CAGE lodge formal UN complaint over Cameron’s ‘extremists’ slur

Moazzam Begg © Kieran Doherty KD / ASA
Advocacy group CAGE has lodged a complaint with the UN over “sustained and coordinated attacks” on the group by the government and the Charity Commission, and has called for a full investigation.

The group is also seeking legal advice on whether Prime Minister David Cameron is guilty of defamation after labeling CAGE a non-violent ‘extremist’ organization.

Cameron made the remarks during the unveiling of his new anti-extremism policy, where he noted CAGE’s links with the National Union of Students (NUS).

“I want to say something to the National Union of Students. When you choose to ally yourselves with an organization like CAGE, which called Jihadi John a ‘beautiful young man’ and told people to ‘support the jihad’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, it really does, in my opinion, shame your organization and your noble history of campaigning for justice,” he said.

CAGE deny any links with terrorism and insist claims otherwise are “simply false.

Their complaint to the UN has been lodged with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which protects freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression.
The group says it was “attacked” by the media after Jihadi John was identified as Muhammad Emwazi.

CAGE Director Dr Adnan Siddiqui said the group deserved the right to function in civil society without the threat of being branded a terrorist organization.

CAGE is an active participant in civil society. It cannot function without being able to exercise its right of expression and opinion, especially those opinions that challenge the prevailing War on Terror narratives. These rights are central to the enterprise of open democracy and are a universal norm. Without them, the tenets of civil society fall away,” he said.

The question that needs to be asked is why the prime minister of one of the world’s great powers should choose to castigate a minor NGO if it was not to ensure that it could not exercise its freedom to operate.

“How can he lecture others on the protection of human rights when he denies them so blatantly at home. Not only does this illustrate the low level to which government policy has sunk, but should be a wakeup call to even the detractors of CAGE, that there is something seriously wrong with the debate on extremism when we merit such attention from the highest offices of the UK state,” he added.