Does The Sun’s links to ‘kufr’ lawyer’s firm make it ‘extremist’?
Being tainted by association has its limits
A partner at West End firm Simons Muirhead & Burton was the victim of political point scoring this week, after footage emerged on YouTube of him speaking at an event many years ago held by the now banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun.
The video (embedded below) shows employment lawyer Makbool Javaid addressing an animated crowd at the foot of Nelson’s Column in London, back in 1997.
Over chants of “Allahu Akbar”, a young Javaid can be heard using the derogatory term for non-Muslims, “kufr”, and calling for the re-establishment of an Islamic state.
The Sun newspaper quickly leapt on the story, focusing on Javaid’s connection to London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan. The former Bindmans trainee and DLA Piper solicitor was married to the Labour Party candidate’s sister, Farhat Khan, until 2011.
Describing the footage as “shocking”, the newspaper seemed to suggest that Khan was somehow tainted by association, despite having confirmed to the tabloid that he had not spoken to Javaid — who has gone on to become a very respectable lawyer — in “more than a decade”
However — as current affairs magazine Private Eye points out today — The Sun seems to have overlooked the fact that they are clients of, yes you guessed it, Javaid’s firm.
According to Simons Muirhead & Burton’s website, the Soho outfit successfully defended the newspaper against a claim brought by Andrew Mitchell MP in 2012.
Speaking to Legal Cheek earlier this week, Javaid said:
It seems like I have been caught up in the Mayoral election battle which I have no interest in simply because of a family connection. A speech I gave almost two decades ago in a very different context, which I am on record about to the Evening Standard, is being used to attack one of the candidates in the May 2016 election. I have a long record of being pro-diversity and against discrimination throughout my professional life.
Simons Muirhead & Burton partner embarrassed as ‘kufr’ video surfaces on YouTube [Legal Cheek]