Concern over Westminster student union elections
In the final few days of March this year, the University of Westminster Student Union (UWSU) went to the ballot box to elect their new sabbatical officers and NUS delegates. Since the election, Student Rights has had an influx of e-mails citing concerns over the results. The following information should not be regarded as the opinion of Student Rights but a presentation of facts that have emerged after various investigations, the results of which Student Rights find concerning. The focus of the concerns has been the newly elected Student Union President, Tarik Mahri. Described by himself as having had 'ups and downs academically and spiritually', Mahri stood on the platform of:
- Creating a 'politically aware atmosphere at university' - Offering segregated sports activities to encourage woman adhering to their religious beliefs - Building good relations among the diverse community of students at Westminster Mahri's Facebook and Twitter feed are littered with indications of just what kind of politics he might wish to make people aware of, with links to 'Caliphate Online', the official 'Hizb-ut-Tahrir' twitter feed various references to installing Shariah law and the 'khilafa'. He speaks on Twitter to Hamza Tzortzis, a confessed member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir - and 'retweets' hims frequently.
Tarik Mahri, otherwise known as Ibn Said Al Jaziri, is accused of being an Islamist sympathiser, holding views which run contrary to the values of British society. In fact it becomes evident that he is sympathetic to the Islamist organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a group which wishes to establish a global caliphate (Islamic state), an idea which is also the central tenet of the ideology of Al-Qaeda.
Mahri’s views are most evident on his page on the social networking site, Twitter. Mahri appears to be an individual who questions the equality of women within society. His opinions are evident as a result of an article he has posted on Twitter which argues that women do not need to worry about being equal to men as “they have been given value in relation to God”.
The article also argues that Western feminism has “erased God from the scene” and therefore the only standard that women have to compare themselves to is men. This clearly for Tarik Mahri is a bad thing. When reading this article; which is implying that women are emancipated because they do not carry out or have the same privileges as men; it is clear that it is a thinly veiled attempt to oppress Muslim women.
The article goes on to state that “women’s crusade” to follow men has in fact stopped them examining “the possibility that what we have is better for us”. It is clear that Mahri supports a two tier society when women are not afforded the same privileges as men are.
He has also stated that women should watch how they dress “as it can influence someone’s first impression of you and can also say a lot about how you carry yourself, Hijab”. Mahri also proposed in his campaign manifesto the establishment of “segregated sports activities”. Worryingly, he is now in a position of power in which such viewpoints will flavour the policy direction at the University of Westminster Union.
A Global Caliphate
The most common viewpoint espoused by Tarik Mahri is his support for the idea of a Global Caliphate. His Facebook page contains images which compromise the sentences “Sharia for Egypt”, “Khalifah for Egypt” and “Khalifah for Tunisia”. He has also written lyrics for a song which he has named “Khalifah is Coming Back”. Furthermore, he has voiced his disdain for the proposals in the “Contest 2” strategy in which individuals would allegedly be labelled as extremists if they “believe in a Caliphate/ Khalifah” and “if you believe that Shariah Law should be implemented in the Muslim world”.
Mahri has in fact openly admitted to listening to a Hizb-ut-Tahrir YouTube video stating on the 20 March that he had “heard it a while back”. Mahri has also posted a link to a website called Caliphate Online; a website which supports the spread of the Islamic Caliphate in a similar style to Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
The claim that Mahri is a supporter of Islamism is substantiated further by a message Tarik Mahri wrote to Hamza Tzortzis, a self-confessed ex-Hizb-ut-Tahrir member and someone who still holds many Islamist standpoints. Mahri congratulates Tzortzis following a lecture he has given at McMaster University stating that “a girl from McMaster University embraced Islam today; she was really influenced by your lecture”.
Interestingly a follower of Mahri’s on twitter posted a note of congratulations on Mahri’s page which jokingly stated “does this mean that you can implement Muslamic law in London?" A reference to an English Defence League video which has been massively parodied (and rightly so) across the internet.
Worryingly, implementing Islamist inspired policies is not far from the realms of possibility; we need look no further than his proposal for “segregated sports activities” and see that further proposals of stronger legislation are entirely possible. One must think that if his true views were showcased during his election campaign he may not have received the mandate of the student body at Westminster.