The Labour leader of Tower Hamlets council, Lutfur Rahman, was last week replaced in his job after this newspaper revealed that he had been elected to the post with the help of a fundamentalist Islamic group, the Islamic Forum of Europe.
Mr Rahman was replaced as leader by Helal Abbas, who has condemned the IFE’s influence in Tower Hamlets, east London, and publicly accused the organisation of running the council. All Mr Rahman’s allies in the council’s ruling cabinet have left their jobs and have returned, with Mr Rahman, to the backbenches.
The IFE, based at the East London Mosque, seeks, in its own words, to change the “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam”.
The mosque and IFE have hosted a number of hate and extremist preachers, including Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been linked to a number of terrorist attacks, including the recent attempted Times Square bombing. A leading IFE official, Azad Ali, has justified the killing of British troops in Iraq.