Manager at advocacy group MEND shares social media posts uncritical of Taliban
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Manager at advocacy group MEND shares social media posts uncritical of Taliban

Exclusive: One post shared by the Muslim Engagement and Development group's Nayeem Haque praised the "impressive performance" of Taliban officials.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A report written by 36 United Nations human rights experts this week suggested Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalising large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.
A report written by 36 United Nations human rights experts this week suggested Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalising large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

A manager working for the Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) organisation has posted and shared a series of social media messages that are all uncritical of the Taliban.

Nayeem Haque, who has been employed as MEND’s London regional manager since July last year according to his own LinkedIn page, shared posts including one praising the “impressive performance” of Taliban officials while working for the advocacy organisation.

The August 2021 post, written by Azzam Tamimi, a TV presenter and political activist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and then shared by Haque, stated: “The performance of Taliban spokesperson is impressive.
There is a great deal other Islamic movements can learn from such a calm, dignified, humble, confident, unambiguous, concise and straight-forward discourse.”

A communal source alerted Jewish News to a series of posts on Haque’s Twitter feed related to the Taliban and accused him of “normalising” the regime.

When it was put to MEND that Haque’s posts might be considered supportive of the Taliban, it told Jewish News: “Our colleague merely retweeted the opinions of various commentators, including a former US marine soldier who served in the war, to his followers during a period when the subject was a trending topic on social media.

“In no way was this an endorsement of the contents of the retweets by our colleague, and any attempts to frame it as such is highly disingenuous and inaccurate. None of the tweets/retweets can in anyway be considered an endorsement of the Taliban.”

Nayeem Haque did not respond himself to a Jewish News request for comment.

In a post written by Haque last October, the MEND employee commented on video on social media which suggested a Taliban official had no idea where Afghanistan was situated on a world globe map.

Haque responded to the video by tweeting on 19 October: “You may have the maps, but he’s got the land.”

In another post that month, Haque shared a lengthy Twitter thread entitled: “10 Lessons I Learned From The Taliban“. The thread was allegedly written by someone who claimed to be a former US marine who had interrogated Taliban fighters in the past, although there is no way of verifying these claims.

Posted under the name ‘Discipline Is King’, the author claimed: “Taliban were raised to be warriors from childhood and most Taliban had a lineage of fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers who were also part of the warrior class.”

It added: “As crazy as this sounds to us Westerners, these men were driven by the ‘divine’. That was their purpose. They were willing to go toe to toe with the baddest military in the world because they believed they were ordained through God to protect their land.”

It also claimed: “When the spirit is aligned with a higher purpose, there is no stopping the men who are on that mission. The greatest armies can fall to tribesmen whose beliefs are so pure in their purpose and calling. Compare this to the US’ purpose and you can understand the outcome.”

A report written by 36 United Nations human rights experts only this week suggested Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalising large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

In audio emerging from last weekend’s Texas synagogue hostage incident British terrorist Malik Faisal Akram, who was shot dead after holding a rabbi and three other congregants’ captive, expressed regret the Taliban were unable to travel to America to take revenge on the former occupying forces.

Haque also shared another tweeted thread last August which suggested condemnation of the Taliban as “anti-woman, anti-education, anti-freedom and barbaric” was rooted in “a counter-terrorism framework that is inherently anti-Islam and anti-Muslim.”

A communal source told Jewish News:”It is is incredibly concerning to see a MEND employee sharing content like this about the Taliban. Normalising the Taliban is bad for minorities here and abroad. They are an undemocratic regime that threatens religious minorities, women and LGBT Afghans. They are undoubtably antisemitic.”

MEND was set up as an NGO that aims to encourage British Muslim communities to be more involved in British media and politics. The advocacy group also ardently opposes the government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent strategy.

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