An extremist-linked Islamic lobbying group in the UK has boasted that it has the power to influence the outcome of the general election in up to 30 parliament seats.
Among other things the group is demanding that "insulting Islam" become a criminal offense and that Muslims who fight in Syria will not be prosecuted.
It also demands that the government build links with non-violent Islamists, which it has been limiting.
The group has strong ties with the Hizb-ut Tahrir-linked CAGE group who have become notorious for their supportive statements for the Islamic State’s British executioner Mohammed Emwazi, better known as Jihadi John.
Sufyan Ismail, the leader of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) bragged about the group’s supposed power, saying, “Right now, we are negotiating with the Labour leadership, we are negotiating with the Tory leadership and insh’allah [God willing] will start with the Lib Dem leadership as well, where we have a list of manifesto pledges.”
He says that their demands will be met because:
“The Muslim vote is worth ten ordinary votes because… we are heavily concentrated in a few areas.”
“Anybody who can give any one party 10, 20, 30 seats, like we can, they have to listen to you.”
The UK House of Commons has 650 seats in total, elected on a "first past the post" system. This means that strong concentrations of support in particular areas can wield significant power in terms of seats gained.
MEND has strong links with the extremist clerics Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad and Abu Eesa Niamatullah. Haitham al-Haddad appeared in a MEND video asking Muslims to vote, while Abu Eesa Niamatullah has spoken at MEND events.
Al-Haddad is a sharia judge in the UK. He described democracy as "filthy," said that domestic violence is an internal issue within a marriage and that Osama bin Laden will go to heaven.
Niamatullah has attacked “the inherent weakness of democracy” saying that only “the creator should decide what the laws should be.” He also argues against women’s rights saying “Women should not be in the workplace whatsoever.”
MEND has been made an “official partner” for the upcoming election by the electoral commission.
At the same time as these Islamist organizations are building relations with the government, the investigation into Islamism in British schools has continued.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership, a watchdog agency that regulates teachers, may ban up to 100 teachers involved in the Trojan Horse plot to take over and radicalize British schools from ever teaching again.
When one considers that Nazir Afzal, the UK’s leading Muslim prosecutor, said that young Muslims see the Islamic State as “pop stars” the prospect of combating extremism in Britain looks problematic.