Department of Communities appoints Muslim activist as “faith adviser”
A Muslim activist advising the Government on religion is the former president of an Islamic student society, which has been linked to extremists.
Wakkas Khan was praised by John Denham, the Communities Secretary, for his “outstanding track record of achievement” when he was appointed as a faith adviser.
But the Cheshire-based dentist has a history of criticising the Government for its anti-terror policies, defending extremist groups and meeting radical Islamists.
As president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis) from 2004 to 2006, Mr Khan invited Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian activist and supporter of the terrorist group Hamas, to address a national meeting of students.
The group also invited Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric thought to have inspired the 9/11 hijackers, to attend its annual conference in 2003, when Mr Khan was an ordinary member.
Al-Awlaki, is also accused by US officials of inspiring Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
Mr Khan, who said he never met al-Awlaki or Abdulmutallab, was a vocal critic of government anti-terror policies as president of Fosis. He said he rejected and condemned al-Awlaki’s expressed opinions.
He now sits on an unpaid 13-member panel to “encourage a deeper and broader relationship between Government and faith communities”.
The Department for Communities refused to comment on whether officials knew about Mr Khan’s history before appointing him.
Mr Khan said he believed his “track record” “in its true context” showed his commitment to freedom of expression and added “I condemn without reservation those who commit acts of violence and those who preach violence and hate”.