Islamic Human Rights Commission: Advocating for the Ayotollahs

By Emma Fox

A group that Jeremy Corbyn claimed “represents all that’s best in Islam” is permeated “at every level” by “extremism, support for overseas terror groups and extreme anti-Semitism” and should be probed by counter-terror police, according to a think tank report.  


A report by the Henry Jackson Society into the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which was released today, found 10 items of conduct “pertaining to terrorism” that “necessitate criminal investigation” into whether it or those connected to it have committed one of two terrorist offences.  The IHRC is the organiser of the infamous annual Al-Quds Day March, due to take place this Sunday.


The conduct highlighted by the report includes allegations that the IHRC has glorified violent resistance, broadcast a video address from a terrorist, invited support for proscribed groups, and that its Chairman has supported terrorism in the Middle East.


The group have attracted praise from prominent religious and political leaders including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn has a long-term history of involvement with the IHRC. Over the period of his involvement, he has offered testimonials, attended book launches, relied upon the group for updates on the Middle East, and praised its “sense of values”.


The report catalogues examples of “extreme anti-Semitism” from the group including demands from its Chairman to “get rid of” Zionists.  The Director of the IHRC, Nazim Ali, faced a private prosecution by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism over anti-Semitic remarks made at last year’s Al-Quds Day rally.  Ali has also claimed that it is within Zionists’ “genes” and their “genetic code” to “occupy” other people, referred to “European alleged Jews”, and warned against the “imposters” of the Board of Deputies.


The group and those connected to it have enjoyed access to the heart of the British establishment, including:


  • IHRC are licensed as “regulated immigration advisers” by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.  The organisation has the top-tier or level 3 status meaning it is licensed to advocate on behalf of applicants for immigration in the UK.
  • The group enjoys ‘Special Consultative Status’ from the United Nations and gained access to funding from the European Commission.
  • The co-author of the proposed ‘Islamophobia’ definition, rejected by the Government, has worked with the IHRC for over eight years.  Over this time he has spoken at IHRC conferences, addressed award ceremonies, publicised books at their bookshop, and partnered with IHRC to produce a taxpayer-funded report into ‘Islamophobia’.
  • Two academics commissioned by the Commission on Countering Extremism to research extremism have connections to the IHRC spanning several years.


As well as advocating a police investigation,  the report calls for a resolution to the two-year Charity Commission investigation into the group.  Last night, the report’s author called for high-profile individuals connected to the group to “immediately disassociate themselves from it”.


Emma Fox, a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and the report’s author, commented:

“The IHRC are remarkable in both the extremity of their views and the level of access they enjoy to those at the highest echelons of British society.  The IHRC’s claims to be a human rights group appear to have lulled some into a false sense of security.   We should be clear that this group is extremist, deeply anti-Semitic and has supported terror overseas.

So extreme are its views and apparent conduct that, in my view, they warrant police investigation.  Those who have previously shown support for the group should immediately disassociate themselves from it and deprive them of the veneer of credibility they so desperately crave.”

Read the report here.


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