held by SAPA, no republication without permission from SAPA

  9. Spitoon Zindabad
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Press Release – Islam Channel 25th January 2010

    CEO of UK based Islam Channel TV subject to harassment and intimidation by unlawful use of Interpol Red Notice System
    Mohamed Ali Harrath – the respected CEO of UK based ‘Islam Channel Television’ which enjoys the viewership of the major percentage of Muslims in the UK (according to Home Office statistics) and has a broadcast footprint across Africa; Asia and Europe – has been the subject of arrest at Tambo Airport in South Africa this weekend. The arrest was a direct result of the unlawful use by the Tunisian government of the Interpol Red Notice System as a part of an established process of harassment and intimidation by the Tunisian Authorities. Such intimidation tactics have been well documented by human rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which have detailed a range of methods used to inconvenience and harass members or former members of the democratic opposition in Tunisia. This represents a clear infringement of Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution under which it is “strictly forbidden for the Organisation to undertake any activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
    “President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and the ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), dominate political life in Tunisia. The government uses the threat of terrorism and religious extremism as a pretext to crack down on peaceful dissent.…Human rights defenders and dissidents are subject to heavy surveillance, arbitrary travel bans, dismissal from work, interruptions in phone service, physical assaults, harassment of relatives, suspicious acts of vandalism and theft, and slander campaigns in the press.”
    Human Rights Watch World Report 2010
    In the late 1970s and 1980s Mohamed Ali Harrath was a prominent figure in the opposition to the one-party government that rules Tunisia to this day. As a founding member of the Tunisian Islamic Front, a political party founded in 1986 he set about opposing the one-party state by peaceful democratic means.
    The offence for which he was sentenced to 56 years imprisonment in absentia was ‘belonging to an unauthorised political party’. His ‘crimes’: distributing leaflets and holding meetings.
    The publication of the Interpol Red Notice also breaches basic human rights – in particular Article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which protects the right “…to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by a public authority and regardless of frontiers.”
    The British authorities are only too well aware that torture and other forms of repression have been common under Ben Ali’s authoritarian regime and that any form of political challenge to the tyranny of that regime is dealt with in the harshest possible ways.
    With this understanding the British authorities refused a request by Tunisia to extradite Mohamed Ali Harrath in 1997 following a thorough examination of his circumstances and in full knowledge of the Interpol Red Notice. Instead, he was granted political protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention, as were many of those convicted by the Tunisian courts.
    That international champions of basic human rights and those that resist the brutality of known tyrannical regimes (and there are many) should be singled out and harassed in this way is an offence to all those engaged in struggles to support democracy.
    As Mohamed Ali Harrath has tirelessly pointed out, on no occasion has he been involved in unlawful or violent protest and has spent his life championing those very rights that we so take for granted here in the UK. As a senior figure in the Muslim community – he has provided opinion and advice to the Muslim Contact Unit, but has never been on the payroll or an appointed advisor to the Scotland Yard or the intelligence services.
    As Edmund Burke once so eloquently put it ‘All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing’. There should be no doubt that Mohamed Ali is not only a good man, but one who has risked life and limb in pursuit of those same values which we hold dear in the UK.
    Britain has a proud record of providing asylum and offering sanctuary to those that are the victims of persecution in the world. This is one example of a case in which we should show gratitude and compassion and not to conspire in the unlawful attempts to silence democratic opposition to tyranny.
    Further information
    Last year Amnesty International called on the Tunisian government to answer for their harsh actions against ordinary trade union members who face up to 10 years imprisonment for daring to make public demonstrations about working conditions.
    (see &,COI,,,TUN,4938f3031e,0.html)
    The report called for:
    ‘an independent investigation into allegations of torture and other abuses by security forces when quelling protests earlier this year in the Gafsa region on the eve of the trial of a local trade union leader and 37 others accused of fomenting the unrest. Adnan Hajji, Secretary General of local office of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) in Redeyef, and his co-accused are due to go on trial on 4 December 2008 on charges including “forming a criminal group with the aim of destroying public and private property”. They could face up to more than ten years of imprisonment if convicted. At least six of 38 accused are to be tried in their absence. In a letter to Tunisia’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights Béchir Tekkari, Amnesty International called for the authorities to disclose the outcome of an official investigation which they said had been set up after police opened fire on demonstrators on 6 June 2008, killing one man and injuring others, sparking allegations that police had used excessive force. The letter also detailed cases in which people suspected of organizing or participating in protests are reported to have been detained and tortured by police who forced them to sign incriminating statements that could be used against them at trial and falsified their arrest dates in official records.’


  10. Posted January 26, 2010 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Nelson Mandela was also prosecuted on terrorism charges by a similar regime. What is your point?

    What do you mean a “similar regime”? Are you saying the South African government still applies apartheid!?

  11. Khalid
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    Having an “arrest warrant” from Tunisia is about as credible as having one from North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, or Iraq under Saddam.

    Defending a regime which even Amnesty International cites here:

    speaks for itself. This blog is losing more and more credibility by the day.

  12. Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Yes, Tunisia’s human rights record is abysmal and the likelihood that the terrorist will be tortured is high.

    Most Muslims who support Harrath today didn’t bat an eyelid when the Iranian government tortured and killed countless numbers Muslims in a brutal crackdown on the opposition, which included torture, prison rapes, countless killings and Stalinist-style televised show trials of reformists.

    Why do they exuse the Iranian government when it kills untold numbers of Muslims? Why is the Tunisian government’s human rights record suddenly of such importance when wants to extract justice from one man who is accused of seeking to establish a Muslim state by armed revolutionary violence?

    Just asking…

  13. Islamists Murdabad
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

    Oh look, some creep has taken the trouble to post the Islam Channel press release.

    Back in the day Tunisian Islamists used to throw acid in the faces of women they deemed immodest. And those were the least of their crimes.

    Harrath a human rights activist? What a sick joke.

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