Last week, on Friday 12th February, the Evening Standard published this story: ‘Exposed: Sadiq Khan’s family links to extremist organisation’.
Sounds like a big story, right?
The first paragraph then qualified that headline:
The links of mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan’s former brother-in-law to one of the UK’s most notorious extremist organisations are revealed today.
Top London lawyer Makbool Javaid was married to the Labour Party candidate’s sister Farhat Khan until 2011.
The Standard reported that Javaid “took part in events” in London with the extremist group al-Muhajiroun in the Nineties, and “appeared alongside” hate preachers.
The story was picked up by the Sun and has been repeated by others including the Daily Mail since.
But the story is even more ludicrous than it already looks.
Just to emphasise, Javaid was the former husband of Khan’s sister. There is no indication whatsoever they shared views.
Today Political Scrapbook can reveal that in October 1998, when Makbool Javaid’s name first surfaced, The Times published a story setting the record straight on his activities.
Below is the article in full (courtesy of Fiona Bawdon). The Editor’s Note at the end states:
We accept Makbool Javaid’s assurances that he does not support and has never had any contact with Osama Bin Laden, and that he has never supported or been involved in any terrorist activity of any kind.
The article points out that Javaid had been at the rallies as a legal observer. He had spoken out only against discrimination against Muslims at the rally. He says:
al-Muhajiroun used my name to gain credibility for themselves.
He goes on to describe Sheikh Omar Bakri, who then ran the extremist group al-Muhajiroun, as “a fantasist”.
The Standard doesn’t bother mentioning any of this in the hatchet job.
However, it does quote Javaid at the end as saying:
Twenty years ago I was naive. I certainly didn’t realise how easily some of my actions could be interpreted as being critical of Britain — the best country in the world.
We suppose ‘Muslim lawyer who once knew Sadiq Khan denounces extremists’ doesn’t make a scary headline.