4 July 2012

BBC News Vindicates Our Story on Troubles Facing The Muslim Youth Helpline

On 21st June, BBC London News ran an exclusive television report on the recent troubles facing the Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH), about which I had issued this lengthy public statement.

The BBC London News team attempted to contact myself and Akeela several times asking us to give a statement before the camera – going so far as to send reporter Guy Smith round our flat - but we explained to them that due to the harassment we had faced, we had no desire to further inflame tensions on this issue by going public, which we felt would be irresponsible, provoke further attacks on us, as well as potentially invite unnecessary public scrutiny of Muslim communities.

In the end, the report that they ran was very fair and objective, and set the record straight on matters that have been speculated about in the blogosphere and beyond.

It confirmed the following:

1.       The helpline had been suspended in June due to the impact of the hacking activities, which had compromised security severely and created an unsafe environment for volunteers.

2.       The hacking was part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation against my wife Akeela, who was then CEO of MYH, which was designed to cause her to lose her job. The campaign succeeded in doing so - after her personal gmail account was hacked, she resigned to avoid further harassment.

3.       We had contacted the police about this criminal campaign and notified them that we believed it was motivated by an extremist agenda linked to racism and homophobia (which as I clarified in my statement revolved around the employment of a non-Muslim about whom malicious rumours were spread concerning his alleged sexuality).

4.       We had not referred names of helpline workers to the Anti-Terrorism police officers, and this was directly confirmed by Scotland Yard, who stated that nothing of the sort was received by them.

Unfortunately when the crimes were reported to Marylebone Police Station, we were told that a criminal investigation would not be proceeding and that Anti-Terrorism had been asked to look at the case. What the BBC London News report confirms is that Scotland Yard had very quickly assessed the case and sent it straight back down. However, the police hadn’t communicated any of this to us, which is why I had chosen to reach out to a senior police officer I had come into contact with working at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on Prevent strategy, with a view to get a proper police investigation into the criminal activities we had reported.

That criminal investigation is thankfully still underway. 

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