The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

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

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