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Clifford Chance trainee pulls Charlie Hebdo rant from YouTube

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Exclusive: Magic circle firm distances itself from rookie’s online diatribe — not difficult to imagine the reaction of senior partners

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A trainee at magic circle law firm Clifford Chance has pulled a YouTube video in which he called on British Muslims to adopt a more robust stance against western concepts of freedom of speech. An Instagram clip from the video can be viewed below.

In a move directly linked to the fall-out from last week’s terror attacks in Paris, the trainee — whom Legal Cheek has agreed not to name — tells Muslims that Islam is “superior” to Western ideologies, while at the same time berating moderates for allowing their minds to become “colonised”.

The video — posted on YouTube on 11 January where it received more than 700 views — puts one of the world’s biggest global law firms in a highly embarrassing position.

The trainee’s 21-minute online rant — delivered mostly in English, but interspersed with Arabic — has already caused concern among lawyers at the firm. Legal Cheek understands that colleagues have been particularly upset by repeated references to “kuffar”, the plural of the slang Arabic word for non-Muslims.

The word is seen as highly derogatory and inflammatory, with some definitions equating it to infidel. Nevertheless the trainee does not seek to provoke violence in any way or break the law.

The trainee’s LinkedIn page says he gained a first-class honours degree in law from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

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He started a Clifford Chance training contract six months ago. Prior to that, he did vacation scheme stints at several other high-profile law firms in the City of London.

The trainee is part of an organsiation called Call of Dawah. Strictly translated from Arabic, dawah means an invitation; but it is commonly used to refer to preaching or proselytising of Islam.

In the video, the trainee repeatedly refers to viewers as “brothers and sisters” and says he is specifically addressing “the events in Paris that have taken place over the last few days”.

He goes on to lambast moderate British Muslims for being too apologetic for the Paris attacks:

“Brothers and sisters, we would not be here had it not been for the fact that the kuffar had gone to our lands and killed our people and raped and pillaged our resources,” he says, adding:

“This, brothers and sisters, is what we need to understand. We need to move away from this apologetic tone and to have confidence in Islam because we are enslaved otherwise.”

The trainee maintains that moderate Muslims are betraying true Islam by adopting western concepts around freedom of speech. He continues:

“… the ideal of freedom of speech doesn’t exist in reality. But there seems to be an absolute freedom to insult Muslims. However, you can’t walk around Germany denying the holocaust.

“The people being held out as Islamic personalities with an Islamic response are not giving a correct Islamic response. You [Muslims] have to accept their [westerners’] freedom to insult you. That is what freedom of speech means [in the west]. I guess Muslims just have to grow up, is the concept they want to put across.”

The trainee illustrates what he suggests are hypocrisies in western freedom of speech precepts, pointing to what he maintains were UK government moves to quash newspaper publication of photographs of Kate Middleton in a bikini.

He also contrasts his view that moderate Muslims have been too quick to apologise for the Paris terror attacks with a failure of Western politicians to apologise for the US government holding Muslim prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and the UK government’s Prevent Programme.

That initiative is part of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy, specifically designed to provide practical help to prevent people from being drawn into extremism.

This afternoon the video was made private, meaning that members of the public no longer have access, although before this happened we made a short Instagram video clip from it which we have anonymised (see below).

A Clifford Chance spokeswoman told Legal Cheek:

“The views expressed in this video are personal and not those of Clifford Chance. The firm is committed to establishing an inclusive culture where people with diverse backgrounds and views work effectively together and feel confident to develop their potential.

“We ask our people to at all times consider how their personal conduct and actions may affect those around them, their professional reputation and that of the firm.”

A taste of the Clifford Chance trainee’s rant

A video posted by Legal Cheek (@legalcheek) on

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382 Comments

Andrew

Imagine what working with him must have been like.

(153)(46)

Anonymous

I’m sure it’s awesome

(36)(69)

Michael

Imagine studying with him. I did.

(56)(85)

Common Sense

I hope you realise that he hasn’t actually promoted violence in any meaningful sense and you’re jumping on a band wagon.

It’s ironic don’t you think that despite the whole debate surrounding the Paris attack revolving around the preservation of freedom of speech for a magazine that makes high offensive cartoons (as is its right). However, when the trainee in question makes marginally (if at all) offensive comments in respect of the incident, there are calls for his removal from the firm.

He didn’t demonise any particular group, he didn’t call for violence, he didn’t condone the attacks. He merely noted that ordinary muslims have no duty to condemn the attacks as if they had themselves something to do with them.

(75)(131)

Anonymous

THIS GUY IS A JOKE. I FIND IT HARD TO TAKE HIM SERIOUSLY. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN BLOWING HUMAN BEINGS TO PIECES. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN CALLING EACH OTHER NAMES AND PLAYING THE VICTIM. LIKE WORKING IN A CITY LAW FIRM GIVES YOU A FEEL FOR HOW YOUR ‘BROTHERS’ ARE SUFFERING ABROAD. LIKE HE IS A PREACHER OF SOME DUBIOUS STANDING WHEN HE IS A CORPORATE CLONE. WAKE THE F–K UP. MAKE PEACE – EVERY RELIGION SAYS THAT.

(74)(14)

Anonymous

You are a moron

(10)(16)

Anonymous

apologies – common sense is the moron

(20)(6)

Anonymous

Imagine this nutter giving you legal advice or working on one your files!! Would you trust his advice?! Most corporates that CC advise, I think certainly not

(34)(3)

Anonymous

Is this the trainee speaking? Seems like it. WTF is this guy doing in a position of responsibility when he sounds like a radicalised muslim wanting to wage war from the inside?

This guy should be sack and not allowed to practice. He should be monitored by the security services. Remember the doctors in the UK that went to the airport to cause havoc?

This guy is a dangerous prick

(42)(4)

Anonymous

Keep trying, but I suspect that even CC’s “Islamic Finance” division isn’t going to be enough to save your job, or much in the way of a future job for that matter. Not that I’m too broken hearted about that. Live by the sword, die by the sword – seems an appropriate comment on Islamic polemic in current context.

(16)(2)

Anonymous

id love to work with someone that isnt a sheep that feeds off what the media tells him 🙂

(51)(89)

Anonymous

Only a year and a half left, by the sound of things…

(25)(5)

Anonymous

He is a man of principle. Has said nothing wrong apart from telling muslims to not lose confidence in their faith. I’d rather work with someone who stands up for himself than a tool/sheep.

(18)(77)

Anonymous

And you are a man without a conscience or brain

(31)(4)

Mr Wyatt's Sexy PA

What is even more stunning is that the main legal press, Legal Week, The Lawyer and Legal Business have ignored this story. Seems like if you want to read interesting news you have to come Legal Cheek (and then read a copied version of the same news on RoF).

(29)(3)

Anonymous

If I was to hazard a guess the senior management at CC have promised them a very nice christmas card this year (by very nice I mean one with a fat cheque).

(17)(0)

Anonymous

Legal Cheek, oh Dear.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Clifford Chance, as a major law firm, if wish to continue to have the respect of the public and peers you should fire this person immediately.

Clearly he does not have the cool head to work in international law.

If we substituted the Kuffar word for the N word clearly he would not be working for them. Not much difference in my opinion

(30)(2)

Sam

Actually I know him and he is a very respectable and very well mannered individual.

What he speaks about is POLITICAL issues related to the WESTERN GOVT’S decision to economically exploit the lands of the Muslims – He does NOT refer to every single individual in the society and he does not believe “every kaffir did this crime”

He believes that majority of the society are ignorant from the crimes of the government.

(9)(28)

Anonymous

Being well-mannered is no protection against racism. He’s clearly racist, as he condemns “insults” (undefined) against Muslims while calling non-Muslims “Kaffirs”. In other words, we can’t insult his cultural group while he can insult ours. He can only say that if he believes Muskims are better than the rest of us, which is pretty much the definition of racism.

(24)(1)

Christian

I would really like to meet and talk with you Aysh but I suspect my forgiveness for your racist video outburst would strike you as another example of Kuffar weakness and a bankrupt value system, that my choice to reason with you rather than go off and murder dozens of innocent people in a Halal shop by way of revenge and “martyrdom” would simply appear further evidence of western decadence and shallowness of my creed and that my advocacy of your right to espouse your rubbish armchair islamic fundamentalist violent bullshit would appear plain stupid. Actually I think you’d be right on the money with that last one brother. Shut up and make your supervisor another cup of tea there’s a good lad. You’ll be doing lots of that in 18 months time son.

(22)(3)

Anonymous

D***heaf

(0)(1)

M

I have and he is a decent guy. And what exactly is wrong with what he said in the video?

(1)(8)

Anonymous

Not this again, are you unable to read M? Please read the comments on this page. This fool that is your friend is a disgusting racist. If you do not think kuffar is derogatory then you too are deluded. As a non-muslim I find it highly offensive to be labelled with that disgusting term.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Clifford Chance should consider how their conduct affects the reputation of the firm and fire this nutter.

(150)(53)

Anonymous

First class honours in Law from SOAS I would say is good for reputation.

(6)(22)

Anonymous

That is a fairly average academic accomplishment by CC standards.

(24)(0)

Anonymous

Why has Legal Cheek decided not to name this unpleasant individual?

(102)(52)

Anonymous

he said anonymously…

(30)(6)

Anonymous

Thumbs up for anyone who found out his name in >5 minutes

(93)(29)

Anonymous

Hopefully, he’ll feel so oppressed by his City law training contract – surely placing him near the top of the global victim pile – and so revolted by even contractual associations with a kuffar-related institution that he’ll resign of his own volition and bugger off to Syria.

(102)(49)

Paul

Apparently following in the footsteps of Anjem Choudary who became the chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers at one point.

(50)(35)

Bilbo

Their website says that Clifford Chance are “phenomenal in complex cross-border matters” – to be fair they never said that doesn’t include Global Jihad.

(88)(29)

Anonymous

Those maligning him with Anjem Choudhry or any other ‘Jihadi’ intentions, please be aware of the actual quotes he is saying as the article above clear states, “…the trainee does not seek to provoke violence in any way or break the law.”

(49)(47)

Anonymous

It’s cretins like you which sustain these morons

(34)(3)

Incognito

Nice to see that Clifford Chance’s focus on superb academic results have ensured that their trainees are all fully-rounded human beings, and not ranting nutters only one short step away from an anti-terrorist watch list. Presumably this chap isn’t going to be allowed anywhere near anything sensitive, or classified, including anything relating to security or government? In fact, what clients *would* want him working with/for them?

If the Clifford Chance guy describing ‘f–king people for money’* in 2013 was sacked, then the firm have a choice – either they do likewise in this case, or they de facto announce to the world that they consider that this sort of behaviour is acceptable.

(I suspect, however, that Clifford Chance HR are busily consulting employment lawyers to work out whether they can sack this oxygen thief without transgressing the Equality Act 2010)

* See:
https://www.legalcheek.com/2013/09/video-clifford-chance-trainee-in-fcking-people-over-for-money-youtube-boast/
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/clifford-chance-trainee-lawyer-faces-sack-after-describing-his-work-as-fing-people-over-for-money-8814754.html

(97)(25)

Not Amused

I think CC should sack him. It saddens me that that is what I think. But ultimately I don’t see how there is space for this in a law firm. In an undergraduate perhaps, but he is supposed to be a grown up now.

It’s not that he’s wrong on his interpretation of Islam (although he certainly is). It’s not that he is even necessarily dangerous, or that he is not as entitled as everyone else to free speech. It is that he should know the difference between being an employee with opinions and being a completely free individual.

CC needs to do this and do this quickly.

(89)(33)

Anonymous

He hates the West & its systems (implicitly denouncing the “kuffars”) yet he derives a wage from his kuffar employers? Wait a minute, was he attacking the West for hypocrisy??

(118)(27)

Anonymous

What a simple view you have about things. Surely I can disagree with someone and still work with them. In your view if I disagree with someone or something it means I should have no trade with that person whatsoever. Now that is some backward thinking.

(20)(47)

Anonymous

Gosh, you sound like a really forward thinking individual

(13)(3)

Anonymous

No Imran.

(13)(2)

Chris

I think the greater concern here is whether this individual has a personal motivation for attaching himself to a firm such as CC. Clearly the firm has a whole host of high profile clients and I am not sure that having seen this snippet and read the article, I would feel comfortable exposing my client base to him. For an individual who proclaims to be intelligent, what a silly thing to do. I have no problem with expressing views but do so in a way that doesn’t draw in the reputation of others including those who train you.

(61)(17)

Common Sense

From the transcripts of the video provided he hasn’t actually said anything worth losing his job over. Indeed, why should everyday muslims have to apologise for the actions of the Charlie Hebdo attackers?

Also, the term ‘Kuffar’ simply means non-believer’. It isn’t some kind of derogatory term.

It is an obvious reality that freedom of speech has limits and people are accepting of those limits until Islam is concerned. Unless he in some way condoned the attack, I don’t see the problem.

(72)(71)

Anonymous

Err there is a intense debate in Arabic circles as to whether the word ‘kuffar’ (or kaffir, however you want to say it) is offensive.

To say ‘it isn’t some kind of derogatory term’ is misleading – it is seem by some to be as racist as the worst racial epithets.

(67)(22)

Anonymous

what kind of arabic do you speak?

(12)(29)

Anonymous

This is a cheap response. In the video he also lambasts everyday muslims for condemning the killings. Sure, they should not apologise for it; but why should they not be able to condemn murderous acts?

(55)(12)

Anonymous

“Common” is a good choice but “Sheep brain” would be better

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Actually it is intensely racist. It is the term of choice amongst South African racists for black people.

Further it is also intensely derogatory towards non-believers.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

“Kuffar” means “non-believer” the way “nigger” means “black person”.

(16)(1)

Anonymous

This is brilliant. He highlights exceptionally well the bullshit biases of western values. And the fact that he is able to graduate with a first class honours and be grounded in Islamic principles, should be a slap in the face of all these Bigoted Islamophobes. Well done, mate.

(50)(81)

Anonymous

But is he not a hypocrite for working at a capitalist firm? Is capitalism not essentially a Western system? He denouces the “Kuffar” yet he is happy to make a living from them?

(65)(18)

Emma

What an idiot. CC, sack him already. I agree with the above and would question how they could legitimately sack the other trainee and not this one.

I always think twice before posting online, giving due thought to my current employer, future employer and their respective client base. This guy doesn’t deserve this TC.

(67)(33)

Anonymous

Not only does this guy not deserve his training contract. He should be sacked immediately.

His tone, his words and his manner are all incendiary. This guy is a trigger waiting to be pulled and it only takes a few whispers in the ear from a cleric priest for that to happen and Boom!

What you waiting for CC? Do the right thing and sack and sack him quick.

(20)(0)

Not Amused

To suggest those calling for him to be sacked, which I realise includes me, are hypocritical with free speech where Islam is concerned, or to call us islamaphobes is a cheap and incredibly nasty thing to do.

(52)(25)

Anonymous

“the trainee does not seek to provoke violence in any way or break the law.”

Exceptionally well put. the trainee is simply outlining his views. he is able to have an opinion on issues, and being a trainee at such a firm should not hinder his ability to form his own perspective on certain issues. his fallacies outlines the fallacies of this freedom of speech rhetoric that allows insulting others and their beliefs. he is coin exposing the hyprocisy behind through which society deems one form of expression as legitimate whilst regarding another as unacceptable.

(36)(39)

Dawn

From the article, it doesn’t seem like he has said anything violent? From what I understand, a kafir is a non-believer of Islam. As for his views on the Charlie Hebdo issue, I don’t see what’s so controversial. Do a quick internet search or scroll through Twitter and you will see people (both Muslims and non-Muslims) who share the same opinion: that Muslims shouldn’t feel pressured to feel guilty over the attacks as well as the double standards of freedom of speech.

I didn’t know trainee solicitors were not allowed to have an opinion.

(42)(39)

Anonymous

Let’s hope, Dawn, that one day the light will dawn on you

(20)(4)

Anonymous

*rolls over laughing*
Let’s hope the light dawns over Dawn sooner rather than later

(12)(1)

Anonymous

I don’t think anything that was said was inciting to hatred or violence, as the article states he doesn’t break any law. What is the issue? He holds a view that challenges pre-conceived ideas and doesn’t condone the attacks. Why should he lose his job over this? Ridiculous.

(32)(38)

Anonymous

/What an idiot. CC, sack him already. I agree with the above and would question how they could legitimately sack the other trainee and not this one.

I always think twice before posting online, giving due thought to my current employer, future employer and their respective client base. This guy doesn’t deserve this TC.’

Intolerance at its finest. The guy sacked for ‘‘f–king people for money’ comment, was sacked because what he said was against secular liberal values. and this secular state is everything it claims not to be. Intolerant, bigoted, and most certainly not neutral.

CC should sack him? on WHAT basis? That he very eloquently told muslims to stop being enslaved by a colonial mindset? to recognise that they need to engage and discuss and NOT resort to violence? WOW guys. SO IMPRESSIVE. you guys are future world leaders you. the likes of bashar, bush, and blair. th lot of you. Total and utter intolerance to any intelligent Muslim expressing perfectly legitimate views which coincide with this false notion of freedom of speech. whats worse, as a non muslim, i find myself completely siding with non violent muslims, who express their concerns and address their communities.

emanuel kant, freedom of speech is a means towards an ends. this is not what you’re doing.

(21)(49)

Anonymous

I wouldn’t cite philosophers whose names you can’t spell.

(20)(0)

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