Andrew Gilligan’s “anonymous” sources behind Andalusi smear piece

5Pillars, Dilly's Desk

In light of the coordinated smear campaign against Abdullah al Andalusi led by The Telegraph, 5Pillars reveals that Adam Deen of the “Deen Institute” was one of two “anonymous” sources that colluded with Andrew Gilligan.

On Saturday night, the Independent and the Daily Mail reported that the prominent Muslim debater, Abdullah al Andalusi (real name Mouloud Farid), worked for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for two years before he was investigated for gross misconduct, after “taking part in public activity that compromised his impartial service to government, thereby breaching the civil service code”.

HMIC confirmed that Andalusi handed in his resignation in July 2014.

Both the Independent and the Daily Mail cited Andrew Gilligan’s article, which was published on Sunday, as their main source of information.

Gilligan, who is considered by many to be one of the most Islamophobic journalists in Britain, has previously written smear pieces against Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman, Mehdi Hasan, Sufyan Ismail of MEND, amongst other leading Muslim figures.

In yesterday’s article, the journalist who was once the highest paid employee of the Iranian state owned – and proudly Islamic – television channel Press TV, quoted two anonymous sources, an “anti-extremist activist” and a former member of the Muslim Debate Initiative (MDI)

Adam Deen, the “anti-extremist activist”

The initial online copy of Gilligan’s article, which was published on Sunday morning, had mentioned Adam Deen (real name Hakkan Cerrah) by name. But Mr Deen’s name was promptly omitted within an hour, and was changed to an anonymous “anti-extremist adviser”.

Deen told Gilligan that Andalusi had allegedly “admitted” to people that he preferred his job at the HMIC instead of a life dedicated to dawah (propagation of Islam), and that he was “surprised” by the “hypocrisy” of Andalusi’s actions.

In an exchange of tweets with members of the public, Mr Deen said that he believed Andalusi was an “extremist”, and did not think that Gilligan was an Islamophobe, and would support The Telegraph journalist “depending on the topic”.

Gilligan’s relationship with Mr Deen came to light in an article published in 31st May, on “extremist disruption orders” that could be introduced under the government’s proposed Counter-Extremism Bill.

Deen made his debut on mainstream television when he featured in the “The Battle for British Islam” episode of BBC Panorama aired after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. On the show, he criticised aspects of the Shariah as “irrational”, supported the government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security (CTS) bill in the “short term”, and blamed a “cancerous puritanical Islam” as the main cause of radicalisation.

Deen was interviewed by John Ware, another notorious Islamophobic journalist, alongside women’s rights activist, Sara Khan, former jihadist Abu Muntansir, and Dilwar Hussain of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB).

“Former friend”

A source within The Telegraph informed 5Pillars that the “former friend” that Gilligan cited in his article was Paul Williams. The ex-member of MDI claimed he left the organisation because it became “increasingly extreme”.

However, it is alleged that Mr Williams is in fact a “disgruntled” former employee, who was fired from MDI in May 2013 for alleged “misappropriation of MDI property”.

Documents seen by 5Pillars stated that Mr Williams’ contract was not renewed due to “perceived attempts to misappropriate property, as well as behaving in a rude and derogatory manner, and harassing MDI members.”

Coincidently, Mr Williams is also a known associate of Mr Deen and ardently defends the “anti-extremist activist” whenever he’s criticised on social media.

Deen, who was cited by Gilligan as having left MDI along with Mr Williams, denied on Twitter that he was ever a member of the debating organisation.

The Telegraph stated that MPs have called for a full investigation into how Andalusi with a “long a record of extremism had survived vetting and been appointed to his post”.

Gilligan, along with the Independent and the Daily Mail linked Andalusi to advocacy group CAGE and Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir, a claim that he has clarified in his blog yesterday.

Under the proposed Counter-Extremism Bill, “extremists” will be prevented from being employed in the public sector.