Simons, Muirhead & Burton partner embarrassed as ‘kufr’ video surfaces on YouTube

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By Thomas Connelly on

Footage from 1997 shows London lawyer speaking at extremist group rally in Trafalgar Square


A partner at top London outfit Simons, Muirhead & Burton has been left red-faced after a video of him speaking at an event held by a well-known extremist group surfaced on YouTube over the weekend.

Makbool Javaid — an employment specialist at the West End firm — is seen addressing an animated crowd at London’s Trafalgar Square, in footage that dates back to 1997.

With cries of “Allahu Akbar” from those gathered, Javaid can be heard using the derogatory term for non-Muslims “kufr” and calling for the re-establishment of an Islamic state.

The YouTube clip entitled “Makbool Javaid at the Rally Against Oppression”, appears to have resurfaced due to Javid’s connection to mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan. The former chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers was married to the Labour Party candidate’s sister Farhat Khan until 2011.

First appearing in Evening Standard on Friday evening, Javaid has since claimed he is the victim of political points scoring.

Speaking to Legal Cheek earlier today, he 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.

According to the description that accompanies the footage, Javaid was speaking at an event held by the Islamic group al-Muhajiroun. Founded in the 1980s, the organisation was banned in 2005 following a number links to terrorist groups.

Having studied law at London School of Economics, Javaid qualified as a solicitor in 1988 at civil liberties and human rights firm Bindmans. He then spent seven years as head of litigation at the Commission for Racial Equality, before landing a position as a partner at City giant DLA Piper in 1998. Having spent eight years at the corporate outfit, he took up his current role as head of employment at Simons, Muirhead & Burton.


Described by directory The Legal 500 as “down-to-earth” and a “good man to have on your side”, Javaid’s successful legal career — post-YouTube extremist rant — may give hope to that of Clifford Chance’s Aysh Chaudhry.

Back in 2015, the magic circle lawyer hit national headlines after a video of him appeared online, in which he called on British Muslims to adopt a more robust stance against western concepts of freedom of speech. Standing by their man, Chaudhry continues to complete his training contract at the elite City firm.