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A long overdue counterblast to the Left's thinking on Islamists
by Shiraz Maher
A three year open sore within the human rights community will be closed this evening when Gita Sahgal officially launches her new organisation, the Centre for Secular Space, at Toynbee Hall. Sahgal will also be launching the group's first report, 'Double Bind: The Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights' highlighting the ongoing scandal of the left's promiscuous embrace of radical Islamists.
The story of Gita Sahgal has been covered before but is worth revisiting. A lifelong human rights activist, Sahgal worked on issues relating to women's rights, religious extremism, and racism before heading up the Gender Unit at Amnesty International. Then, three years ago she was dramatically sacked after expressing concern at the way the group was embracing deeply reactionary Islamists.
In particular, Sahgal was upset at Amnesty's relationship with Moazzam Begg who is perhaps Britain's best known and most high profile Guantanamo Bay detainee. Begg had run a bookstore in Birmingham during the 1990s which was investigated on suspicion of supporting terrorism, although no charges were ever brought against any of the staff. Begg then packed his bags and moved from the Midlands to Afghanistan where he lived until shortly after 9/11. When the American invasion took place he fled to Pakistan, was arrested, and subsequently sent to Guantanamo Bay.
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