New York Times provides a good sketch of Yemen’s ruling political gangsters:
“Mr. Saleh and his son also face another internal challenge from the next generation of the powerful Ahmar family, Yemeni bluebloods. Sheik Abdullah al-Ahmar was the chief of the powerful Hashed tribe, founded the Islah party and was Parliament speaker until his death in December 2007.” Complete article is here.
This so-called Sheik actually visited Birmingham, England in the 1990’s. And not only that - the Islah party ran it’s own Islamist schools in North Yemen from at least the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s. The schools had a totally different curriculum to the state schools. These ‘brainwashing’ schools were laughably called ‘Scientific Institutes’. The first ‘guadian’ of these schools (and co-leader of the Islah party) was Abd al-Majid al-Zindani who is now wanted by the Americans because they consider him to be a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and a former mentor to Osama bin Laden.
It’s so not nice when old friends fall out with each other!
But the really funny thing is that one of these ‘Scientific Institutes’ opened up in...Birmingham, England. One of the former head teachers of this ‘brainwashing’ school decided not to go to Yemen when the Islah party ‘institutes’ were disbanded in the mid 90’s but remained in England. Adnan Saif, a former head teacher of the ‘Scientific Institute’ in Birmingham, is now employed, according to this Guardian article, by Birmingham City Council as Chief Executive of Urban Living.
Adnan Saif has nothing but the ultimate praise for Sheik Abdullah al-Ahmar. Indeed, on his personal website (when it is online) he compares the late gangster to Mandela and Gandi! The reason he thinks he can get away with this comparison is that, in my opinion, he thinks Yemenis are too stupid and brainwashed to know any better to challenge this assertion and the English are too ignorant of Yemen to know what he is talking about.
Hmm...I wonder if there is ever a personal and spiritual conflict of interest of having run a North Yemeni 'brainwashing' Islamist school with connections to an individual associated with bin Laden and being Chief Executive of Urban Living in England's second city?