Mr. Adnan Saif: A Brummie who Liaisons with al-Qaeda?*

One would need to circle in an orbit of uncategorised naivety not to acknowledge that in England’s major cities are undeclared pockets whereby one can nonchalantly encounter supporters and followers of Islamism whether in its Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda or ISIS manifestation. And the British state is far from innocent in allowing this state of affairs to develop. Indeed, one can only marvel on how the UK state allowed Libyan jihadis, originally veterans from the Afghan jihad in the 1980s, to settle in Manchester from the early 1990s.  

Birmingham, it seems, is no different to any other city. I’ve written about the presence of the North Yemeni Islamist network and how they established one of their madrassas i.e. religious indoctrination schools, at 517 Moseley Road, Birmingham back in the 1980s a couple of times over the last several years. This network is very much tied to the Yemeni Islamist Islah (Reform) political party – which is fighting shoulder to shoulder with al-Qaeda in the current war in Yemen.

517 Moseley Road has always publicly passed itself off as the innocuously sounding “Muslim Student House”. Amongst the Yemeni Arabs of the local region it is also known as “Dar”. In recent years, it has been calling itself a “mosque”. Yet no one will be able to deny that the Dar began as an Islamist brainwashing institution with strong financial involvement from the then North Yemeni Cultural Attache, Abdulla al-Shamahi who has always lived in Harborne, Birmingham.

Out of this environment emerged the administratively and bureaucratically very able but politically disingenuous, Mr. Adnan Saif. He began teaching (or brainwashing) at the madrassa in the late 1980s before moving on to heading the school by the time the Islamist educational operation had decamped to the Bordesley Centre (aka as ‘Ammanah’) in the Sparkbrook region of Birmingham in the 1990s. Since then he has clearly obtained positions in high level governmental and the so-called charity sectors. His LinkedIn profile is extremely impressive and I do not begrudge him that he has managed to be of supreme use to the British establishment.

However, hiding in plain view on his LinkedIn profile is his acknowledgment that he has provided some kind of governmental training in eastern Libya and specifically training “for emerging leadership of local government in the cities of Benghazie, Albaidha and Darnah.” This area of Libya has always been a notorious breeding ground for al-Qaeda. During the fake Libyan “uprising” and subsequent “revolution” in 2011 it was mainly al-Qaeda related groups which took up arms against the Libyan state. After the overthrow of the Gadhaffi government and indeed the destruction of the Libyan state, Dernah was to fall to ISIS before eventually being supposedly freed from ISIS.

One thing for sure is that Dernah has never been known as a place where Thomas Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’ is studiously championed or where Jeffersonian democracy is wondrously advocated. So why would Adnan Saif boast about his time “training” in Dernah? A process of elimination, which must take into account Britain’s historical support for jihadis, compels any rational person to ask whether the British state sent him on a mission to liaison with local al-Qaeda or other Islamists in Libya? Obviously, we’ll probably never know…until that is, God forbid, a jihadi massacre similar to Manchester’s horrifically befalls Birmingham. And then maybe, (just maybe), someone will ask why was a North Yemeni Islamist network allowed to incubate in Brum for the last forty years. So sad.


*A ‘Brummie’ is a nickname for a resident of Birmingham, UK.

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