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Jeremy Corbyn risks refuelling Labour’s antisemitism row after he attended an event run by a Muslim group that has been accused of extremism, while snubbing a dinner celebrating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
The Labour leader attended the event in parliament run by the lobbying organisation Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development), whose senior figures include a campaigner who has supported the killing of British soldiers. Mend activists have also made statements regarded as anti-Jewish.
A dossier on Mend published this week by the Henry Jackson Society think tank accused it of promoting conspiracy theories and argued that it should be treated as an extremist group.
Mend responded by unequivocally denying any allegations of extremism. The group has told the home affairs select committee that it strongly denies antisemitism or supporting conspiracy theories.
An investigation by The Times found that Mend promoted to its board Azad Ali, who lost a High Court libel battle against newspapers that accused him of being “a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified”. Mr Ali has since resigned as a director but remained national community head for Mend.
Read more on The Times