I was recently alerted by the Guardian newspaper that my phone number was among the many that were selected for targeting by customers of NSO and its hacking software known as Pegasus. In my case, the client in question appears to be the government of the United Arab Emirates.
While I cannot deny being shocked at the news that my privacy has been violated in such an obscene manner, it comes as little surprise that the source of this criminal breach is an authoritarian undemocratic oppressive regime, which considers freedoms a threat and human rights an abomination.
I will of course be seeking legal counsel and pursuing whatever means for damages, along with many of my relatives and friends who have been similarly targeted, in anticipation that those behind this violation are brought to account.
I call on the Prime Minister, the UK government and the British parliament to stand up to such actions carried out by oppressive authoritarian and brutal regimes against British citizens and to act responsibly and unequivocally in the face of such criminality. There is no question that I will be continuing my long-running campaign to reveal the ugly reality of the UAE regime, and others of such distasteful trends, undeterred by these or other tactics aimed to intimidate and silence.
Dr Anas Altikriti
CEO & Founder
The Cordoba Foundation
22nd July 2021
On Saturday 19th of June, Alaa Al-Siddiq, daughter of UAE political prisoner Mohammed Abdulrazzaq Al-Siddiq, died in a car accident in Oxfordshire.
Regardless of the outcome of the police investigation, Alaa was a true icon of the fight against injustice, and a rising star who was known for her calm, collected and intelligent approach to fighting the freedom of her father and all political prisoners in the UAE.
The Cordoba Foundation wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to Alaa’s family and friends, and especially to her father who has been in prison for 8 years on sham charges and a judicial process unworthy of the name.
Despite her young age, Alaa’s legacy will now shine a bright light on the sacrifices campaigners for justice, freedom and dignity around the world, give every single day. Their endeavour is one of courage and selflessness, and it will inevitably triumph over the darkness of oppression and inhumanity.The Cordoba Foundation
20th June 2021
The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) considers the announcement by a number of governments the imposition of sanctions on senior officials in China for gross human rights abuses against its Uyghur Muslim population, a much welcome step.
For years, if not longer, China has been committing heinous crimes and violations including torture and rape against the Uyghurs, in defiance of worldwide condemnation. While many will see this step as a little too late, TCF sees this as a considerable step in the right direction and a firm message sent to China by the governments and nations of the UK, EU, USA and Canada.
In reaction to this news, Aziz Isa Elkun, a prominent Uyghur academic, poet and activist in London, said that for “the past 71 dark years, Uyghurs, who are the rightful owners of the Uyghur Autonomous Region (including East Turkistan, Uyghuristan and Xinjiang), has seen countless massacres committed by the Chinese state. The recent horrific revelation of concentration camps housing over a million Uyghurs in the most inhumane conditions, is a drop in the ocean of the catalogue of atrocities, and which only come to the world’s attention because of the 21st Century’s digital surveillance era.”
While naming a clutch of officials as responsible for some of the crimes committed is a positive measure, it is imperative that the pressure on China is increased so that the atrocities come to an end. China must know that the world is watching, and that the world will not stay silent amid the horrors taking place against the Uyghur Muslim minority.
Meanwhile, it comes as a great disappointment that MPs narrowly voted down, yesterday, a Trade Bill amendment that would have prevented the UK government’s future trade deals with China. Whilst fully appreciating the importance of doing business with world partners, it would be an act of extreme hypocrisy if the UK sent a message that it’s recognition of human rights crimes being committed will not hinder nor halt its pursuit for economic interests.
The Cordoba Foundation was one of the first to highlight the plight of the Uyghurs in the UK, through a range of community, media and campaign efforts. This latest development of sanctions against key Chinese officials is a vindication of the efforts of all concerned about the Uyghurs. However, much more needs to be done to see a lasting solution for the persecuted Uyghur Muslims.
The Cordoba Foundation
Cultures in Dialogue
The Cordoba Foundation has always seen the government’s strategy to counter terrorism and extremism, coined Prevent, as one which was found upon positive objectives, but has been sullied by years of misuse and politicking.
On numerous occasions, The Cordoba Foundation called for a radical review of the entire strategy, after far too many cases where it became evident that Prevent had become an information gathering operation targeting the Muslim community, rather than one which aims to guide affected youngsters, away from extremist ideas and violence.
Joining a number of community organisations in welcoming the announcement of an independent review of Prevent in hope that a radical transformation will be introduced, we shared the utter disappointment, anger even, felt throughout the Muslim community when it was declared that William Shawcross would be appointed to chair the ‘independent’ Review.
With a long legacy of anti-Muslim statements and stands, and with views that are abhorrent to the overwhelming majority of British Muslims, besides his prominent position within the right-wing anti-Muslim Henry-Jackson Society, Shawcross’s appointment will simply confirm that any engagement with Prevent, or the review thereof, would be an exercise in futility.
CEO, Dr Anas Altikriti stated this afternoon that The Cordoba Foundation has therefore ‘arrived at the conclusion that following almost 15 years of failed, indeed counterproductive approach to the issue of counter-extremism, during which Islamophobia has been on a steady rise throughout society and Muslims feel more marginalised and targeted than ever before’, ‘it is time to call for Prevent to be scrapped’.
The Cordoba Foundation hopes that Muslim organisations will see the situation similarly and will assert their respective positions by boycotting this securitised approach to dealing with the Muslims community. It is unbecoming of the government to single out one faith community for such a callous treatment, and hence play a dangerously divisive role and adopt a narrative that is sure to spread fear and hate.
The Cordoba Foundation
28 January 2021