There is clearly no limit to British pusillanimity and sheer unadulterated funk when it comes to calling Islamic radicalism by even the most polite and restrained of proper names. The Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamist sect which is funding the proposed mega-mosque on the site of the 2012 Olympics in east London. In my book Londonistan, I described the project and its backers thus:
The cultural significance and symbolism of a project on this scale are unmistakeable. It would make the most powerful statement possible, on the back of the high-visibility Games, about the primacy of Islam in Britain. That is why it is being proposed. ‘It will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape,' said Abdul Khalique, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat which is behind the proposal.
Tablighi Jamaat is often described as a ‘worldwide Islamic missionary group' and is said to be pacific and apolitical. Two years ago, according to The New York Times, a senior FBI anti-terrorism official claimed it was a recruiting ground for al-Qaeda. According to the counter-intelligence expert Alex Alexiev, Tablighi Jamaat is a driving force of Islamic extremism and a major recruiting agency for terrorist causes worldwide.
For a majority of young Muslim extremists, he says, joining Tablighi Jamaat is the first step on the road to extremism. Perhaps 80 percent of the Islamist extremists in France come from Tablighi ranks, prompting French intelligence officers to call Tablighi Jamaat the ‘antechamber of fundamentalism.' U.S. counter-terrorism officials are increasingly adopting the same attitude. ‘We have a significant presence of Tablighi Jamaat in the United States,' the deputy chief of the FBI's international terrorism section said in 2003, ‘and we have found that al-Qaeda used them for recruiting now and in the past.' Is this really what Britain wants to symbolise its culture at the 2012 Olympics?