Earlier this year at a City Circle event someone asked Inayat Bunglwala to cite the Muslim Council of Britain’s biggest achievement over the past ten years. I’m told he was genuinely at a loss to come up with an answer.
My hostility towards Hindu, Sikh and Muslim “community leaders” is no secret, for reasons I outlined in this article last year. I genuinely feel they make life worse for all of us. One has to pay a bit of attention to understand how they do this.
The Hindu Forum, run by Ramesh Kallidai, wants to separate Hindus from other brown people so it can get funding as the only Hindu representative. It managed to get some more cash recently by launching something called Hindu Aid. It has whipped up plenty of silly controversies in the past. It is linked to the RSS in India, which has its own anti-Sikh and anti-Muslim agenda. Ramesh Kallidai manifested this by making unsubstantiated allegations about Muslims forcibly converting Hindu/Sikh girls earlier this year. The Met Police has yet to be referred a single case on this claim.
While the HFB mostly wants money, the Sikh Federation wants Khalistan. It is also frustrated that it doesn’t get enough attention so its chief asks Sikhs to get more angry. And it continually gets politicians to come to its events so it can slowly push the Khalistan agenda. None of the stupid politicians who support it know its background of course. Since Sikhs and Hindus aren’t constantly in the media, these organisations don’t have a media profile and so keep looking for the next controversy to whip up so they’ll get some press attention and eventually some money. They’ve learnt about Labour’s colonial approach to brown people.
So what exactly does the MCB want? What is its purpose for existing? It has a huge media profile; it doesn’t do that badly for money (compared to the Hindus/Sikhs) and its position as the numero uno Muslim org isn’t under threat. So what is its point?
It does a bad job of representing since polls constantly put its approval rating amongst Muslims between 10% – 15%. Even Bush has better ratings. It does a terrible job of representing Muslims because the two Bs (Bari and Bunglwala) do a brilliant job of annoying the hell out of everyone when they open their mouths.
As Dal Nun Strong says:
I can understand that Muslim representative groups must appear to represent ordinary Muslims in their foibles and attitudes. This seems to me a necessary and laudable position. But surely this could be compatible with offering advice to their constituency as to how best to avoid jarring and damaging situations that might give rise to negative press reports?
I mean, after all, what benefit is there in representing a community in a manner that doesnâ€™t admit the tensions, contradictions and difficulties that any impartial observer knows full well are there? Iâ€™m fairly certain that if the MCB took an approach to multiculturalism that celebrated the multiple cultures within the Muslim communities resident in Britain, itâ€™d make more sense. Then we could have a national-level discussion that was more accurate and better focused.
I’ll accept that the vast majority of the (right-wing) media is hostile to Muslims. In which case, isn’t it better for the MCB to be more tactful so they don’t exacerbate this paranoia? I think Dal Nun Strong’s point, that the MCB benefits by taking a hardline position, is also correct. By taking a confrontational attitude they satisfy their hardline members, while indicating to Muslims that they are their only saviours. As I’ve said before, if my only impression of British Muslims came from the MCB, then I’d be pretty paranoid too. I suspect the main reason only 23% of people agreed that: “Islam â€“ as distinct from Islamic fundamentalist groups â€“ poses a threat to Western liberal democracy,” was because people know Muslims personally and don’t see the MCB as representing everyone.
There are serious problems that need to be dealt with: challenging the government’s attack on our civil liberties (especially of British Muslims); dealing with media bias and outright lies about Muslims; openly challenging the extremism of groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. But the MCB is not up to these tasks because it doesn’t have the credibility, with govt ministers or most on the liberal-left. Labour then has little incentive to listen to its demands and Muslims lose out because people aren’t sympathetic to the organisation pushing that agenda. Someone else needs to step up to the task.
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Filed in: Hindu,Muslim,Organisations,Sikh