The curious case of Mo Ansar

How did a former bank employee from Hampshire become the voice of British Islam?

17 May 2014

9:00 AM

17 May 2014

9:00 AM

If a curious stranger asked you to name a British Muslim commentator, I guess you would name Mo Ansar. So omnipresent has he become, he seems at times to be Britain’s only Muslim commentator.

‘Mo Ansar: Open for business,’ read his first tweet on 8 August 2011, and business has been rolling in ever since. Ansar understands better than most that if you want to exploit the media you must always be available to harassed researchers on rolling news programmes. ‘He invented himself as a rent-a-quote commentator,’ says the LBC broadcaster Iain Dale. ‘We know he’ll always say “yes”. And when you’re setting up a topic, that’s worth its weight in gold.’ A producer recalled marvelling as Ansar bombarded him with ideas for films. ‘This man wants to be on television more than anything else in the world,’ he thought.

Until recently programme makers were happy to oblige. Broadcasters made him the voice of British Islam, even though no electorate had voted for him, and no organisation had appointed him its spokesperson. Ansar was not an Islamic scholar. He had not published a book or led a movement. He was a planning manager at Lloyds-TSB in Winchester until 2006, and has had no visible means of support except appearance fees and state benefits for years.

He looked the part, I’ll give him that. He dressed in a prayer hat and flowing robes, but spoke with a slight London accent: a mixture of the exotic and the familiar broadcasters appreciated. More tellingly, he was among the first to understand that Twitter could turn you into a minor celebrity. Ansar has issued tens of thousands of Tweets: picking fights, issuing proclamations, and seeking endorsements. Alongside the official Mo Ansar account, there is a Twitter alias – a ‘sockpuppet’ account in the jargon – called @The_TruthTeller, which denigrates Ansar’s enemies. It was originally called @MoAnsar2, and is written either by Ansar, who was unavailable for comment, or by a besotted fan determined to fight his every battle.

If those battles were just with racists, then Ansar would not now be wondering if he is yesterday’s man, Although Ansar does not need bodyguards, he will know from experience that the popular right-wing view that anti-Muslim prejudice barely exists is a fairy story. Ansar came to prominence in 2011 when the English Defence League was at its height. He has enemies any man should be proud to call his own. But they are not his only enemies.

The greatest cause of confusion in liberal Europe is the existence of two far-rights: the nativist white far-right, which hates and targets Muslims because they are Muslim; and the religious far right, which hates and targets critics of fundamentalism, including critics who are liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims. Ansar deplores the former. His attitude towards the latter is equivocal to put it politely.

I first saw the immoderate side of the media’s ‘moderate Muslim’ after Tom Holland published In the Shadow of Sword, a history of early Islam, which dismissed its its founding myths. ‘It takes some guts to do that,’ I thought. True to form, Ansar toured the TV studios denouncing Holland as a fraud. Holland challenged the ‘expert’ to name the first Muslim philosopher to condemn slavery. Ansar did not know but came up with a Boko-Haramish defence of slavery in Muslim states: ‘If slaves are treated justly, with full rights, and no oppression whatsoever… why would anyone object, Tom?’

Like so many on the white far Right, Ansar has Jews on the brain. To him, David Miliband is the ‘Zionist Jew Miliband,’ while he will pass on his crackpot theory that Jesus was not a Jew to anyone who will listen. To look only at Ansar’s ideology is to look the wrong way, however. Media exposure gives some a huge adrenalin rush. The broadcasters’ attention makes you feel important. It turns you into a minor celebrity, a man of consequence. And yet at the back of your mind you must realise that opinion formers are like newsreaders, supporting actors or any other semi-skilled worker. Thousands could do their jobs just as well. Without valuable skills or a mass following, the haunting question ‘Why me?’ has no compelling answer.

If producers dropped Mo Ansar, he would have nothing to fall back on. He would become what those who have felt the thrill of fame fear most: just another face in the street. Some minor celebrities respond to insecurity by being brittle and melancholic off camera. Others go on the attack. No one has experienced Ansar ‘s fury like the men who have threatened his career as an ‘opinion former’.

The case that turns Ansar from a chancer into something more sinister is the case Maajid Nawaz. The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate and director of the moderate Muslim think-tank, Quilliam, made Ansar look like a fool in the BBC documentary When Tommy Met Mo. Ansar was to show Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League that his prejudices about Islam were wrong. A wiser and better Robinson would then renounce extremist politics.

Nawaz challenged Ansar’s claim to be a moderate. Did he agree that thieves should have their hands chopped off? ‘No’, Ansar replied. Nawaz understands Islamism better than most interviewers, and did not stop there. Should an Islamic state cut off the hands of thieves or stone adulterers? ‘I’ll tell you my answer “no”. What’s yours?’ The cornered Ansar could only waffle.

Robinson realised that Nawaz was the authentic moderate. He left the EDL, but he left at the behest of Quilliam, and announced his conversion at a Quilliam press conference. Nawaz reduced Ansar to the role of bit player at what was meant to be HIS triumph.

Earlier this year he had his revenge after an argument about the cartoon strip Jesus and Mo. It is a sign of how neurotic our society has become that the supposedly controversial cartoon featured Jesus saying ‘Hey’ and Muhammad saying ‘How ya doing?’. The tameness of the image – its meek and anodyne mildness – did not stop religious reactionaries going for Nawaz when he tweeted the cartoon, and said it did not offend him. A fellow Liberal Democrat called Mohammed Shafiq accused him of ‘denigration of the prophet,’ a charge which can lead to assassination by freelance fanatics anywhere or death at the hands of the state in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries. Ansar joined the campaign against Nawaz with full-throated enthusiasm. Nicky Campbell, who had had Ansar on his Radio 5 show scores of times, warned, ‘take care you don’t come over as whipping this up my friend’. Ansar took no notice.

Nawaz received death threats, and had to call in the police. For Ansar to go along with a campaign, which was at best indifferent to his safety and the safety of his family in Pakistan, was unforgiveable. ‘Can I go to Pakistan now?’ he asks when I speak to him. ‘Will a mob or the government try to kill me? Will someone try to kill me here?’ Needless to add, his contempt for Ansar is absolute.

Others are not far behind. Nicky Campbell dropped him from his show. Abusive tweets and texts followed. Iain Dale dropped him from LBC for the less high-minded reason that Ansar had missed scheduled interviews. They had a Twitter row, which ended with Dale calling Ansar ‘a gobby prick’ and Ansar accusing Dale of subjecting him ‘to anti-Muslim prejudice’. He implied that only this prejudice could explain why Dale had barred him from his show. The next thing Dale knew Ansar had reported him to Hampshire Police and Tell Mama, which monitors crimes against Muslim. He produced no evidence that substantiated the charge that Dale was a racist or Islamaphobe, and both dismissed the complaint.

His vindictiveness and self-regard will be his undoing. Broadcasters are a tolerant bunch. But they take exception to guests who try to set the cops on them. BBC Radio 5 will not have him on. Meanwhile everyone in commercial radio knows Iain Dale’s story. Maybe the Russian and Iranian propaganda channels will return his calls. Apart from that, it’s over.

We should not forget Mo Ansar, however. For all the talk of ‘diversity,’ we live in an era of uniformity. Instead of recognising the vast range of views within British Islam, officialdom created a monolithic bloc ‘the Muslims’. It then decided that self-appointed and invariably reactionary voices should be ‘the Muslims’ sole representatives.

Maajid Nawaz calls official British attitudes ‘neo-colonial’. To understand why white readers should ask how they would feel if the broadcasters pushed forward a white Mo Ansar, and said without a shred of evidence that he was the authentic voice of white Britain. Admit it, you would feel patronised and disgusted.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • This is an important piece, which I hope the BBC and Sky and other media who routinely promote Ansar will take very seriously indeed. I found myself in a Twitter discussion with the self-professed theologian and educationalist a few weeks ago, and he challenged me on my qualifications (which are many, in both disciplines). He repeatedly refused to disclose his own. It soon became apparent to me that he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, and any challenge – no matter how reasoned or polite – was met with reflexive allegations of ‘islamophobia’ and assertions of victimhood. Despite his frequent boasts, he is not an imam, educationalist, sharia jurist, theologian or legal advocate of any sort. He might have attended a course in diversity training, but who hasn’t? He is a fraud, perpetuated ad nauseam by a diversity-compliant media. I wrote about my unpleasant encounter with him, which was witnessed by both Tom Holland and Nicky Campbell (if I may) -> http://www.adrianhilton.com/index.php/education-qualification-publication-no-answer-from-mo-ansar/

    • sarah_13

      It’s patently clear to anyone who listens to him that he has no qualifications and is not particularly intelligent. Nawaz frequently runs rings around him. Attention, in my opinion, is what he seeks. He arrogantly believes that he is entitled to some sort of “status” just for being him having done nothing to deserve it.

      The more worrying thing to emerge from the lib dem – Nawaz situation was the lib dems qualified support for free speech, that they believed in Nawaz’s right to “retweet” etc but that he should do so taking account of “sensitivities”?!! How is he supposed to do this as a parliamentary candidate? He either has the right to tweet a cartoon or he does not, the fact that reactionary people will make death threats against him is not Nawaz’s fault, no more than it is my fault if my beautiful car is stolen by someone who says that they don’t have one and that “my flaunting my car” is the reason they steal?

      • Jimmy Greenwood

        As a Muslim I take Nawaz and the Quilliam project for what they do in regards to researched articles, and helping not only individuals but Gov authorities to understand the complexities of the mindset of motives behind political and religious excesses. That is the yardstick rule I measure them with. I must say well impressed. It is only the uneducated and the extreme thinkers within Islam that refuse to acknowledge the truth behind Quilliam. As so many claim it is West Backed and financed by this and that………….. so bloody what! If that is the case (I doubt it) then as long as it perpetuates understanding and peace in the long run then I will keep reading the reports and keep thinking kindly of Maajid Nawaz. As for Mo……………………forgotten already!

        • sarah_13

          I agree. I’m not sure why it should be a problem for anyone to be “west backed”, although the fact that it might be for some seems to betray a much bigger problem. Every individual should be able to think and speak for themselves and not be scared into submission by the threat of death. I agree about Mr Nawaz he is clearly an educated thoughtful individual and he is doing us all a great service identifying charlatans who claim to represent Islam, or any other religion for that matter.

        • sarah_13

          I agree. I’m not sure why it should be a problem for anyone to be “west backed”, although the fact that it might be for some seems to betray a much bigger problem. Every individual should be able to think and speak for themselves and not be scared into submission by the threat of death. I agree about Mr Nawaz he is clearly an educated thoughtful individual and he is doing us all a great service identifying charlatans who claim to represent Islam, or any other religion for that matter.

        • sarahsmith232

          I’m afraid I think you’re wrong about Nawaz. I reckon the reason why his reasoning is flawed has passéd you by is ’cause you’re a Muslim. He’s still defining himself against the British state, still seeking out ways to understand himself that start off with the – victim of Islamophobic ignorance and hostility – starting point. Still using this as his ‘me the superior, the more enlightened, an enabler of enlightenment when using my powerful position in society to shine a light on the Brit’ masses ignorance’ basis to understand himself. It’s a form of a mental condition when it’s taken to these extremes, it stems from the potency behind ‘the solidarity of suffering’ in identity formation. His teen self didn’t get that, his 30something self is still not getting it.
          There’s something that doesn’t seem to be getting noticed. It is corrosively widespread and unbelievably it’s all going over, certainly the ‘opinion formers’ heads. We’ve all just had a really big dose of it via this whole Nigeria situation. Nobody is joining the dots though.
          The general ‘opinion formers’ consensus on the causes behind Islamic grievances becoming violent, creating hostile, separatist communities, creating terrorists etc, is that they justifiably see this state and it’s populace as hostile towards they as Muslims. This is claptrap. It ignores the causes behind the Muslim identity becoming so essential to them in the first place. As an Arab will point out – there’s no such thing as the Global Ummah, this only exists in the minds of confused European first borns that are desperately seeking an ego pleasing, separatist identity. The cause is that human beings are programmed to understand themselves as a superior creature, they will seek out ways to reinforce this using a million different routes. In an affluent, status driven capitalist one those from the ‘lower’ status, meaning not affluent, low status job titled, communities, will inevitably go down the unifying victim route. Marxism became potent in w.class communities for the exact same set of reasons that Islamism has taken hold here.
          I’m wandering but here’s the e.g of the potency behind the ‘victim of the powerful and ignorant’ identity. Good luck trying to find a non-white member of this society that hasn’t leapt at taking the view that the reason why we did nothing about Nigeria is ’cause we and the State are powerful but ignorant and racist. Try and find a non-white that doesn’t believe racism is the reason why The Guardian and the BBC ignored the story. (The idea that The Guard’ was too racist, or that their readers are too racist to be interested is beyond ridiculous, Chukka Ummana on Question Time showed that he believed it).
          Problem – any and every e.g of an international outrage is used by a non-white to understand themselves as a victim of the powerful and the ignorant. Syria is a really v.big one. They’re all doing this, ‘you should intervene, the reason why you didn’t is cause you don’t care about muslims/hate muslims’. Nawaz is still justifying his teen self because of it, still saying that he became a Brit’ hating terrorist ’cause we didn’t intervene in Bosnia, he believes it legitimises his teen self. Nigerian Christians are currently v.much getting up to the exact same deal. Want to witness this when at it’s most frothingly irrational but honestly believed to be so noble? Watch ‘The History of the Jews’. Simon Schama,justifying his Zionism. It runs – ‘a militarily dominant Empire created pogroms, you, the Brit’ non-Jew didn’t intervene, the British state took the view that self-annihilation prob’ wasn’t really such a good route to take to address this international issue, this is because you were powerful but ignorant, we were victims of this so our future actions in Palestine were perfectly justified’.
          The fact that if we intervened in every and any international outrage would mean that we’d have spent the last 150yrs involved in about 10 conflicts at once or that, yeah, er. . . . if we did do the word that describes this is colonialism, generally not something that’s considered a good thing, all goes right, directly over their, and EVEN a historians, heads.
          Nawaz is till not getting this, he’s still doing the ‘I am Muslim victim of an ignorant non-Muslim state, I have the proof, they had no interest in intervening in Bosnia’, he’s still defining himself against the state, something his think-tank regards as a problem and exists to counter.

      • sarahsmith232

        I should imagine it would be v.obvious to everyone bar himself that that male, god bless him, I know i’m not exactly up there with the best of them, but bless, he really is a dodo. Seen him pronounce on immigration, I would say to the supposed to be educated members of the Metro dwelling ‘elite’ – shouldn’t it worry you slightly that you and this male, that wouldn’t be capable of uttering an independently observed and intelligently thought through opinion if the dodo’s life depended on it, are speaking with one voice about immigration and the reasons for hostility towards it? Cohen, love his writing but I reckon he’s prob’ one of them, I would say that surely he should question himself if he and this prat’s thoughts on the EDL and immigration are identical and of a breed. And they are.

  • Liz

    He is really under-informed about the issues and his own religion.

    He didn’t know for example that “that your right hand possesses” refers to the taking of female sexual slaves from amongst the defeated women, as per Boku Haram.

    He didn’t know that Muslim men were vastly over-represented in the street grooming cases, not only in the Uk but across Europe.

    He defended the practise of segregation and putting women out of sight at the back in mosques on the basis that women aren’t that attracted to men so the sight of them wouldn’t put them off their prayers.

    I’m not sure what he actually does know.

    • Shazza

      He knows very, very well.
      He is practicing what is known as ‘Taqiyya’.


        Exactly, i was going to say the same Shazza. He is a charlatan, a chancer and a verbal bully. Ask him to present evidence of his qualifications and he blusters. Why are the BBC so bloody naive and stupid in indulging this creep?

        • Shazza

          The Beeb are so anxious to present evidence of how successful the disastrous multi culti social experiment is that they get so excited when someone like, Mo Ansar appears to be ‘moderate’ they continuously expose him to the gullible dhimmi BBC audience.

          Remember the excited, frantic coverage of the Arab Spring? Here was the proof – islam was reforming itself! Democracy! Islam was going to morph into a ‘vanilla’ style Western, modern Christianity! We were all going to live happily ever after.

          They are desperate now – soon they will realise that ‘moderate’ islam is an oxymoron.

          • Kennybhoy

            “They are desperate now – soon they will realise that ‘moderate’ islam is an oxymoron.”

            Dream on.

            Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

          • sarahsmith232

            Great posts Shazza, you know your stuff with all of this.

          • Shazza

            Thank you Sarah! I enjoy your posts as well.

          • sarahsmith232

            Thanks dear! We are all a bit of a mutually reinforcing bunch on this site, not like there’d be else out there speaking on our behalf but. Personally, if I wasn’t able to vent like this I think i’d probably almost bald, it’d be beyond me to not be pulling my hair out in clumps. Enjoy your day.

          • Kennybhoy

            “We are all a bit of a mutually reinforcing bunch on this site…”

            What…? Never! It’s only “Westminster bubble denizens” and lefties who do mutual reinforcement. We Speccie Wingnuts are immune! 🙂

        • Kennybhoy

          “naive and stupid” flatters them…

          Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

        • FrenchNewsonlin

          “Why are the BBC so naive” …because as someone else up thread describes them they are right-on diversity-compliant hacks whose common sense and critical judgement is permanently overridden by multi kulti considerations.

      • Kennybhoy

        Maybe but just as likely a chancer who jumped at the chance to be famous and get paid for it….?

        In my experience of the type, philosophical/theological/political motives come a poor second to money and fame…

        • Shazza

          I’m not disputing that his being a chancer does not apply, in fact I’m sure that it does but that just adds to his hubris that the ever gullible dhimmis will accept his claims.

          Remember that he, like his fellow travelers, are playing the long game.

          And they are winning.

          • Kennybhoy

            Aye but Shazza the line of defence or attack to be taken against a chancer is different from that against a genuine true beliver/ideologue. You must know your enemy in order to defeat him…

            Kennybhoy, ersatz Sun Tzu! 🙂

          • Kennybhoy

            PS Aye but are he and his fellow travellers playing the same long game?

            And bearing in mind what I just wrote, who is winning? He or his fellow travellers?

    • cartimandua

      They could always divide the Mosque down the middle.

      • Kennybhoy


        Isn’t she lovely, “the Mistress”?
        With her wide-apart grey-green eyes,
        The droop of her lips and, when she smiles,
        Her glance of amused surprise?

        How nonchalantly she wears her clothes,
        How expensive they are as well!
        And the sound of her voice is as soft and deep
        As the Christ Church tenor bell.

        But why do I call her “the Mistress”
        Who know not her way of life?
        Because she has more of a cared-for air
        Than many a legal wife.

        How elegantly she swings along
        In the vapoury incense veil;
        The angel choir must pause in song
        When she kneels at the altar rail.

        The parson said that we shouldn’t stare
        Around when we come to church,
        Or the Unknown God we are seeking
        May forever elude our search.

        But I hope that the preacher will not think
        It unorthodox and odd
        If I add that I glimpse in “the Mistress”
        A hint of the Unknown God.

        John Betjeman

        PS I’m a devout Papist no’ an Anglican but still… 🙂 🙂

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        and perpetuate apartheid?

        • cartimandua

          At present in most Mosques women have no access to the main hall at all.

        • cartimandua

          At present in most Mosques women have no access to the main hall at all.

    • rodger the dodger

      I heard a US scientist called Bill Warner say this sometime, of Islam:

      “Islam is about religion, but it’s mostly about politics. That means an Imam is not just a religious person, but mostly a politician. Now – tell me – would a politician ever lie to you”?

    • FrancisKing

      “He didn’t know for example that “that your right hand possesses” refers to the taking of female sexual slaves from amongst the defeated women, as per Boku Haram.”

      Well, actually, it doesn’t. This is one of the orientalist fantasies peddled by Robert Spencer. He keeps arguing this, but it doesn’t make it true. ‘What your right hand possess’ means ‘slaves’, just that.

      • K P Kavafy

        Well, actually, it does. Have you read the verses in question? They are clear that sex with captive women is allowed.

        “”O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war”

        Stop spreading misinformation.

  • anyfool

    The whole of media land is in thrall to a host of self appointed guardians of their own little mind set.
    That the media rely on these is a reflection of falling standards of journalistic practices.
    Look in the mirror Mr Cohen, are you part of, or the problem.

  • “Broadcasters are a tolerant bunch. ” Apparently incompetent, though, with regard to their researching of ‘experts’. As for “self-appointed and invariably reactionary voices”, self-appointment is hard-wired into the DNA of Islam. ‘Imam’ translates as ‘the one who stands forward’ or ‘ ‘the one who stands at the front’. Iain Dale’s Anglo-Saxon dismissal of Ansar might have been taken as a compliment.

  • joeblogs333

    Five years after 9-11 Mo ansar was still scratching his head about who really carried out the attack,the melting point of steel et al. Scroll the page for what the BBC pundit had to say.Don’t forget to read the bit about the Jews…


    • sarahsmith232

      Thanks for the link, just had a quick shifty, the highlighted bit, I mean, what on earth were the BBC thinking??!!! The male honestly and truly believes that the only reason why most people believe that 9/11 was a Muslim terrorist act is because of our Islamophobia. I mean, just unbelievable! That this moron gives Muslims a bad name does not need stating, but apparently it’s took BBC a little while to eventually get this. Joke that we’re supposed to watch him and Robinson in that doc’ and believe that it’s Robinson that’s the problem not this demented half-wit.

    • sarahsmith232

      I commented on this, unbelievable, it’s been removed.

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    The real story here is that the BBC, a £3bn pa organisation, appointed Ansar as a spokesman for Islam without a single check on his background or what he said. Someone at the BBC (Nicky Campbell maybe?) should explain how that happened.

    • evad666

      Shouldn’t that be the BIBC after all it no longer reflects the UK preferring a more “illiberal” approach.

    • Kennybhoy

      Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

  • realfish

    ‘…white readers should ask how they would feel if the broadcasters pushed forward a white Mo Ansar, and said without a shred of evidence that he was the authentic voice of white Britain.

    Slightly out of context, I know, but can I nominate BBC favourite Owen Jones?

    • jesseventura2

      Does it need to be a homosexual?

      • AgeUke

        Does it matter?

    • Kennybhoy

      Nice one and spot on! 🙂

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      Mhedi Hassan wrote Miliband’s biography and has described westerners as animals.

      • Mahmud

        Muslim Californian here, peaking into British affairs, one quick question:

        Atheists say a lot of things about people who have a religion. I don’t think you’ll be hard pressed to find an atheist calling Muslims and Christians sheep/cattle/whatever for “being stupid” and following their religious leaders.

        So, in light of this, is there a really big problem if Mehdi Hassan, using similar reason(from his standpoint, non-believers don’t think outside the box, or at leas that is what I gathered), calls non-believers cattle?

        Why the double standards?


        • Tom Allalone

          The problem is that any atheist with the same public profile as Mehdi Hasan who had the temerity to call Muslims ‘cattle’ or ‘animals’ would face a srorm of protest and possible prosecution for hate speech. I’m in favour of free speech so I think Hasan has the right to called non Muslims animals provided that non muslims have the same right to call Muslims animals

        • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

          As Tom says, Hassan has a platform. He also wrote our (likely) future PM’s Biography, after expressing these views of our people he shouldn’t have been assigned to this, unless Miliband still respected him despite these comments.

          Many Atheists do refer to the religious as sheep etc. But this is merely suggesting they follow blindly, I mean, Christianity doesn’t even disguise this, they openly call their congregations “flocks”. But when an Atheist says something like this it isn’t suggesting disgust or barbarism (despite religion warranting it) it expresses a blind adherents, in comparison to Hassan’s comments which were clearly hateful.

  • sgide

    Do journalists not ask for CVs of their guests, in particular regular guests? If they don’t, I hope they have all learned a lesson from this affair with Mo Ansar. I also note that for as long as Mo bullied regular people on twitter, called them up at home, sent threatening DMs, and called their employers (I know them all on twitter) no one batted an eye. Inevitably, he exposed his viciousness to media personalities, many of whom are directly responsible for providing him with a venue for his views (I know who they are too). How ironic.

    • Kennybhoy

      “Inevitably, he exposed his viciousness to media personalities, many of whom are directly responsible for providing him with a venue for his views…”

      Indeed. But it wasnt so much the exposure of his behaviour. It was the fact that he directed it at one of their own. This is a recurrent phenomenon in cultural history. The backlash, of whatever degree, only starts when a witch-hunt starts to devour it’s own. The 1980s child abuse hysteria springs immediately to mind and indeed, to lesser degree, the sudden conversion of the likes of Nigel Evans to anonymity for those accused of rape…

      • sarahsmith232

        Absolutely right! When he was going after a non-white, this Nawaz, they apparently were prepared to sit up and take notice, when he was accusing BBC journalists of prejudice they became aware of his idiocy. To everyone else it was really very apparent from the moment this demented saddo opened his mouth, but ‘course, we are but mere members of the ignorant, Ukip voting, thicko masses, so not worth listening to. The Left has a history of this stretching back decades.

  • Seat of Mars

    A good article, and a long time coming. It feels nit-picky to point this out but I feel I must. “He produced no evidence that substantiated the charge that Dale was a racist or Islamaphobe” There is not, as yet, a crime of Islamophobia. Although the EU would like to change this at the behest of Turkey.

    We must resist any attempt to conflate racism with criticism of an ideology or religion. It is as absurd as saying that Dale was investigated for being a “racist or a communist-phobe”. Please, please, remember this always, as it is through the acceptance of this conflation that we will meet our doom.

    • Kennybhoy

      “…at the behest of Turkey.”

      Current Turkish government, not Turkey. Until the present lot came to power Turkey was the most institutionally Islamophobic country on Earth.

  • OldSlaughter

    That he is a fraud has been obvious to anyone listening to him. The story here is how he has been allowed to perpetuate it on our TV screens and radios. This has not yet been fully answered.

    • Kennybhoy

      “The story here…”

      Precisely so. The real threat to our country is not Islam per se, or immigration per se or___________________(fill in with own particular hate/fear…). The primary threat comes from that Cultural Marxism for which the BBC is the primary propaganda tool.

      Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

    • Mark

      It’s either the researchers who call him up, perhaps even knowing what he is, or frankly stupid presenters. I don’t know how many times I’ve metaporically shouted at the TV when he’s said something stupid, and the presenter/interviewer has let him off. One of the worst is Vanessa Feltz on her BBC London radio show. Ansar loves her because he can run rings around her, because she is so mis-informed on just about everything.

  • darwins beard

    The only way this story could be better is if it is found out that Owen Jones has an offshore account and Mehdi Hasan is a Mossad pseudo ops agent. Delicious.

  • Hippograd

    Maajid Nawaz calls official British attitudes ‘neo-colonial’.

    I believe he’s fond of calling people “racist” too. Where did he pick that trick up, I wonder? And why have Muslims from such bastions of liberalism and free-thought as Pakistan, Somalia and Bangladesh failed to reproduce the cultures of their homelands in the UK? Why has mass immigration been so bad for free speech? It’s almost as though these people were like fundamentalist Christians, but with dark skin. And I’m sure Mr Cohen would have opposed mass immigration by fundamentalist Christians from the US and warned of the dire consequences of letting them establish themselves in the UK. Not good for secular values, they’d be.

    • sarahsmith232

      Absolutely spot on. Have thought this many the time myself. It is laughable that the Left love to see themselves as the defenders of mushrooming misogynist religious conservatism because it’s a product of non-white immigration but if it were a product of affluent, American and white immigration then they’d all be the very first in line jumping up and down about it.
      I say that the issue is that the Left has spent the last 20yrs employed in the creation of a really very silly fairy story about immigration and it’s effects. The story is made up of idiotic white caricatures that anyone with so much as half a brain would recognise as such but they aren’t able to ’cause of their separation in society. ‘Course, ditto the non-white population. In this fantasy world there are people that are anti immigration – the ignorant, stupid, backward, racist, fascist, predominantly w.class and absolutely inferior in every way, white. Then there are the pro – enlightened, intelligent, educated, well, let’s face it, actually genetically superior. Problem – it’s all nothing more than ego pleasing, class snob, claptrap.
      The Indian’s are moving towards Ukip ’cause they know that they’d rather let in highly skilled Indians than continue with the open-door to white Europe. Abbott is only pro when it’s of benefit to her and her own, when it wasn’t in the 90s she used her position to protest about ‘blonde, blue-eyed Finnish nurses’ getting jobs. She was demanding that black nurses be imported instead. V.Cable benefits from a society that is made up of the needy. Left-wing politicians can only get up in the morning if they feel that they’re employed as warriors battling the powerful oppressor so as to provide for the powerless and vulnerable. Add in the powerless and vulnerable victim of the racist white powerful oppressor and you’re into your standard Left-winger deranged by a saviour complex politician. Cable v.much is one so is pro when it’s of benefit to him – non-white and needy. When it’s non-white and rich, then he’s the very first in line jumping up and down about the need to block these immigrants and their corrosive effect. ‘Course, he uses the word foreigner instead of immigrants, apparently ’cause he believes this makes all the difference.
      There’s no such thing as a social type that’s pro or one that’s anti, there’s just those that benefit and those that don’t. Zero to do with education, intelligence, class or racism. Views are only formed due to, i’m pinching, someone else used this – self-interest, perfect way to say it.
      Doesn’t surprise me though that this Nawaz believes we’re neo-colonial and loves to throw out the racism word. He’s no different now than he was during his teens. A muslim on the Guardian made me laugh, wrote that he spent his youth believing himself a saviour of Islam and he’s still, now in his 30s, going around believing himself the saviour of Islam. Different methods but same slight/real mental problem. The writer was def’ onto something.

  • jesseventura2

    What would be the result of EU referendum asking citizens do they want muslim immigrants?

  • erewrsdfvdsf

    Two questions on this: 1) Nick here riidcules Ansar as a spokesman for British Muslims, and rightly so. But then again Nick Cohen himself repeatedly praised and promoted one Hassan Butt as a British Muslim voice ‘we should all listen to’. When Hassan Butt admitted in court to being a fantasist who said whatever the people who gave him money wanted him to, did Nick Cohen mention it at all? Nope. He’s as guilty as the rest of them in the media for seeking out Muslims who tell him what he wants to hear. And 2) if Nick Cohen is so keen on exposing sockpuppetry, why focus on this
    case and not the rather more serious one of a senior journalsit and paid public official, Andrew Gilligan, posing online as
    ‘Kennite’ and smearing his critics?

    • Kennybhoy


      Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

  • wattys123

    most UK Muslims aren’t moderate, 65% of UK Muslims want sharia law, a system that makes non-Muslims 2nd class citizens and 6% fully supported the UK terroist attacks. . Only the Liberal white media believe that moderate secular Muslims are broadly representative of British Muslims.

  • anon

    He’s like a mixture of David Brent and Walter White

  • black11hawk

    He’ll probably go on Celebrity Big Brother next.

    • anotherjoeblogs

      I was thinking next Eurovision. He has the beard and the dress and could be an excellent spokesperson for multi-culturalism and the bright future of Europe.

      • anotherjoeblogs

        19 hours later – and the eye-liner, of course.

    • Kennybhoy


      Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

  • Grey Wolf

    Mo Ansar should be in the porn industry, perhaps he is already sending feelers out. Celeb Big Bro would be another channel for him. He has options. The guy is a vulgar creep.

    And what about Nick Cohen? How is your Russia bashing coming along? Have you compared notes with David Aaronovitch?

  • JabbaTheCat

    Lolz…nicely played Nick…

  • Charles Martel

    What Mr Cohen describes as the “nativist white far right” may indeed, and reprehensively, hate and target Muslims because they are Muslim. However an infinitely greater number of the citizens of this country of every racial background loathe and detest not individual Muslims but Islam itself which they recognise as presenting a rapidly growing existential threat to the values of freedom, tolerance and plurality in this country

    • FrancisKing

      “infinitely greater number” – so, an infinite number of them, then?

      I think it’s really just you and your mates who think like that.

      • Fergus Pickering

        I think lke that. I don’t know him.

      • MissDemeanor

        looks like he’s got an awful lot of mates ^

    • Mike

      Totally agree. By far the majority of people in the country have easily separated race from religion and certainly don’t hold any racist attitudes to most Muslims. Most western educated people do so without thinking and have the capacity and wish to clearly separate religion from the state whilst retaining the ‘good’ parts from their historic religious base as the bed rock for their culture.

      Most other religions have dumped their excess’s of the past as they had no choice but to do so however Islam is the controlling force of states and culture in many Muslim countries. Due to lack of education contrived or fiscally, those people are reliant on the twisted 7th century ideology of their religious leaders and know no better.

      Islam will not change voluntary and will continue to be hi-jacked by radical elements and it is the problem not its uneducated followers.

  • itbeso

    “To understand why white readers should ask how they would feel if the
    broadcasters pushed forward a white Mo Ansar, and said without a shred
    of evidence that he was the authentic voice of white Britain. Admit it,
    you would feel patronised and disgusted.”

    As white isn’t a religion I’d be confused more than anything.

  • Lucas

    Andrew Cummins describes “Islamophobia” best as “a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”

    • Kennybhoy


      Notice the construction..

      It was designed to echo the terms antisemitism and homophobia.

      Ceterum censeo BBC esse delendam!

  • Just as a footnote:

    Mo Ansar has repeatedly and publicly described himself on Twitter as a “lawyer”.

    He did this when trying to win arguments from authority (“as a lawyer”) and also when implying he would take legal action (again, “as a lawyer”). (Most of these tweets were deleted this week.)

    On his website he describes himself as a “legal advocate” who appears regularly at the Royal Courts of Justice (home of the High Court and the Court of Appeal of England and Wales). He often claims knowledge of substantive English law and the law of evidence. He is also a master, it seems, of the art of cross-examination in the court room (a cross-examiner “of some years and experience”).

    The detail is astonishing: he claims to have appeared four times at the Court of Appeal; and he has said a number of times that he got Leveson to make a ludicrous statement in court that it was ok to bribe a judge.

    The ordinary meaning of his claims was that he was an expert in the law of England and Wales and appeared in the senior courts. (Otherwise the references to the RCJ and CoFA, and to substantive English law and the law of evidence, make no sense if he really meant only, say, Sharia law.)

    These claims to be such a lawyer are false, as he sheepishly admitted when I put it to him on Twitter (that was when most of his “lawyer” tweets were suddenly deleted).

    I am satisfied that he is in no meaningful way a “lawyer” or (indeed) a “legal advocate”.

    In fact, other than a trip to the Court of Appeal in 2006 (as a litigant-in-person) there is no evidence whatsoever that he has ever presented a case at the RCJ.

    Having looked at his tweets on legal matters, it is also my opinion that he has no expertise in the law of England and Wales. Indeed, he has made a number of basic howlers “as a lawyer”.

    In my view, his repeated and public claims to be a “lawyer” and “legal advocate” are a sham.

    (Btw: I only really came across this person when the Twitter account of Jeremy Duns was suspended and it looked like Ansar may have had a role in it. I had no idea he had claimed any legal expertise before and had never given him a second thought. But the extent of his fantasy was bemusing.)

    • Agrippina

      I just checked the Law Soc website and they do not have a Mohammed Ansar I spelt Mo in many different ways. I also checked the Barristers’ Register they do not have an Ansar either. But he may have allowed his membership to elapse as he is no longer in practice! in which case he should state he is non-practising.

      I doubt if he is anything to do with the law profession. All the folks I know in the profession call themselves sol or barrister, not lawyers, it is not an Eng expression.

      • anotherjoeblogs

        So you checked the Law Soc website for Mo Ansar and you got no answer.Sorry but I simply had to.

        • Agrippina

          No it is the website for checking if solicitors are on the roll. There is no answer to be had, sorry I have completely missed your point.

          • anotherjoeblogs

            just a silly word play joke – mo ansar, no answer. Hardly worth your time replying Agrippina. Thanks anyway.keep up the good work.

      • itbeso

        Sharia lawyer?

    • sarahsmith232

      Good Lord have mercy! I CAN NOT believe that the BBC has been holding this up as a legitimate and worthwhile Islamic voice. What on earth!!! For ***’s sake, why didn’t they just get the job done properly and go in an Asda, go eaney meaney miney mo, yeah, you on the check out, want to be the telly? Pretty much effectively what they did do. And looks like they landed themselves a real, proper, not only absolutely idiotic but borderline/actually demented one into the bargain. Shocking, agree with Cohen, if you were a Muslim you’d be wanting to sue that idiot corporation.

      • FrancisKing

        “eaney meaney miney mo”

        I’m glad you stopped at that point.

      • balance_and_reason

        Another ludicrous BBC screw up

    • I entirely agree (from what I’ve read of his) about the level of his legal knowledge.

      What he wrote to the police in the e-mail published by Iain Dale (http://www.iaindale.com/posts/2014/05/04/the-truth-about-mo-ansar) shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the Equality Act 2010, for instance. He apparently thought definitional provisions in sections 26 and 27 of the Act created criminal offences.

    • Wasp

      Quote: In my view, his repeated and public claims to be a “lawyer” and “legal advocate” are a sham. Unquote

      Is this not an offence, like impersonating a police officer? But, then I am NOT a lawyer.

      • post_x_it

        Yes it is, but afaik the offence is only committed at the point of attempting to practice, e.g. if you turn up in court and claim to represent someone.

  • ianess

    Yet another race hustler a la ‘Rev’ Sharpton.

    • DonnaTxx

      Yes, but islam is not a race. It does show that we are living in Orwellian times.

      • ianess

        Mau-mauing the flak catchers.

  • sonic

    Thanks Nick. It’s the end of the “Mo Ansar era”, and what an era it was. I wonder if the media will learn anything, or continue to be as gullible and lazy in giving “gobby pricks” airtime…

  • swatnan

    Mo Anser is no more moderate than Chowdray. The man is a nuisance and a prevaricator. He doesn’t speak for the moderate Muslims, because they don’t exist. There are 2 kinds of Muslims the Fundamentalists and then the ones that are self deniers and can’t face up to the truth that Islam is a feudal cruel and violent religion.
    I saw ‘When Tommy meets Mo’ and i thought Tommy was being more honest than Mo. At least Tommy reprobate though he is was capable of facing up to the reality of fascim, whether of the Far Right or of Islam.

    • Grey Wolf

      There is a huge foreign policy screw-up of the past that nobody is talking of. Right through the cold war Western governments did not show any concern about immigration from backward Muslim countries (Pakistan, Arab lands etc.). Apparently, they were with the ”free world”. Only an idiot will consider backward Muslims from medieval failed states to be with the ‘free world’. But such Muslims fought in Afghanistan and in parts of Central Asia and again in Bosnia. Now we have to deal with the likes Mo Ansar and those who have gone to fight in Syria. Chickens have literally come home to roost.

    • SarahAB

      I rather softened towards Tommy Robinson after seeing him attempt to debate Mo Ansar on The Big Questions (their first encounter I think). And he was far preferable to Mo on ‘When Tommy met Mo’. Though I’m not sure I agree that Mo is no more moderate than Choudary. Mo’s views are all over the place, and I don’t suppose he knows quite what they are himself, but they oscillate between really quite liberal and really quite conservative/orthodox, but don’t ever go into Choudary territory.

  • If you look through Mo Ansar’s Twitter timeline you can quite easily turn it into a fantastical auto-biography…


    • Kennybhoy


  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    They are all as odious as each-other, loud-mouthed and ill-mannered. Especially Mhedi Hassan who is the biggest fraud around.

  • SarahAB

    I confess to being (horribly) fascinated by Mo Ansar. Just what was going through his mind when he made that nonsensical complaint against Iain Dale?

  • (in my best Mr Burns voice) Excellent……..

  • Mc

    Isn’t it so very telling that these media organizations think it is necessary to have buffoons like Mo Ansar on their programs. One wouldn’t insult one’s viewers intelligence by having someone on air justifying paedophilia, and neither should one have characters like Ansar wasting airtime with patent balderdash. Added to that you have the interviewers always posing faugh probing questions, but which anyone else can see are vacuously relativist. As with with Paxman saying, “But you knew some people would be offended by your tweet”.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Almost all the news readers on BBC World News are “not British”, at least in the minds of the narrow-minded xenophobic bigots that inhabit these comment pages. Enough to provoke a psychotic episode or even an epileptic seizure among British racists. “Where is all da white folks?”

  • DonnaTxx

    The liberals thought they were being clever giving extremist mo ansar a media platform and he turned on them in return hahahaha.

  • Mark

    I followed Ansar on Twitter last year after he seemed reasonable on an edition of The Big Questions. It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t reasonable at all, and resorted to calling other Twitter corresponents “Islamophobes” unjustly, together with “bigot” and “hater.” I’ve no doubt he got real abuse, but these words were sprinkled around like confetti, for people who simply disagreed with him.
    It became obvious that he supported gender segregation and his constant attacks on “The West” were tiring. However, his TV appearances were different. He’d always try to start with a self-depreciating joke, and talk more moderately.
    Then came Woolwich and just a week later his assertion, in a Huffington Post article that, “the biggest problem this country faces if from the far-right” (in terms of extremism), was astonishing, but an obvious deflection away from the extremism displayed at Woolwich. As a Muslim, he had every right to write about the EDL, but the way he did, at that time, showed him attempting to mask Islamic terrorism, rather than tackle it. In hindsight, we later found that at that time, he was involved with Tommy Robinson, in making that documentary, so his motives may even have the angle of knowing that was eventually going to be screened and he was elevating the problem.
    During the making of that documentary (which people were unaware of at the time), he was pictured in a smiley hug with Robinson. Something was up, but he defended it, and still does, that “as a man of faith, when he put his arm around me, my faith got me through.” I don’t think I was the only one to see through that. He actually needed the EDL and fed off them.
    It became increasingly frustrating to see him pop up on TV, making people wonder who on earth the program researchers were, and what they did or didn’t know about him.
    Next up, was the Jesus and Mo cartoon debacle. His attack on Nawaz was so obviously linked to his humiliation during the Tommy and Mo doc, but he kept up the pretence of not being offended by the cartoon, but that he objected to a Lib Dem PPC tweeting it irresponsibly. Now it seemed that he was letting the obvious wash over him and ignoring it all, while sticking to ridiculous positions.
    Criticism had been mounting from increasingly professional quarters, which unsurprisingly, he brushed off as “smears and Islamophobia,” but recently, those criticisms have exploded.
    It remains to be seen how he will handle it, and also how broadcasters will handle it and whether that comes down to companies as a whole, or individual producers. But finally, perhaps TV and Radio are seeing him as many ordinary Twitter users have seen him for many months.

  • Distance Left

    Well done once again Nawaz for once again being a voice of clarity, and reason in this ongoing debacle about freedom of expression.

  • Fiji’s Best

    The Virginia Bill of Rights’ text that “all men are by nature equally free and independent”, has been largely replaced with a simplified expression of “free and equal” that conveys the idea of equal treatment before the law.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    What are you all thinking of? It’s not an important piece. Should we really even be discussing Koranic theology? Nowhere in the Koran does it suggest we should “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and God things which are God’s”. In the Koran everything is God’s – so end of discussion; hence no politics, no people’s tribune, no civil society. Drop it before it’s too late you half-wits….

  • Samuel Roberts


  • The Day After

    The article is excellent, but I think the podcast portion there is even better. Well done by all. Mo has been making his bed (sloppily) and now people are asking him to lie in it, and he’s still fighting to stay out of it. He seems to see all this criticism as just neo-con Islamophobic criticism from a bunch of awful people just out to smear him. He still refuses to admit his wrong doing. He still refuses to give an inch. To him, all of this criticism is nothing but Islamophobia and a tarring of a good guy. I can’t figure out if he’s playing a game….or truly is delusional. Regardless, he is a fascinating character that psychiatric students could probably benefit from studying.

    The main hope I have is, as much as calling Mo out on his behaviour, it is putting media orgs who still work with him in the spot light as well. Going to him has been easy for the media. He’s a phone call away, and seeing as he doesn’t seem to actually have a job, he can be in studio very quickly. The media has shown itself to be lazy here. When they need someone to talk about “Trojan Horse” issues at schools, why call Mo? Why not call on someone in the field? When they need someone to talk about Halal meat, why call Mo? Why not call someone who works in the Halal meat industry?? Why call a generic “Muslim Commentator” to talk about all of these issues? Pure laziness as far as I am concerned, and Mo’s ever present face on TV shows just how bad it is. What other “experts” and “commentators” are being used because they are available as opposed to being knowledgeable?

    Furthermore, his run ins with Tom Holland, Iain Dale, and Maajid Nawaz have shown repeatedly that he is a vengeful man who holds deep grudges and will go to great lengths to silence critics. These are the big names that have felt his wrath. Many don’t know about the ordinary twitter users which have felt the full brunt of his ego. So, although he portrays himself as this nice guy, he truly isn’t.

    I think we all benefit from having Mo outed. It is about time media started asking questions about him and his outrageous claims of experience, very little of which seems to exist. I hope more media outlets do this, or at least just stop calling him and give the public better information, better commentators, and better ideas. The non Muslim AND Muslim communties need this.

  • Ostercy

    To paraphrase Sacha Baron-Cohen; “Is it cos he’s not Jewish?”

  • Mike

    There’s a very good analogy about the lefts denial of radical Islam and
    it goes something like this. When you return home on a hot summers night, just because you can’t see any ‘cock roaches’ when the lights go
    on doesn’t mean you don’t have any in your home. Anyone whose suffered
    the presence of the odd roach or two knows full well they scatter when a
    light goes on.

    Similarly, just because the left looks into their own
    ‘darkness’ it doesn’t mean that radical Islam isn’t present all over the
    world including the west. At this very poignant moment in time, it
    does present somewhat of an ideology problem for the left to deny the
    existence of Boco Haram but I’m sure they’re working on their next spin
    to deny its radical Islam at work.

  • Gareth Milner

    How did someone so under qualified, manage to fool as these media folk for so long?

  • Tigger

    I first saw the immoderate side of the media’s ‘moderate Muslim’ after Tom Holland published In the Shadow of Sword, a history of early Islam, which dismissed its its founding myths. ‘It takes some guts to do that,’ I thought. True to form, Ansar toured the TV studios denouncing Holland as a fraud. Holland challenged the ‘expert’ to name the first Muslim philosopher to condemn slavery. Ansar did not know but came up with a Boko-Haramish defence of slavery in Muslim states: ‘If slaves are treated justly, with full rights, and no oppression whatsoever… why would anyone object, Tom?’

    Not everyone knows everything. (For example, I’ve never heard of Mo Ansar.) But I’m currently reading ‘No God But God’, which I believe answers this question.
    When Mohammed and his followers finally returned from Medina to Mecca, the city surrendered to them. Under the laws current at the time, the defeated people would have become the slaves of the victors. Instead of this, Mohammed not only allowed them to keep their freedom – he also freed their slaves. So Mohammed was the first – not by his words but by his actions. Which counts for a lot more, I think.

    Boco Haram is much more similar to another (Christian) group, the LRA – Lord’s Resistance Army – which behaves similarly in North Uganda/Southern Sudan. Both these groups have an interest in keeping people, especially women, uneducated. Both operate under the umbrella of religion; neither appear to know even the rudiments of their avowed faith.

  • Fiji’s Best

    Here we find a trusty lamp to guide us through the ever-shifting mirage of illusions conjured up by today’s liberals: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0094KY878

  • Kevin Russell

    I know I’m a bit late here. But this is a important piece. The problem here and the wider problem Islam is going to carry on having, is that there is no spokesman for what Islam stands for, represents etc. But who appoints them and under what authority? They need a pope – I can’t believe I’ve just said that. Unfortunately until then there’s plenty more under the rock that Mo crawled out from.

  • Abdul Aziz

    Excellent article, Nick.

  • Mark

    I’ve probably already commented on this, but thought I’d wait and pop back in 2.5 months later to say congratulations. Ansar has not been seen or heard on BBC, Chan4, ITV, Chan5, LBC since this, and other articles were published. Long may that continue.

  • sunny copper

    the name cohen says it all to where the bias is going to be! Nothing new to see here but a smear campaign to discredit any muslim who has a voice!

    • Richard

      Hope you’ve been watching the news from Paris lately. Your attitudes will go down well there. Ever thought of moving? Or, maybe, setting up a branch over here?

  • I hope this lunatic makes enough money to support himself, not because I want him to be financially secure, but because otherwise he would once again suck up taxpayers’ money by being on welfare.