Row over MPS’ re­jec­tion of Is­lam­o­pho­bia group

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MARTIN BRIGHT

A WAR of words has bro­ken out over the de­ci­sion to drop the anti-Zion­ist or­gan­isaton i-En­gage (also known as En­gage) as the sec­re­tariat to the al­lparty par­lia­men­tary group (APPG) on Is­lam­o­pho­bia.

MPs voted last month to dis­pense with its ser­vices of af­ter ef­forts by Con­ser­va­tive MPs Nick Boles and Robert Hal­fon along with Labour’s Hazel Blears and John Spel­lar.

The founder of Mus­lim­s4UK, Inayat Bunglawala, con­demned the MPs’ de­ci­sion on his blog un­der the head­line: “Is­rael lobby gloats over re­moval of En­gage from APPG on Is­lam­o­pho­bia”. He con­tin­ued: “Around six months ago, I wrote that pro-Is­raeli ac­tivists were in­volved in stren­u­ous ef­forts to try and hob­ble a new All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Is­lam­o­pho­bia... And lo! It came to pass.”

Is­lam­o­pho­bia Watch edi­tor Bob Pitt used his web­site to at­tack Chris Allen, a Birm­ing­ham Univer­sity aca­demic, whose re­port, com­mis­sioned by the group’s chair, Si­mon Hughes, was highly crit­i­cal of i-En­gage. Writ­ing of the MPs in­volved, Mr Pitt called the re­port “stupid”. He then linked to the fol­low­ing com­ment posted by “Bob” on Dr Allen’s blog: “You’ve hap­pily pro­vided scum like Robert Hal­fon and Hazel Blears with the am­mu­ni­tion they needed to re­move En­gage.”

In the is­sue of 18 Fe­bru­ary we re­ported that a de­ci­sion had been made by the All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Is­lam­o­pho­bia to re­tain iEn­gage as its sec­re­tariat.

We have now been in­formed that there was no vote specif­i­cally on this point, and the de­ci­sion made was to ad­journ the meet­ing un­til fur­ther en­quiries about iEn­gage could be made.

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