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

- STEPHEN POL­LARD Religion · Middle East News · Politics · Islam · United Kingdom · Michael Howard · Muslim Brotherhood · Cambridge Union Society · Yusuf al-Qaradawi · Ken Livingstone · Livingstone · London · Grant Shapps · Michael Grade · Bari · United States of America · Afghanistan · Islamophobia · Muslim Council of Britain · Jamaat-e-Islami · Panorama · Mayor of London · Alan Yentob · East London Mosque · Mecca · Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais · Delwar Hossain Sayeedi

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.

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