BOYCOTTING THE MCB: THE DISPUTE CONTINUES
Inayat Bunglawala’s spirited defence of the Muslim Council of Britain ( Letters, October 2) can perhaps be explained by his long association with and continued work for the MCB.
He omitted to mention the serious reservations that the Board has about the MCB. We, in common with others, including many in the Muslim community, find it hard to believe that an organisation that continues to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day can have a positive relationship with the Jewish community.
As for violence overseas, the Trafalgar Square rally was a call for peace and an appeal to help the innocent victims on both sides of the Gaza conflict and the community’s response was markedly different to the scenes of violence following anti-Israel demonstrations at the time.
Our community’s desire for peace stands in stark contrast to the recent Istanbul Declaration which has been widely interpreted as calling for violence against Israel and condoning attacks on British troops. Its signatories included Daud Abdullah, the MCB’s deputy secretary-general. Mark Frazer Defence & Group Relations Division, Board of Deputies of British Jews Bloomsbury Square, London. WC1
The Board of Deputies reported suggestion to a parliamentary committee that engagement with the Muslim Council of Britain should be based on arbitrary criteria as set by the Board and the Community Security Trust hinders any initiative to foster mutual respect and dialogue.
At no point has the Muslim Council of Britain placed such intellectually dishonest demands on the Board or any other Jewish community organisation. We may have deeply held views and disagreements over the issue of Israel-Palestine, but we have never sought to use the issue to marginalise the Board, even though we never saw it object to flagrant human rights abuses perpetuated by the State of Israel.
As far as we know, no Muslim has asked Jewish organisations to endorse the recent report from the UN Human Rights, which found Israel to be guilty of war crimes, and hold the Israeli regime to account.
Your report suggests that the Board of Deputies claim that the MCB is dominated by “Islamists” — an arbitrary term deployed for cynical ends. The MCB is a diverse body, and we are proud that our constitution requires the body to represent the rich and diverse British Muslim community. “Islamists”, whatever that