Ahmed Haneef, a Canadian Shia scholar, has been invited to speak at the Islamic Centre of England (ICE), which has been described as the Iranian regime’s “London office.” However, Haneef’s past controversial statements have raised concerns. In a previous speech to the ICE, he claimed that the 9/11 attacks were a false flag operation and suggested that Jews celebrated the attacks.
He said: “It was a self-imposed terrorism in America. You know, you find this plane crashes into the building and it immolates, it bursts into flames. Oops.
“By the way, we just found the passports of some of these hijackers in the rubble. Come on, you know, things like that.
“You know, how they found some Jewish kids on some roof actually filming the event and jumping up for joy. No word from them. So there’s a false flag operation.”
Haneef has also praised the 1979 Iranian revolution and talked about the Jewish community’s influence in Britain.
He had previously told ICE’s YouTube channel: “They’re not afraid of us, they make their own people afraid of us because they use some of us in their programme.
“They’re using Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and so on to foment this thing called extremism that they want to scare their own people about.”
Security Minister Tom Tugendhat has stated that the Charity Commission will report soon on its findings regarding ICE. The center has yet to comment on the matter.
The Islamic Centre of England (ICE) in London serves as an office for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his personal representative in Britain. A Charity Commission inquiry followed two events held at the charity’s premises in 2020 that eulogized Qasem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general killed in a US drone strike in January 2020, which described him as a “martyr.”
The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, issued an official warning to the ICE after investigating the event. Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Investigations and Inquiries at the Charity Commission, said:
“Through their actions, the trustees have failed in their legal duties towards this charity, putting its reputation at risk. Any charity being associated with terrorism is completely unacceptable and we are concerned by the corrosive effect this might have on public confidence in this and other charities.”
The Charity Commission. Is also examining a speech made by the centre’s director, Seyed Moosavi, after he referred to Iranian anti-government protesters as “soldiers of Satan” and announced in November 2022 that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the Islamic Centre of England Limited over serious governance concerns.
“A follow-up case in 2021 concluded that the charity was only partially compliant with the actions set out in the official warning and identified further regulatory concerns.” These included concerns about the content of the charity’s website and the trustees’ management of conflicts of interest, and led to the commission issuing an action plan.
The ICE has not responded to various requests for comment, only stating in its accounts that it is “fully compliant” with the Charity Commission’s requests.
The ICE has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the UK government in various schemes during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some critics have questioned why such an organization should be receiving public funds. Kasra Aarabi, from the Tony Blair Institute, said on Twitter the centre should be closed.
“The UK government must take action against the Islamic Centre of England, (Khamenei’s London office). It’s clear the views propagated at the centre are a direct threat to British values and citizens. The centre should be shut down and Khamenei’s representatives should be expelled,” he said.
In an interview posted on the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM) YouTube channel on June 19, 2020, titled “The Black Struggle for Justice in the USA,” Haneef said that certain historical figures are idolized today even if their views regarding non-white people were “worse than the [views of the] Nazis.” Haneef gave the example of Winston Churchill, who he said had an “Aryanist” and “supremacist-type” ideology that is minimized today because Churchill had defended Britain against the Nazis in World War II. Haneef explained that while Churchill had been fighting the Nazis in Europe, he and his ilk were committing the exact same crimes in Africa, India, the US, and the Americas.
Haneef was born in Trinidad and studied in Qom, Iran. He was previously a presenter in a regular program on Press TV, Iran’s English-language state-run TV channel. AIM is a UK-based Shi’ite Islamic organization endorsed by UK representatives of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.