From The Sunday Times
A civil servant who has condemned ministers for helping to fuel the “slaughter” of Arabs in the Middle East is advising Britain’s most senior prosecutor on Islamic extremism.
Azad Ali, a Treasury official who has used his internet blog to praise the spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda, sits on a Whitehall counterterrorism panel that provides advice to Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions (DPP).
Ali was investigated earlier this year over his controversial views on the Iraq war and was forced to deny that he sympathised with the killing of British troops. He got into trouble with his Treasury bosses after using his blog to deny that last November’s Mumbai attacks, which claimed 173 lives, were an act of terrorism.
Ali, an IT worker, has also defended Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical group intent on creating an Islamic caliphate, and has condemned some moderate Muslims as “vultures feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians”.
The appointment of a man with such radical views to help guide government policy on terrorist prosecutions has raised concern among some of Starmer’s senior legal colleagues.
A senior source close to Starmer said he was surprised by Ali’s latest role. “It may have been a little foolish of Keir to be relying for advice on such sensitive matters from someone with these sort of opinions,” said the source. “There seems to be a fad for taking these sorts of people on board.”
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said this weekend that Ali had been an unpaid member of its “community involvement” panel on incitement to racial and religious hatred.
The panel is chaired by Sue Hemming, director of the CPS’s counterterrorism division. Hemming, in turn, provides advice to Starmer.
A spokesman said: “The panel discusses practices and policies in relation to the incitement to racial and religious hatred. It feeds into the CPS’s counterterrorism division and considers issues on a thematic basis. It does not discuss individual cases.”