Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Troubling Reality of Mo Ansar (with update)

I have been rather drawn into the world of twitter as of late, focused on one individual from the UK who I feel is an interesting subject to focus on. His name is Mo Ansar, a self proclaimed twitter celebrity. You can follow the big guy on twitter here.  He is a "commentator" on Muslim issues, which is something that can't be argued. However, he lists off a whole variety of other titles on his website and twitter bio, the vast majority of which are unsubstantiated. Evidence for most of his claims, including visiting lecturer, Imam, and theologian just doesn't seem to exist in the slightest. No evidence. None. Zero. Nada. Complete goose egg.

This bio from his website SOUNDS incredibly impressive. "A theologian, public speaker and visiting lecturer on Islam in contemporary Britain, Theology and Islamophobia; Mohammed is a civil rights activist and legal advocate working with a number of organisations in the fields of politics, diversity and education. With a wealth of experience tackling extremism and radicalisation, Mohammed has lead and delivered cutting-edge local and national initiatives." So, where is the proof? Where is the evidence? Civil rights activist? Fine, we'll give him that. Anyone can be a civil rights activist. Legal advocate?  Questionable. Theologian? Zero proof of this. Basically, he's good at writing an impressive sounding paragraph. But, as you will see with links to articles below, there is plenty of gaps in some of the claims he makes.

So, why am I so fascinated by this guy? Because he is such an outrageous personality who HAS come up with all of these grand claims of who he is. He has developed this bizarre persona as a grand expert on all issues related to Islam. He wears this utterly pointless outfit all the time to show just how darn Muslim he is, dammit, and it just doesn't make sense. This long thobe, scarf and little hat look like a combined mess of cultural images tossed together to create some kind of official costume. It's mostly Arab in characteristics, which is odd for a Pakistani man who was born in Britain. It's rather farcical, to be quite honest. It smacks of trying too hard. But, it has been very successful and beneficial for him. I think part of the reason that TV stations love to call on Mo at an almost scary level is the fact that he comes out as a prepackaged Muslim complete with costume, who can speak well with no accent, and who can be called at a seconds notice and he will rush down to the TV station and give them exactly what they want. He is an interesting case study that anyone interested in psychology would be fascinated to look at. The type of person he is brings to mind are the ones focused on in John Ronson's brilliantly humorous and interesting "The Psychopath Test". I'm not saying Mo is a psychopath. Not at all. But, just like Ronson meets with these bizarre and interesting characters, I see Mo as a character that is bizarre and interesting that I wish to focus on. What is the point in focusing on a "normal", well adjusted person when you can track down a bizarre and interesting person. Right? Am I right?

I am right, and a number of others seem to be keen on studying him as well. For all intent and purposes, he appears to be nothing but an arrogant fraud as outlined well in this article at a blog called Harry's Place. Mo and his followers have written it off as just some right wing, "neo con" BS smear tactic, but it does raise some important questions that Mo himself doesn't seem willing to come clean about. Another great article questioning his credentials is this one by Adrian Hilton. Someone else, I'm not sure who, has done an excellent job of compiling information about our friend Mo here at Anarchopedia. Basically, we have people across the spectrum, from the left to the right questioning Mo Ansar. Sadly, Mo doesn't seem to want to give many answers, hence his nickname "No Answer". The only people who don't seem to be asking questions about his claims are the media outlets that keep calling on him to be on their shows. Why are they dropping the ball on this? Why are they continually giving a platform to a person, and putting up CG's under his name telling the public about grand titles (like theologian), who has little proof of what he claims to be. What does this say about these news organizations? Can anyone just walk in off the street, claim to be an expert in something and be tossed on air with a list of claims under their name they have no proof of having? It appears this is the way the media is working when it comes to our dearest Mo. How is this helping anyone? It seems like a giant insult to all viewers who depend on the media for truth.

A good insight into the brain of Mo Ansar can be found here in the report and results on a court case he was involved in where he took a former employer, Lloyd's Bank, to court over what he deemed to be discrimination based on race. He lost. Section 14 of the summary is uncannily accurate in it's assessment of the man and is worth reading. The court notices what so many of his critics have also noticed, including his manipulative ways, his lying and his arrogance.

Based on all of this information presented above, it appears that we have a fraud on our hands. "So what?", you may ask. Fair enough, if that doesn't bug you, then that's up to you. But a man who is regularly paraded on the TV as some kind of an expert on Islam and Muslim issues who has got there, not by merit or by proven knowledge or understanding of almost any subject, but by what appears to be lying deserves to be scrutinized. When you turn on your TV and there is Mo giving his views on everything from segregated seating at University lectures (which he is for) and the banning of Halal meat in the Netherlands (which he is against), you would hope that these views were coming from a position of understanding and knowledge. They aren't. They are coming from just another dude on the street who has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions. They are like assholes. Everyone has one. So, why exactly is his opinion worth more than the average layman? It isn't quite frankly. It isn't in the slightest. And, generally speaking, he doesn't just address the issues, he tends to do it in the most dramatic way possible, using over the top, inflammatory rhetoric that easily riles people up. So, that makes it extra concerning. His twitter time line (his main way of interacting with the public) is filled with overly dramatic tweets like this recent one that I randomly selected:  "The US funded it, the UK supported it. Innocent people, children, massacred in #Egypt for our coup d'etat. The sheer inhumanity of it all." Wow, not only does this show an extreme lack of understanding of the very complex situation in Egypt and the rock and hard place reality of diplomacy between the West and a country that has had a few massive, bipolar swings in leadership changes in a short amount of time, but it further highlights his ever present contempt of "The West", in particular the US and his own country, Britain. He fails to have paid any attention to the fact that many Egyptians called for the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, and bristled at the very notion it was a military coup, saying that it was the continuation of the revolution that led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarek. A good number of Egyptians even showed up in front of CNN headquarters in New York City to protest the fact that CNN dared use the term "coup" to describe the events of the military overthrowing Morsi. That isn't to say most Egyptians are happy with the results, including the recent death sentences of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters. So, he rejects all this and presents his view, as you can see, in the most dramatic, over the top fashion he could muster in less than 140 characters. And this is but one of thousands upon thousands of examples that he is pumping out to 22,000 followers.To me, this is scary.

What is particularly bothersome about Mo is that he is an utter hypocrite who thinks that people cannot see what he is up to. I think he really looks at people as being stupid. I really believe this. I think he sees us all as too stupid to see through him. Well, maybe some are, but it is clear that many aren't and they are becoming more vocal about it, both on twitter and through blog posts and articles. Here is a man who screams Islamophobia on a daily basis who talks about love, peace, unity and tolerance. Then, he pulls crap like being part of a very public lynch mob against Maajid Nawaz over a tweet by Nawaz featuring Jesus and Mo, (one of my all time favourite web comics). You can read all about the infamous incident here. You can also read about it here. And here. Basically, you can find no shortage of information on this very public spat. But, here is what it boils down to. Mo HATES Maajid Nawaz. All of Mo's great talk about love, peace and unity seems to come completely derailed as soon as the subject of Maajid Nawaz comes up. There is no peace and love from Mo when it comes to Maajid and it renders his grand talks about it impotent. It is clear that he holds a grudge against Maajid. The reasons are many. After Mo Ansar did a documentary where he and EDL leader Tommy Robinson hung out and were little buddies, Mo thought he was the one who drew Tommy away from the EDL. So, when Tommy joined Maajid's controversial Quillium foundation (an anti-extremism think tank) Mo felt pretty slighted, as has been publicly evident. And Mo has held a deep grudge over this (and other things) and constantly runs down Maajid. The fact that Mo was one of those that led the drive to have Maajid removed as a Liberal Democrat candidate (supposedly) over the Jesus and Mo tweet shows just how far Mo is willing to go down a deep, dark path. What is particularly odd is that Mo himself said he wasn't offended by the tweet, yet, he wants to publicly lynch Maajid? I just don't get it. But, that's the mystery of Mo. But beyond Nawaz, he has had very public spats with LBC radio personality Iain Dale, who Mo reported to the police over what was an honest, open tweet asking Mo his views on homosexuality in the wake of Mo supporting an imam at a mosque that refused a BBC show on Free Speech because it discussed homosexuality...basically, homophobia. Why Mo wouldn't answer Iain is beyond me. But, somehow it ended with Mo reporting Iain to the police in a ridiculous fashion. Peace, love and unity? Out the window. Furthermore, his seeming hate of historian Tom Holland, who is, without a doubt, a brilliant and passionate historian, is very public. Again...where is the peace, love and unity? Mo constantly takes shots at Tom, and his most recent disgusting attack came in the form of suggesting that Tom Holland should be put on a poster of people who cause a "clash of cultures" which included famed mass murdering ultra nationalist Anders Breviek. What? Wha? Huh?? Wow. That shows a level of contempt and hate that is head scratchingly bold. And, it is the exact kind of thing that if done to Mo would result in Mo possibly calling the police in. Hypocrisy? Yes. Peace, love and unity? Not in the slightest.

Mo's central focus is his religion. He loves his religion, Islam. Can't fault him on that. He has his religion and it gives him something. Good. Great. Wonderful. Is he an expert in his religion? Hell no. Even though he claims to be a theologian and Imam, (again, no evidence of it), people are often scratching their heads as to what version of Islam he is even following, and what understanding of Islam he actually has. He has gone on the record as saying some bizarre things, like Muslims were the first to discover the "New World" and mingled very peacefully with the native population. What? Seriously? Yes, seriously he seems to believe this. He has gone on the record as saying there is no homophobia in Islam. What? Seriously? Well, depends on your interpretation of Islam, but the way it is too often practised we see no shortage of institutionalized homophobia. Basically, he wants to put Islam in the brightest light possible. He will go to seeming no lengths to point out how great Islam is....while at the same time spending no shortage of time completely running down the UK, and especially the US. His contempt of the US is strong. But, it is his contempt of Britian which raises some hackles. Recently, Al Shabab, the infamous Islam terrorist group, issued credible death threats towards Mo. Britain, his home, offered him police protection. So, Islamic extremists, who he rarely talks about and often downplays, threaten his life and the country he regularly condemns offers him....police protection? Wow. Someone has something backwards.

He recently was in a video put together using Parrell William's song "Happy" featuring British Muslims being, you know, happy. They dance, they sang, they had fun. Mo was in the video for a very short time, yet seems to think the thing revolves around him. He has been lambasted by conservative Muslims who point out in the Quran where it specifically says no dancing or singing. Mo, who says that the Quran is perfect, 100 percent the word of god, not changed, ever, not even a single period or comma seems to have missed this part of it. I do however back him on this one, with the idea that the Quran is open to interpretation and Mo's interpretation allows for dancing in a video...especially if it gives him a few precious seconds on screen. I wonder, however, what he would say if Maajid Nawaz was in the video and faced criticism for it?

So, in almost every context, we are dealing with someone who appears to be a fraud. He can't seem to tell a straight story on who he is, his qualifications or back up the vast majority of his outlandish claims. We have a man who cries Islamophobia, who contacts the police over ridiculous reasons, who stoops low when it comes to attacking his critics and who then turns around and talks about tolerance and love. Basically, we have someone that I cannot figure out how anyone can trust, and who should not be paraded around by the media as some grand expert on Islam and Muslim issues. But, the media insist on calling on him. Again, it's because he is the perfect little package. He has the costume, he is articulate, has a perfect British accent, and can be called on at anytime of the day and night to show up for an interview. He LOVES attention. He thrives on it. This is why I believe that he seems to have created this persona. He wants to be a big shot. He wants to be validated. He wants to by someone. What he doesn't want is to have to actually work to be that someone. This is what I have observed in him. That's what many have observed about him.

It bothers me personally that a man like this gets away with it. No one likes a con. No one likes a fraud. No one likes to be manipulated. I feel that he manipulates. He manipulates the media. He manipulates the public.He manipulates the Quran. He manipulates his religion. His lack of true knowledge and understanding pose a problem on a number of fronts. It means that we really aren't getting the truth. We are getting opinions from a guy who doesn't seem to really have much knowledge of most of the subjects he approaches, which does no one any favours. We have a man that constantly tries to silence criticism of his religion (and himself) by smearing everyone who does as being part of the English Defence League, and being a neo-con Islamaphobe. How is this helping anyone, exactly? What kind of peace, love and unity allows for the silencing of critics of Islam (and himself) by calling everyone who does an Islamophobe? Not helpful. Not useful. It's divisive. It's childish. There is no doubt that Mo has attracted the ire of many nationalists, racists and right wingers, and some of them say some scary things to Mo that are steeped in utter and complete ignorance. But, Mo isn't exactly showing a lack of ignorance himself. With Mo we have a man that is using his religion as a way to fame. He wants to be someone. His Mo Ansar character, which is essentially what he is, is offering him this fame. And people are buying into it. On the surface, he comes across quite charming, nice, kind and intelligent. Scratch the surface and we see a lottery ticket that doesn't pay out. And it is doing no one any good to keep holding on to it.

UPDATE: Iain Dale, who I referred to above, has been cleared by the police saying there was no reason for them to pursue the issue. Tell Mama said the same thing. In response, Iain Dale wrote an excellent blog post talking about this experience. You can read it here. It is an intelligent, interesting and insightful bit of writing that gives a good analysis of how Mo operates.

It is worth challenging Mo, much to Mo's chagrin. Mo wants to be in a position of power, a leader, an authority. Part of his persona revolves around the idea of challenging authority as a "civil rights activist" and "community leader". This also puts him into a position where he needs to be challenged as well. He seems wholly against the idea of being challenged, and resorts to attacks and accusations towards those asking questions, claiming they are merely right wing, neo con Islamophobes. If he wants to be in a position of power and authority, he must understand that people have every right to challenge him and ask questions, and given his dubious record, his shady claims of experience and his over the top rhetoric it is doubly important to challenge him. Iain has done just this. His blog is worth a read.


  1. T'was I who compiled the Anarchopedia page

    1. Wow, you did an impressive job. There is a lot of interesting stuff in there.

  2. The enigma of Mo, maybe if we ignore him he'll just go away.

    1. Quite agree. Perhaps a little less attention, positive or negative, will help deflate the ego. Ignoring him will hurt him most.

    2. Misread enigma as enema...

  3. One of many bitchy rants about Mohammed Ansar what is it jealousy racism ?Haven t you anything good or original to say?Just jump on the bandwagon of hate repeating the same old stuff ignoring the good he does.

    1. Please do elaborate on the good that he has done. Also, if you could elaborate on his skills and training, that would be great. Could all of this good stuff that he has done have been done without lying about his credentials? If so, why lie about them? Can you offer any insight into the credentials he claims to have. You seem to be a supporter of Mo's which is fine. I offer you a platform here to defend him and to elaborate.

  4. Mo nailed again. One thing to add.

    ". Mo and his followers have written it off as just some right wing, "neo con" BS smear tactic,"

    Typical Mo. The Harry's Place blog is a left-leaning blog.