On 27 September 2022, Haringey borough councilor Ibrahim Ali shared a stage with British Labour MPs at a Liverpool panel debate on Islamophobia and the “future of Muslims” organized by the Labour Muslim Network. The event was part of the 2022 UK Labour Party’s Annual Conference in the city. According to a tweet by LMN co-founder Samayya Afzal:
Last night we held a @LabourMuslims fringe on the future of Muslims in @UKLabour. A sobering discussion on Islamophobia, the treatment of @ApsanaBegumMP, & challenges Muslims still face in the labour movement. It ended on a hopeful note — we’re here, and we’re here to stay!
Read the tweet here.
In June 2022, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that Ali had been suspended from his party over his past involvement in CAGE, a controversial British Muslim advocacy group tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) in the UK. According to reporting by the BBC, in 2015, Ibrahim Ali appeared to defend CAGE director Asim Qureshi’s description of Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi as a “beautiful young man.” Emwazi is believed to have beheaded a number of hostages between 2014 and 2015 while he was a member of an Islamic State terrorist cell.
Ibrahim Ali, previously an election agent for Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, was also Vice-President for Student Affairs at the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), a national umbrella organization representing Islamic societies at universities throughout the UK and which has numerous ties to the GMB network in the UK.
According to Samayya Afzal, the Liverpool event featured contributions by several other Labour MPs, councilors, and party officials, including Naz Shah, a Labour MP for Bradford West and the party’s Shadow Minister for Crime Reduction. Shah also serves as Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliament Group on British Muslims (APPGBM), which published a working definition of Islamophobia in 2018 rejected by the British government over concerns it undermined efforts to tackle extremism. The APPGBM has received funding from a charity affiliated with the Muslim Council of Britain. Also contributing to the event was Zarah Sultana, a Labour MP for Coventry South who has a history of making anti-Semitic statements on social media and wrote about her support for “violent resistance” by Palestinians. Prior GIOR reporting on the Labour Muslim Network includes a May 2021 report on a “virtual iftar” event that featured pro-Hamas & GMB leaders.
CAGE was founded in 2003 by British-Pakistani activist Moazzam Begg as an advocacy body and platform for Muslims affected by the US War on Terror. Its leaders are known to have ties to the British GMB network. CAGE has a history of campaigning against global anti-terrorism efforts and measures against Islamist radicalization, claiming these measures unfairly targeted Muslim communities and undermined the rule of law. According to British media, during a 2006 protest, CAGE Research Director Asim Qureshi advocated supporting violent Jihad overseas in conflict zones involving Muslims.