Although I’ve frequently explained the process and the reasoning behind which the Labour government has engaged with brown people in the UK, especially Muslims, I haven’t explained it properly in one article. Thankfully now I don’t have to because Steve at Pub Philosopher has done it for me. An excerpt:
Just as the maharajahs were, the community leaders are offered a deal. In return for controlling the more violent elements and helping to keep order, they are co-opted into the outer fringes of the establishment. Membership of local committees, involvement in state funded projects and consultation on local issues help to build up the local leaders’ prestige. Political parties, especially the Labour party, often sign up the community leaders as local council candidates, drawing them and, hopefully, their communities into the party fold.
For the Muslim Council of Britain, this political patronage was especially important. Although it was not officially formed until 1997, its roots go back to the time of the Rushdie troubles. The formation of the MCB was enthusiastically encouraged by the Home Office under Michael Howard, during the mid 1990s. Once again, the British establishment, when faced with rioting brown people, resorted to its tried and tested solution – create an organisation to channel the discontent. That way, you know who you are dealing with and you can exert some control over the unruly mob.
Iqbal Sacranie may have had the full maharajah treatment, going from organising anti-Rushdie protests to sitting with government ministers in ten years, but he couldn’t stop the bombing of the London tube. Sir Iqbal got his knighthood but didn’t keep his side of the bargain. Although he may not have known it, he was only invited into the corridors of power on the assumption that he could channel Muslim aggression into the political process. Now that the MCB has both failed to stop the extremists and appears to be colluding with some of them, the government is looking around for new allies in the form of the British Muslim Forum. Of course, this won’t work either.
It’s also worth noting Iqbal Sacranie changed the constitution to ensure he could stay in power for another two years, got his knighthood, and then went completely quiet. Since then the MCB has become extremely critical of the government. It’s all a coincidence of course. Any wonder the Hindu and Sikh organisations want to jump on this bandwagon? Is it any wonder the Sikh Federation, “has told Sikh youths to assert their identity even if it means turning to radicalism”.
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Filed in: Muslim,Organisations