Today a reader drew our attention to the Government’s publication of its long-delayed and controversial review into the Muslim Brotherhood.
At no point did the authors of the review nor representatives of the government seek to ascertain the Muslim Council of Britain’s position, even though it has made assertions that are untrue and without foundation. The MCB answers each of the assertions below.
1. The Muslim Council of Britain rejects entirely the insinuation that it is either soft on terrorism or ‘have consistently opposed programmes by successive Governments to prevent terrorism’ as stated by the findings (Number 38). The MCB has and will continue to oppose terrorism and extremism in all its forms.
Our record is clear. Since we were established we have initiated campaigns to encourage Muslim communities to cooperate with the police to confront terrorism.
And yes, in this great democracy of ours, we have also critiqued government policy when it comes to terrorism, so that we can all confront the threat. The best defence against extremism surely is one where civil society groups and others can critique and at times disagree with government policy. The last time we checked, this country of ours is unlike dictatorships and autocracies elsewhere.
2. The Muslim Council of Britain was founded by a cross-section of British Muslim organisations belonging to various traditions and tendencies that are found in Islam. We are proud to have both Shi’i and Sunni groups affiliated to MCB, and we strive to deepen our diversity.
Some 250 affiliates came together to form the MCB, all as important as each other. Not one single organisation dominated the founding of MCB, as the findings (number 23) suggests.
3. It is simply untrue to state as the findings do (number 24) that the government has had no substantive dialogue with the MCB after relations were temporarily suspended. In fact relations resumed in late 2009/early 2010.
Two Cabinet Ministers attended an MCB dinner in Spring 2010 and in 2011, the then Attorney General was the Chief Guest at an MCB Awards Ceremony. Of course, we would wish our relationship to be more strong as critical friends, but we are acutely aware that ideologues with dubious links to Islamophobes and linked to the Conservative Party have consistently tried to discredit the MCB and prevent an independent, British Muslim organisation from engaging in the public space.
We will continue to put our case forward, in the interest of our community, and for the common good of our country.
4. All of our affiliates are encouraged to seek the common good and help our society be a better place for all faiths and none.
The findings state that the Islamic Society of Britain has ‘distanced itself from the MCB’. The ISB like the Muslim Association of Britain has been one of the many founding affiliates of the MCB. They are represented in the National Council, and the previous Secretary General was a former president of the organisation. We hope their vision continues to enrich the MCB and act as an example for other affiliates to follow.
The Muslim Association of Britain is a national affiliate of MCB and, like all affiliates, are encouraged to seek the common good and uphold the rule of law. We understand that they have made positive contributions in the fight against terrorism.
5. The Muslim Council of Britain is a British organisation, with affiliates who are constitutionally bound to be registered in the United Kingdom. We have no affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other foreign organisation.
Many bigots have tried to label the Muslim Council of Britain as a foreign organisation. It is a shame that our loyalty and commitment to this country of ours continues to be questioned. We are concerned that the findings of this review is at risk of treading that path.