The Jewish Chronicle
The MCB is the problem — not the solution
Don’t be taken in by the idea that the MCB is a moderate organisation
THE ON-OFF government relationship with the Muslim Council of Britain is, for the moment, off. But if the usual pattern repeats itself, it won’t be long before the MCB is once more being courted by ministers and civil servants. But far from being part of the solution, the MCB represents almost everything that is wrong with the authorities’ response to the threat of militant Islam.
The MCB was created in the 1990s, urged on by the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard, to provide the government with a point of contact with the Muslim community. It is now an umbrella group for around 400 mosques and other Muslim organisations and claims to be “the most forceful, most reasonable and most representative spokesperson for the British Muslim community”.
Whether those claims are true or not, the MCB has been lamentable in its response to the rise of militant Islamism. Not surprising, given that it has strong associations with the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami — the sister party of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
It also has links to the fundamentalist group Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, which has 41 branches in Britain. The Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith website proclaims: “The disbelievers are misguided and their ways based on sick or deviant views concerning their societies, their universe and their very existence.”
The latest row over Daoud Abdullah is not in the least bit surprising given that the MCB’s leaders have a habit of appearing to condone almost any statement by any Muslim, however outrageous. In an interview on Panorama in 2005, the then general secretary, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, repeatedly refused to condemn Ahl-e-Hadith, which believes that “imitating the Kuffar [non-Muslims] leads to a permanent abode in hellfire”. Sir Iqbal said that “we must accept the reality” of diversity within the Muslim community.
Sacranie was at that time a trustee of the Union of Good, chaired by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was repeatedly fawned over by Ken Livingstone during his time as Mayor of London and believes that: “We must plant the love of death in the Islamic nation.”
Inayat Bunglawala, the MCB’s spokesman and assistant secretary general, is a regular across the media in his role as a supposedly moderate voice. Bunglawala believes that the media is controlled by Jews: “The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade and Alan Yentob ... [They are] close friends… so that’s what they mean by a ‘free media’.” Mr Bunglawala also has a long history of support for extremists.
As chairman of the Saudi-funded East London Mosque, the current secretary general of the MCB, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, invited Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam at the Ka’ba mosque in Mecca (the most important shrine in the Muslim world), to London. The imam believes: “Read history and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers... the scum of the human race ‘whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs ...’ These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption.”
This is what is described as a moderate view. In July 2006, Bari welcomed Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, a Bangladeshi MP and member of Jamaat-eIslami, to the East London Mosque. Sayeedi has said that the UK and the US “deserve all that is coming to them” for overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan, and has compared Bangladeshi Hindus to excrement.
The MCB is not the solution. It is the problem.