IDS denies backing Mend
EX-TORY LEADER Iain Duncan Smith has dismissed suggestions he supports the controversial advocacy group Mend after he attended an Islamophobia Awareness Month (IAM) event it organised in Parliament last Wednesday.
The ex-Work and Pensions Minister said he recognised there were “genuine concerns” that Mend — the Muslim Engagement and Development group — “may not be the force for community cohesion as is claimed”.
Mend has been criticised by the Home Office over its opposition to the government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent, and partnerships with clerics and organisations who have expressed views that are antisemitic, homophobic and anti-Western.
Mr Duncan Smith said he intended to discuss how MPs can be made aware of groups that, he said, “do not promote community cohesion” with Sara Khan, the government’s Commissioner for Countering Extremism.
He issued his statement after he appeared alongside Labour’s Naz Shah, fellow Conservative MP Peter Bottomley and other parliamentarians at the launch of IAM.
Dr Shazad Amin, Mend chief executive, spoke at the event and said the British public perceive Islamophobia to be a real problem in society and suggested IAM was an important platform for discussing the issue.
Writing on Wednesday on his Facebook page, Mr Duncan Smith said: “I have seen my attendance is being used to suggest I was there to support the organisation Mend. This is incorrect.”