Those seeking to raise their personal profiles, after the conviction of 20 men found guilty of vile crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation against young girls in the Huddersfield area was made known, have to no surprise at all included Quilliam co-founder Maajid Nawaz. This he did using the platform given him by broadcaster LBC, and in doing so perpetrated another of those untrue myths that become hard to dispel.
Perhaps Nawaz had been paying a little too much attention to his former protégé Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, who claimed “The BBC refuse to say the majority of grooming gangs are Muslim as if it is not relevant but are very quick to point out that the ring leader of this one is a Sikh. If they bothered to do their research they would have known that he was actually also a Muslim when he committed the attacks and converted to Sikhism 2 years later. Never let facts get in the way of BBC propaganda though”. Lennon, who loves to call “liar” on others, was lying.
No surprise there, then. But as Stephanie Finnegan, who covers Leeds Crown Court for Leeds Live and the Huddersfield Examiner, pointed out, “The word conversion was used in court so it was what I reported. A local source now tells me he’s always been Sikh, his parents are Sikh but he just got baptised a few years ago - before he was arrested or charged in relation to these crimes though”.
Amere Singh Dhaliwal had always been a Sikh. Ms Finnegan confirmed “A local source told me he’s always been Sikh, his parents are Sikh but he just got baptised a few years ago - before he was arrested or charged in relation to these crimes though.” Others have used the term “initiated”, rather than “baptised”, but both explain the “conversion”.
Sadly, this was too late to stop Nawaz, who had gone off on his own tangent: “Media is saying Sikh ringleader converted to Sikhism five years ago (that would be 2013). Sky News is reporting he was a Muslim prior to converting. But when were they charged, and tried? Trial unlikely to have lasted 8 years right?” Do go on.
“Apparently the investigation began 5 years ago. Which is also when he is reported to have converted. So the timing matches. Very strange”. Maajid Nawaz is at least hinting very strongly that Dhaliwal had been a Muslim and converted to Sikhism at the time the Police investigation into the grooming gang began. And one observer was quite sure that Nawaz had gone further on his LBC show.
Harjap Bhangal was not happy about what he had heard: “There is an audio clip of your show on @LBC circulating where you clearly state Dhaliwal was a muslim prior to becoming a Sikh. It has now transpired that this was not the case. Your audio clip is being circulated to add credibilty to this false claim. Please clear this falsehood”.
But Nawaz did not retract. “I relied on the report you’ve screen grabbed below, and Sky News & BBC also reporting that he had ‘converted’. You seem to be insisting this is inaccurate & that he was simply reborn as a Sikh. In such a case I will be happy to stand corrected for relying on that report”. See Ms Finnegan’s clarification.
The Huddersfield ringleader was not a Muslim, and never had been. And it’s no good Maajid Nawaz hiding behind the “someone else did it and ran away” excuse.
In any case, Harjap Bhangal was not satisfied with the explanation: “The reports mentioned he had 'converted' but did mention he had converted from Islam to Sikhism. You assumed this. On your show you clearly stated ‘the man converted to Sikhism from being a Muslim...has a British Pakistani background’. This was just not true.”
It was absolutely not true, and indeed on two counts. So it’s now time for Maajid Nawaz to hold his hands up and say sorry, no ifs, no buts. Also, he and LBC can explain why all those clips from the relevant show have become hard to find.
Then he and his pals might reflect on the increasing scepticism over the claims made in the Quilliam report that his old mucker Stephen Lennon is so keen on quoting. The way in which he approached the case of Amere Singh Dhaliwal will not help him.
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