A scout group run from a mosque is being investigated by police after a Telegraph investigation linked it to an Islamic extremist and a man associated with Holocaust denial.
The Scout Association raised the alarm after the Telegraph found the Lewisham Islamic Centre had been segregating groups by gender, despite the Scout’s own commitment to mixed-sex groups.
The investigation also found girls as young as five in the group have been encouraged to record videos advocating wearing the hijab and that contrary to the Scouts own commitment to ‘British Values’, the group’s leader Ahammed Hussain has admitted to encouraging the members to be ‘Muslims first’.
Hussain was on Friday night suspended by the Scouts pending an investigation into the allegations uncovered by the Telegraph and the group was reported to the Metropolitan Police over safeguarding concerns.
Reacting to the Telegraph’s findings, a spokesman for the Scouts said: “The safety of young people in our care is our number one priority and we treat any allegations with the utmost seriousness.”
Revealing the mosque’s scout academy for children aged 10 to 14 had been suspended at the end of last year for failing to follow the correct administration procedures, the spokesman added: “We are opposed to extremism in any form. We have a clear code of conduct and process for dealing with matters like these. We were notified of the most recent concerns on Friday the 18th January.
“We have suspended a volunteer, launched a full investigation and reported these allegations to the Metropolitan Police.”
The move comes after Chief Scout Bear Grylls told the Telegraph the Scouts were trying to attract more Muslim members to steer youngsters away from crime and extremism.
The mosque’s Imam, Shakeel Begg, who lost a libel claim against the BBC in 2016 for describing him as an “Islamic extremist”, has called the police “the devil” and “the enemies of Islam” who are waging a “war against Islam and the Muslims”. The High Court found he has also encouraged British Muslims to travel to the Middle East to engage in Jihad.
Hussain, listed on Lewisham District Scout organisation’s website as the group’s contact, has a long history of links with anti-Semitic organisations and individuals.
Having previously warned that the British Government may be attempting a “genocide” of British Muslims, he has promoted the campaign group CAGE – which once described ISIS executioner Jihadi John as a “beautiful man” – and criticised the Government’s anti-terrorism strategy, Prevent.
Hussain is also events coordinator at the mosque, where he is responsible for organising special events including guest speakers.
Court records reveal that between 2010 and 2014, the mosque invited addresses from Bilal Philips, named by the US Government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombings. However, he was banned from the UK in 2010.
The mosque also extended an invitation to Haitham al-Haddad, who has described homosexuality as a “criminal act”, and said there is a “proper” way of carrying out female genital mutilation.
Facebook posts also show Hussain promoting the Muslim Public Affairs Council UK, which was subjected to a ‘no platforming order’ by the National Union of Students over its promotion of racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The group’s founder, Asghar Bukhari, has donated money to David Irving, the Holocaust denier.
Hussain used to work at The Olive Tree Primary, a private Islamic school in Luton, which was censured by Ofsted for having literature from banned extremists on the property.
Nikita Malik, of the Henry Jackson Society anti-terrorism campaign group, said: “Shakeel Begg is categorically an extremist – there’s a High Court judgment to prove it.
“Lewisham Islamic Centre has been a go-to destination for extremist speakers – including those that the US Government consider co-conspirators in terrorist attacks. Begg’s attacks on the police are shocking and run contrary to British values.
“Ahammed Hussain’s association with extremist groups is equally concerning.”
Lewisham Islamic Centre did not respond to a request for comment.