What is the point of the MCB?


by Sunny
16th November, 2007 at 9:17 am    

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 doesn’t admit the tensions, contradictions and difficulties that any impartial observer knows full well are there? I’m fairly certain that if the MCB took an approach to multiculturalism that celebrated the multiple cultures within the Muslim communities resident in Britain, it’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 – as distinct from Islamic fundamentalist groups – 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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  1. Boyo — on 16th November, 2007 at 9:55 am  

    - I suspect the main reason only 23% of people agreed that: “Islam – as distinct from Islamic fundamentalist groups – poses a threat to Western liberal democracy,” –

    Yes but another 30 per cent agreed that it poses some threat, which makes over half the country suspecting their Muslim neighbour. How terribly sad. And I agree, the MCB aren’t helping – yet it is in their interest (and the interest of all these groups) to promote difference which = separation = suspicion = alienation = terrorism among the few. Which is why Islamists, for example, who protest they preach non-violence are so disenegnuous, the Sinn Fein, if you like, to AQ’s IRA.

  2. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 10:14 am  

    What a cowardly stance Sunny. Think about it. 23% have swallowed the media pill, and you are supporting the argument that it may have something to do with the way the MCB may have reacted.

    Same cowardice from Dal Nun Strong. And anyone else who goes round saying, I haven’t heard enough denunciations of terrorism

    This is your worst justification to date. I for one will not be relying on your analysis in this sphere.

  3. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 10:48 am  

    Sunny you criticise the MCB but then expect someone else to step up to the task…doesn’t this just reinforce the whole “individuals thinking they represent the Muslim communities”??? Not one person in the public eye who is Muslim represents me. They are usually old pakistani men who haven’t got a clue about what young muslims are going through. If not them, then some media luvvy who says the right thing at the right time and possibly looks good on tele or has managed to escape the evil clutches of HT…blah blah…

  4. swaraj — on 16th November, 2007 at 10:57 am  

    Sunny,

    Good article. I’m fe up with these ‘community leaders’ trying to make eachother look bad and themselves look better. What none of them has grasped yet is that to the average Daily Mail reader – we’re all the same, it doesn’t matter if you’re Hindu, Sikh or Muslim – We’re brown therefore we’re a threat!

    I’ve worked with both the HFB & MCB in the past and I can honestly say that I don’t know what either of them has acheived that better the ‘community’.

    The MCB are in a difficult position but they must stand up to the Islamic fundamentalism that appears to be spreading across the UK.

    The HFB appear to want nothing more than money and fame – they don’t actually do anything. They don’t denounce their links to RSS and they seem to pipe up at the most idiotic stories of anti-hinduism.

    What these organisations should be doing is working together to show those Daily Mail readers that we aren’t all Islamic fundamentalists just because we’re brown. We must stop having this seige mentality – it’s OK to say we don’t agree with these community leaders – they dont speak for all of us.

  5. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 11:44 am  

    Swaraj, In principle I agree with your stance. My issue is that we have these types of articles several times a year. In themselves they are fine, but they have not moved forward.

    I would have been much more comfortable with an article based around your post.

    How do we move forward: for starters we need to expose the bullshit spewing out of the media. That could have made a decent post, and perhaps (patronising though it may have seemed) how the MCB ( and hopefully in conjunction with other community organisations) could tackle the issues. Finally and very importantly how PP can play a part in that counter strategy.

    That is the article I am waiting for.

    You would have thought that the tabloid-terror headlines such as ’2000 Schoolboy Terrorists’ might have had its own blog on PP? But no its the castigation of Mr Bari for daring to suggest we are speakwalking into horror.

    That is my issue.

    Whether MCB speaks for me or not is irrelevant, what is relevant they have highlighted some serious concerns which have a resonance with many ordinary folk, and all PP can say is, again, what a bunch of idiots.

  6. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 11:53 am  

    Refresh..totally agree

  7. swaraj — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:03 pm  

    Refresh, agree too. But what happens is that its all talk and no action. I’d love to do an article about it – but my main knowledge is about HFB and I think it would be a little bias as they are not what they claim to be – I’ve seen it first hand.

    These community groups get figureheads who want personal recognition and fame and the issues they should be talking about get left behind.

    I’m now much more of the mind that no-one organisation represents me. I have so many influences in my life that how could my relgion be the only influence and a community group say this is how it is.

    We have a greater fight – that is to change the minds of those Daily Mail readers – they are the majority in this country and they believe the headlines they read.

    We have show that we can be sensible and denounce stupidity and extremism from our communities but stand up for them when its right to do so – its not one side or the other anymore; here is a middle ground but we’re too scared to go there.

  8. Ravi Naik — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    “Whether MCB speaks for me or not is irrelevant, what is relevant they have highlighted some serious concerns which have a resonance with many ordinary folk, and all PP can say is, again, what a bunch of idiots.”

    Refresh, so your issue is all about tabloid headlines?

    It is very easy to point fingers and to use the victim card, which is what these organizations do, it is perhaps much more difficult to come up with constructive ideas to bridge the gap that obviously exists between communities, and perhaps state some hard truths about their own camp, which is what they don’t.

    That gap is not between muslims and non-muslims, but instead betwen secularists and fundamentalists. And for these organizations, there is little for them to narrow this gap, or they will cease to exist.

    Objectively speaking, the MCB has done very little. At worse, keeps up with a narrative that only makes tabloids happy.

  9. Dal Nun Strong — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

    Just a clarification so I don’t get mis-represented. I do not believe that the MCB’s antics are the primary reason why the YouGov survey came up as it did.

    The primary reason why people feel that Islam is perceived as a threat to British democracy is because scores of mad-eyed people in Britain and across the world have screamed out “Islam” as their justification for condemning whatever Western policy irritated them most at that moment, and a handful of the above mad-eyed people have then proceeded to murder civilians in a particularly nihilistic manner.

    Where the MCB comes in, is that on matters of daily life it sells a vision of a homogenous, IKEA-flatpack Muslim population. A Muslim population that universally wants this, this and this, and deplores this, this and this. Now you might want to buy such flatpack products, or you might not – and in the case of the wider population it’s obvious that they don’t really like what’s on offer (see survey). There’s no point trying to negotiate anything with an IKEA manager – they’ve no control over the products; and likewise there doesn’t appear to be any point in negotiating anything with the MCB because they’ve no ability or even intention to concede anything.

    If I was the media I’d love the MCB – always on-call, always ready with a quote. But as someone who cares about the long-term future of Muslims in this country, I’d prefer them to place more of their efforts into helping us arrive at solutions to our own intra-community problems. Heck, even al-Qaradawi’s European Council on Fatwas and Research has done more on this score than the MCB has.

    DNS

  10. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

    swaraj,

    Pointing to Daily Mail readers, a bunch of reprobates btw, as if they were a majority in this country, is somewhat belied by the Daily Mails circulation figures, 2.2 million or so. That you think they represent mainstream thought is however, quite worrying.

  11. Sid — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    hah! excellent comment by DNS above. My thoughts completely.

  12. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    Douglas, well it’s worrying when you see certain headlines in The Sun as well, which has a far higher readership.
    As for the mcb or any other organisation, I think commentators are giving them the publicity they crave and wouldn’t get normally. This whole mcb debate is getting boring and frankly sounds likes a perpetual rant that achieves nothing. We all know what ppl think of “Bungles” but seriously, if most of the muslim population don’t take him seriously or even know who he is..why should anyone else? Let him retire on his politics show on islam channel and plz forget him..why he is commenting on CIF is beyond me…get someone else plz…instead of ppl who make a career out of commenting and nothing else.

  13. Cover Drive — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:52 pm  

    I agree with Sunny completely. The MCB and HFB have achieved very little. They are typical of any fundamentalist organisation: create the feeling their communities are being oppressed and act as their saviours by championing their causes. At the same time they encourage extremism in their communities.

    The majority of mosques in this country now are more Wahabi in ideology. The funds collected in mosques are being channelled to fund terrorism in overseas. This is not something new, its been going for a long time. I’m sure the MCB is aware of all this.

    The government always wants to be seen showing respect to minority communities. I think they have been taking an head in the sand approach with the likes of MCB by not caring enough what they’ve doing. As long as the government is seen to care then that’s what matters to them. A few “inter-faith” meetings now and then suits ministers fine.

    I would love to see MCB disbanded but I don’t see that happening. The government certainly won’t do it because it might cause too much offence. Its up to ordinary people in the community to show what kind of leadership they want.

  14. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    you can add ed hussain to that list and any other future ex -HT alumni who have suddenly found the light and want to tell the world..clap clap..get over yourselves..you represent nothing but your inflated egos!

  15. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 12:56 pm  

    cover drive – could you please back up your statements on majority wahabi mosques? or is this purely anecdotal…did you send a questionnaire out? did you travel the length and breadth of Britain, clipboard in hand demanding to seek the “Truth”?
    Yes it is up to ordinary ppl, but who is ordinary? and who will they “represent”?

  16. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

    Dal Nun Strong

    I hope I didn’t misrepresent you. That was not my intention.

    Where is this vanguard to tackle the tabloid-terror? Or death by a thousand headlines?

    MCB in itself is irrelevant, as will be Gordon Brown when he leaves office, as will Ikea when the next big enterprise comes along – criticise the organisation where its due. But not everything and not all the time.

    So to the heart of the matter – what do we do about the media? I think someone tried the Max Hastings route.

    And for anyone else who wishes to jump in and add their own whataboutery – why don’t you hold off and wait for the next thread to come along – they are like buses.

  17. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

    swaraj, I for one would be very interested in your article, hopefully giving some pointers how we move forward.

  18. fugstar — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    Need to have smaller expectations pickled pirates and eventually stop taking out your religion issues (south asian or not) on small and pretty voluntary organisations.

    I think of it a little like the muslim league (nonsectarian and multi culti) but without all that landlord mess. Its an umbrella organisation to which anybody can contribute to if they want to. The organisation in of itself is not the point.

    Making an umbrella for organisations, esp muslim ones is a challenge in of itself.

    Oh an another one, they seem to have managed to make hajj easier over the years.

    Oh what a pity its not more pro athiest, liberal, neocon, same sex couples, animal rights, climate change, fuel pricing…. pffft!

  19. swaraj — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    Douglas,

    If you think the country that we live in isn’t overwhelmingly “daliy mail reader” then you are very much mistaken. The circulation may only be 2.2 million but its widely held view that the figure is by no means accurate when you think about how many people may have actually read it. Thats the figure they sell, not what is read.

    Yes, we live in a country where the majority of people read those tabloids and believe them. We know most of itstrash – but they don’t and thats what needs to change.

  20. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

    I think that Sofia hits the nail on the head in #4:

    “Sunny you criticise the MCB but then expect someone else to step up to the task…doesn’t this just reinforce the whole “individuals thinking they represent the Muslim communities”??? Not one person in the public eye who is Muslim represents me. They are usually old pakistani men who haven’t got a clue about what young muslims are going through. If not them, then some media luvvy who says the right thing at the right time and possibly looks good on tele or has managed to escape the evil clutches of HT…blah blah…”

    It is not that the MCB are useless, it is that there should not be such a group in the first place. Sunny has long been saying the same thing, but I suppose that he wanted to take the MCB’s defenders on in another way.

  21. John — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

    It is easy to critise MCB, and seek holes as and when you please, without looking at what it really does. I’ll be the first to say that the MCB has many faults, and it got it wrong.

    But it was set-up on noble intentions, that of bringing together the rich diversity of Islam. It has still a lot to do on this. But when talking about the challange of finding a place for the various strands of Islam to engage with each other, can you find me a comparison? The MCB is the only democratic Muslim body, with regular elections, a time-limit for its leader, and a mechanism to have both the Shia and Sunni strands of Islam represented.

    http://www.mcb.org.uk/faq/faq.php

    Thats why I’d be interested to know why Dal Nun Strong suggests ‘Where the MCB comes in, is that on matters of daily life it sells a vision of a homogenous, IKEA-flatpack Muslim population.’

    Where? I just had a cursory look on their website. On the much maligned discussion of when Eid al-Fitr is, the MCB recognises in its press statement that Eid is on different days, for different people, depnding on what tradition you follow. (http://www.mcb.org.uk/media/presstext.php?ann_id=270) Similarly that Education report that Sunny and the right-wing bigots like so much to quote, we find, in the mentioning of festival and giving children days off the importance of Ashura.

    You have a point that MCB needs to do more to get its affiliates to think about the place of Islam in modern day Britain. It is not a fatwa giving body, but it needs to harness the rich diversity of Islam to think about these things.

    I’m not going to defend MCB, but MCB bashing as Sunny has pointed out, is the flavour of the month. And I can’t help noticing the sense of schadenfreude amongst the posters and of course Sunny.

    It is understandable that Sunny Hundle would want to sideline the MCB in this way so that he can have sway in government with his new organisation whose agenda is to sideline those who wish to be identified by their faith rather than their (Asian) identity.

  22. Cover Drive — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    Correction: almost half of Britain’s mosques are Deobandi/Wahabi. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2402973.ece

    If you go to Birmingham which has the second largest number of mosques after London most of them are Deobandi.

  23. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    John:

    “You have a point that MCB needs to do more to get its affiliates to think about the place of Islam in modern day Britain. It is not a fatwa giving body, but it needs to harness the rich diversity of Islam to think about these things.

    But why does that rich diversity need to be harnessed? Why can’t Muslims just live their lives as individuals, without bodies popping up and claiming to represent them?

    “It is understandable that Sunny Hundle would want to sideline the MCB in this way so that he can have sway in government with his new organisation whose agenda is to sideline those who wish to be identified by their faith rather than their (Asian) identity.”

    You have discovered his secret plan then? The moment he has been waiting for all these years?

  24. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    good points sofia in no. 4 and rumbold 24

  25. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

    Rumbold

    “It is not that the MCB are useless, it is that there should not be such a group in the first place. ”

    If you were to translate that across the spectrum, then I have to say you would need to dismantle a lot of groups. Would it go as far as dismantling political parties, environmental pressure groups, gentlemens’ clubs, RAC, AA (as was), CBI, Trade Unions etc. etc.

    I’ve heard this before and never quite understood what it meant.

  26. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:47 pm  

    Refresh:

    “If you were to translate that across the spectrum, then I have to say you would need to dismantle a lot of groups. Would it go as far as dismantling political parties, environmental pressure groups, gentlemens’ clubs, RAC, AA (as was), CBI, Trade Unions etc. etc.

    I’ve heard this before and never quite understood what it meant.”

    If one joins an environmental lobby group (for example), oen joins it to help lobby for particular issues. You do not expect the lobby group to say that it represents all environmentalists, becuase it does not. If one belongs to a gentlemen’s club, then oen would not appreciate it if someone from the club went on TV and said “this is what all members of gentlemen’s clubs think.”

    The MCB’s problem is that it purports to represent the ‘Muslim community’. It does not. I can belong to groups or give money to them, yet I would be angry if they ‘represented me’. My views, combined with thousands/millions of others are too complex to be melted down into one position, which is why groups that claim to do that are wrong.

  27. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

    Rumbold

    Yours is a fair point. Is that what the MCB does though? Or are you saying when the CBI speaks, it too should say, for example, “according to our members this is what you should do with interest rates”.

    Now I am sure you will agree not all members will have been consulted on a day to day basis – its quite possible most of them will not have expressed a view – ever.

    The head of the CBI will have taken account of inputs from its sub-cttees before it goes off to make statements on behalf of the membership.

    And if he goes off misrepresenting the membership regularly, no doubt that is recognised and he is chucked out.

    Same for any other organisation.

    However when the media comes to report on matters, it too will use shorthand and use phrases like ‘industry spokeman’ etc etc.

  28. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    Refresh:

    “However when the media comes to report on matters, it too will use shorthand and use phrases like ‘industry spokeman’ etc etc.”

    I agree with you that the media has been one of the biggest culprits in this regard, as they happily quote such spokesmen as if they were representative of everyone.

    “Yours is a fair point. Is that what the MCB does though? Or are you saying when the CBI speaks, it too should say, for example, “according to our members this is what you should do with interest rates”.

    Now I am sure you will agree not all members will have been consulted on a day to day basis – its quite possible most of them will not have expressed a view – ever.”

    I would happily abolish the CBI as well. I think that if such organisations exist, they may speak for ther members after asking them their views, but they should never claim to represent the whole of that particular ‘community’.

  29. GM — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

    I think this term ‘Daily Mail Reader’ is problematic and a little lazy. It’s homogenising the two/five million odd that buy the paper/read the paper every day into a rigid unitary group. Daily titles are no longer as politically emblematic as they were – most people don’t buy newspapers as political agents these days, but as consumers. More factors than ‘do I agree with the general trend of this paper’s headlines’ go into a consumer decision to buy a paper: supplements, competitions, other marketing tools, how good the sport section is or the business/legal pages etc…The nature of print media has changed – competition from new media and magazines forced it to diversify its content. Consequently it has diversified its audience. And even when choice of paper was more of a political statement, this doesn’t mean there wasn’t diversity of view amongst readers of a particular title, just as there is diversity of view among PP readers.

    It would not do to generalise any other social grouping, so why do so with what is effectively a consumer group? And what value does it have? While there may be amongst readers of the Daily Mail more people of certain views that would be held in some contempt by many on this thread, it is surely more complicated than all of them thinking the same. After all, my Mum is an occasional Daily Mail reader – she wants to win a cottage in the countryside…or something.

  30. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

    Rumbold, so in the real world we have organisations.

    How good and effective they are is down to their membership and how they are received is politics.

    I refer you to the Countryside Alliance, Fox Hunting and the Petrol Price Protests of yesteryear.

  31. Leon — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:11 pm  

    Those that are critising Sunny or defending the MCB still haven’t managed to answer of the question the little B didn’t answer: exactly what has the MCB achieved for its constituency in the last ten years?

  32. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

    books for schools project which has actually been taken up by quite a few schools..and has had good feedback..it may not be big but it was a good project.
    I am not an mcb fan, nor am i going to completely place it in the reject bin..i think it’s role needs to be seen as more of a pan UK pr org…not a representation group…if it is going to do PR then it needs a lot of reorganisation and soul searching…as well as getting properly trained, articulate individuals who are able to gauge the general issues around the various muslim communities..this will only come through research, mapping exercises, focus groups and consultation

  33. Sunny — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

    Refresh, I’ve already highlighted what are the main issues: civil liberties, the media and Muslim extremism. They can’t exist without each other because unless HT or their kind are around, the media has little fodder to use. Who is going to do something about the poison that these groups spread? You? The MCB? The MI5? Gordon Brown? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we resolve terrorism.

    On the media, I agree, that bullshit needs to be challenged. But when the MCB itself is so great at putting its foot in its mouth, how exactly do they make the situation any better?

    I pointed out earlier this week how the MCB wanted censorship for what it hated (Salman Rushdie’s book) but then cites free speech for hate literature in Muslim bookshops. How can any sane person not read that and see it as evidence of Bunglawala’s double-standards?

    Sofia – I agree, but my problem with “community leaders” is that they want to set themselves up as representatives. Instead I’d like to see an org that mobilises resources and people to deal specifically with those problems above that Muslims are facing.

  34. bananabrain — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

    i think the distinction made above by refresh is instructive. whilst the CBI (which is sometimes sensible and sometimes not) is a membership organisation and, as such, has to consult its membership, the MCB purports to be a representative organisation for “muslims” – whatever that means. your mosque, or yourself, may affiliate with the MCB, but if it doesn’t or you don’t, they still end up making out like they’re speaking for you. that’s probably why there should be other organisations and then a representative umbrella organisation so everyone gets a say. that’s what we’ve done with the board of deputies, but it still doesn’t prevent chiefy sacks for example speaking for “the jewish community” when in reality he only represents part of it, a large part of it admittedly, but still not all. that’s the trouble with religious affiliation as opposed to membership of a trade association.

    now over to dr seuss, who i have been reading to mini-banana:

    “big B little B, what begins with B? bari’s banglas, bungalawala banging on bitterly”

    “big M little M, many muslims moaning – and maundering so mawkishly about misunderstanding.”

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  35. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

    Sunny these probs will exist unless and until the muslim communities do more to sort out the internal inequalities we suffer from. We cannot point the finger and then conveniently forget to sort out our own religious differences. Of course these can be done alongside one another. The mcb is not some faceless org. although it has done a good job of becoming one. It is actually made up of some very well meaning ppl. You may not like their approach, as I don’t..but surely it should be able to change its focus and its raison d’etre. What hope is there for an org that has no proper female representation to then sort out other serious issues to do with what the various muslim communities are facing???

  36. Leon — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    Books for schools? Ten years and thats it?

  37. inayat — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

    Sunny: ‘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.’

    Oh dear – the sure tell-tale sign of a BS being spoken. A completely unsourced allegation. Do you want to name your source or get your story corroborated from Yahya Birt who was the chair at the event I attended?

    The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear. See, not so difficult.

    I can accept your no fan of the MCB, Sunny. But how is your own New Generation Network think-tank getting along? It must be coming up to a year since it was launched amidst a lot of hype in the Guardian. Care to list its achievements in the past year or is it that you have come to realise it takes brains and a lot of voluntary effort – not just a collection of egos – to run a voluntary organisation.

  38. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

    Bananabrain, that’s well put. It takes me back to what I had said many months ago, about an umbrella organisation for muslims. Although I understand they have affiliates. Structurally they are probably OK.

    Not sure about what you are reading to mini-banana, though.

  39. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

    Refresh:

    “Rumbold, so in the real world we have organisations.

    How good and effective they are is down to their membership and how they are received is politics.

    I refer you to the Countryside Alliance, Fox Hunting and the Petrol Price Protests of yesteryear.”

    But these organisation existed for specific purposes, and one could leave them if they wanted to. How does a Muslim distance themselves from the MCB which claims to represent their ‘community’?

    Inayat:

    “The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear. See, not so difficult.”

    Is that really an achievement though? If anything, the reason for a greater ‘sense of faith identity’ has occured because of the focus on Muslims since 9/11. Again, not sure why that is a good thing, as Muslims are under more pressure than before from all sides. Before 9/11, they could get on with their individual lives in relative peace.

  40. Random Guy — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

    Woah Refresh @ 39, I think you misread what bananabrain meant by mini-banana…..or was it me?

  41. swaraj — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

    Throwing mud. see this is what happens when ‘community leaders’ think they speak for everyone. Inayat – you’re saying no more than Sunny’s NGN’s done no more than MCB.

    Those on the outside look in and see these brown people arguing with eachother – no wonder why they don’t take us seriously. We just keep getting swept to one side.

  42. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

    Random Guy, I dare not think what you might have thought.

  43. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

    Inayat, I don’t think that has been mcb’s greatest achievement. Nor do I think mcb represents muslims in this country, more like a particular group of muslims. I also think your stint on Islam channel has done you more damage than any good. Why does the MCB not have any meaningful female representation. If you feel you do, please point them out to me as I have never seen them.
    Leon you only asked to mention something good…not how many…I could count a number of things individuals have done in spite of the mcb not because of it..

  44. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    And also, putting religious affiliation above all is not the perfect utopia you envisage. It also has its limitations, stereotypes and issues. Especially when it comes to the majority pakistani Muslim communities in this country.

  45. The Heresiarch — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    “Colonial approach” sums it up exactly; creating and manipulating “representative” organisations that appear to speak for their communities is all about indirect control. It goes by the name “multiculturalism” these days, but once it went by the more honest and accurate name of “divide and rule”.

    As for Inayat B, he totally lets the cat out of the bag with his desire to create a “greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear.” Why, exactly, should a religious identity be more modern or relevant than an ethnic one? It sounds like a step backwards to me. But then that’s what happens when you attempt to create an identity politics around what should be a private religious conviction, or indeed lack thereof.

    The MCB appears to be a community organisation speaking on behalf of a large element of society, but at the same time acts as though it is a theological organisation, a counterpart to the Roman Catholic Church, for example, speaking on behalf of a religion. Thus it propogates the myth that Muslims are a religious group obsessed with religion, whereas many Muslims, like many nominal Christians (the 70% who ticked the box marked “Christian” on the census form but who never go to church) aren’t particularly interested in religion.

    In his book “Covering Islam” the late Edward Said had many interesting things to say about how the term “Islam” falsely imposes a monolithic identity on something that is multifaceted and full of contradictions. To do so serves the interests of Western leaders who want an enemy, but it equally serves the interests of those who want to be able to speak on behalf of “Islam”.

    The best way to properly divorce the political from the religious would be to scrap the notion of “Muslim community” altogether.

  46. Sunny — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Care to list its achievements in the past year or is it that you have come to realise it takes brains and a lot of voluntary effort – not just a collection of egos – to run a voluntary organisation.

    Maybe if we got all the funding that the MCB gets, then I could list it for you Inayat. And plus, our year compared to your ten years? I think you’re selling the MCb short aren’t you?

    You say: The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear

    Neither categories are relevant or irrelevant, and this is why your approach is so silly. People are brown and they are also Muslim – they are different identities to the same person as the British identity is. Pity you don’t understand that.

    Besides, the media attacks on Muslims and 9/11 have done much more to push that ‘Muslim identity’ than you could have managed. The MCB has done nothing on this… if you were able to actually influence Muslim opinion then you would have better ratings amongst Muslims, wouldn’t you?

  47. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Assuming Inayat is the Inayat.

    I agree with swaraj.

    Inayat, its an opportunity to engage with us here. I don’t think there is a safe passage over the next few years without us all engaging with each other given the issues at stake.

    With regards NGN, I want it to gather momentum so that it can deliver on its commitments. At the same time I want the MCB to look outwards and engage with its membership and the wider community, and be seen to be doing it.

    That is not to say it does not do that. That is what I would like to see, and more of it.

  48. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

    And another thing Inayat, you mention egos…plz don’t tell me the MCB doesn’t have a bunch of old men with big egos

  49. Sunny — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    Sofia, I agree with all of what you say in #36. Either the MCB sorts out exactly what it’s there for and starts working for better inter-religious relations, or it should let someone else do it.

    But then Inayat loves all the attention so I’m not sure he’d acknowledge that when it comes to fostering better dialogue, the MCB has been absolutely crap for the past 10 years.

  50. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

    touche sofia, and heresiarch – yep, absolutely spot on.

  51. Random Guy — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    Refresh, it was your fault for confusing me.

  52. AsifB — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:12 pm  

    Inayat: “The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear. See, not so difficult.”

    So MCB is just like the Usual Suspects then. its biggest achievement has been convincing people it exists (and ‘represents’ etc)

    Not that everything MCB does is necessarily bad and ugly – but the long march incremental deoband/wahibbi preferences of some of its prime movers speaks for itself.

    My problem is not that some zealots exist among Muslims who want to represent/have dominion over ‘all Muslms/everyone’ – but that some non-Muslims apparently have such a low opinion of ‘Muslims’ they take and in the government’s case – promote certain groupings as reprsentative.

    This is reprehensible and happens to many non-white groups especially in the UK.

  53. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

    Imagine anyone taking a ‘white’ spokesman seriously? Giving them state fuding, and public prominence in the media.

  54. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    again i will say a lot of crap but some good…like a lot of “community organisations”. What people have failed to understand is that minority societies in the UK are in constant change. When in the 60s/70s/80s it was ok to call yourself an Asian as this is what we had been lumped together as, there has been a huge shift towards individual ethnic and religious identification. I don’t have an issue with this per se, but where I see the danger of this, is when it leads to further segregation and ghettoisation of the mindset. I feel that in another few years there will be no need for single religion organisations. Inayat I wonder if you recognise the limitations you have as an organisation. You recently had an representative on a religious tv programme..and the poor man got it all wrong. Do you media train your reps?

  55. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    exactly Rumbold.

    i think somone else ‘stepping up to the task’ should in all fairness, be subject to the same sort of critique.

  56. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:17 pm  

    And clearly Inayat and the MCB are not the only lovers of media attention around :-) it takes a few to make the media the circus it is.

  57. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:27 pm  

    Sonia:

    “I think somone else ’stepping up to the task’ should in all fairness, be subject to the same sort of critique.”

    I suspect they will be (after a period of time).

    “And clearly Inayat and the MCB are not the only lovers of media attention around it takes a few to make the media the circus it is.”

    Heh- you are right- it takes two to tango.

  58. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    Random Guy

    “Refresh, it was your fault for confusing me.”

    Not quite sure how, but I should have been clearer.

  59. inayat — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    Rumbold: ‘Is that really an achievement though?’

    I was asked for my view, you don’t have to agree with it! From the perspective of a faith-based organisation, like the MCB, helping to create a greater sense of faith identity is indeed important.

    swaraj: ‘Throwing mud…at each other’

    Please look into how many times Hundal has written about the MCB over the last couple of years and also on this thread. You will find that the mud throwing has largely been in one direction.

    Sofia: ‘Nor do I think mcb represents muslims in this country, more like a particular group of muslims.’

    The MCB does not claim to represent all Muslims – no organisation can. It is, however, the UK’s largest and most diverse Muslim umbrella body.

    Sofia: ‘I also think your stint on Islam channel has done you more damage than any good.’

    No problem – you are entitled to your views.

    Sofia: ‘Why does the MCB not have any meaningful female representation.’

    Good question and one that the MCB has been trying to address (not very successfully, I admit). If you look around you will find the story is regrettably mainly the same with other faith-based organisations too.

    Sunny: you started this thread with an untruth. Please substantiate your statement or apologise. Thanks.

    The rest of you – it was nice to pop in today, but I only did it because Sunny – not for the first time unfortunately – said something that was not true. If you would like to ask any questions of me then please do pop in to my Cif blogs. Salaams and best wishes.

  60. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    Refresh seems to bring out the sexual innuendos in people.

  61. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    agree with the media loving circus…cults of personalities and all that..

  62. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

    Inayat:

    “From the perspective of a faith-based organisation, like the MCB, helping to create a greater sense of faith identity is indeed important.”

    But not to the point where being a Muslim dominates all other ‘identities’.

  63. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

    “Refresh seems to bring out the sexual innuendos in people.”

    How that could have happened in this case I do not know!

    In any case we’ve no idea what Random Guy thought, so you may well be the culprit.

  64. Rumbold — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

    Not my fault Refresh- it is you. Just look at how excited Morgoth gets.

  65. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

    Inayat, you may be the largest and most diverse, but that doesn’t mean anything when you aren’t being more aggressive about issues such as female staff representation, not simply women representing “female” issues. I also don’t think you should compare yourself to other organisations by using bad practice as an excuse. If the reality is that your organisation is still riddled with the old boys network mentality then this has to change. Have you ever carried out consultations or reviews? What campaigns do you have? why not start one that will have general acceptance? CRB checks on imams for one, since they work with children and the vulnerable…why not restyle your organisation and refresh its mandate, not just follow the same old tired and unsuccessful formula?

  66. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    “Sofia: ‘Why does the MCB not have any meaningful female representation.’

    Good question and one that the MCB has been trying to address (not very successfully, I admit). If you look around you will find the story is regrettably mainly the same with other faith-based organisations too. ”

    HO HO – like that is some kind of excuse.

  67. Leon — on 16th November, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

    Leon you only asked to mention something good…not how many…I could count a number of things individuals have done in spite of the mcb not because of it..

    Well we’re talking about the MCB not what people have done in spite of it. Again, I didn’t ask for one example, I’m simply asking a reasonable question (any group that received tax payers money should be scrutinised), in the ten years the MCB has existed what exactly has it achieved?

    Is ‘creating a faith based id’ or books for schools good value for money?

  68. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

    Leon, as for the MCB receiving tax-payers money, do have details? As far as I could work out, they had one contract for a body of work. But not funding.

    If I am right, then it would be unfair to keep repeating this.

  69. sonia — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

    anyway, there’s been an awful cyclone in Bangladesh, and its time for the weekend open thread.

  70. Jai — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    You know what this country needs ? More Sufi dargahs and less power-driven ambitious uncle-types. Might counteract all the Wahabbisation that’s been going on amongst the Asian Muslim population, along with reminding them that they do actually have their own religious & historical heritage, and are not actually Arabs.

    Which leads me to my next point:

    The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear

    That’s one of the fundamental problems. Not only does this kind of activity result in British Asian Muslims who subscribe to this viewpoint being in denial of their own history and ethnicity, it also dissociates them from the rest of the non-Muslim Asian population and excessively downplays the considerable commonality and heritage that they share with the rest of us. Furthermore, it results in them playing right into the hands of Middle Eastern “community leaders” who do not feel any kinship with the subcontinent (particularly non-Muslims) and quite possibly do not wish to see that amongst their “followers” either.

    What’s happening here is that people are trying to eradicate 1000 years of history, along with the associated cultural and religious development.

  71. Random Guy — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

    LOL @ Rumbold, 65. I wash my hands of all responsibilty. Apologies to Refresh or bananabrain if I caused offense, no harm was meant. It was nowt but crass humour.

    I do think that people here are way too hard on the MCB . If anyone thinks that running an organisation like that is a walk in the park, then may I suggest a pail of cold water to take you out of your reverie? Anyway, I will try and make some sensible comments a bit later. Be nice everyone ;)

  72. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    mostly agree with jai on this one…an example of this is when choosing names..A lot of asian muslims used to have very persian inspired names, but this has changed to more arab names.
    Leon..I don’t know how the mcb is funded so can’t comment on this. I do know that the individuals who have done work have done it under the mcb umbrella…what i meant by in spite of was that they did the work knowing they would not be recognised for their efforts either within the organisation or externally.

  73. The Heresiarch — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    @Jai: it also dissociates them from the rest of the non-Muslim Asian population and excessively downplays the considerable commonality and heritage that they share with the rest of us.

    Spot on. Muslims and Hindus lived happily side by side for centuries in India, just as Muslims, Jews and Christians lived happily side by side in the Middle East and Turkey (or indeed Bosnia), without everyone obsessing about who was who. Once you start dividing people on the basis of their religion you replace natural communities with artificial distinctions based on theology, and the result is frequently disastrous.

    The British in India categorised people on the basis of religion, and the upshot was the horrors of partition. Now this government’s obsession with “faith”, together with the highly dubious agendas of the theological conservatives of the MCB and suchlike, threaten similar tensions in Britain.

    May I suggest someone starts a “Secular Association of British Asians” to fight this recrudesence of sectarianism.

  74. Chris Stiles — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear. See, not so difficult.

    In what sense is one less irrelevant or outdated than the other?

    As a representative of a particular identity you would no doubt see it as a good thing for that particular identity to trump all others. Not everyone would agree with you.

  75. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    Heresiarch, I wouldn’t go that far as there are many who do want to maintain a religious as well as cultural affiliation

  76. The Heresiarch — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    Sofia, of course people want to maintain a religious affiliation. The trouble is with the tendency to make their religious affiliation into their primary political identity. As Inayat B admitted in his posts here, the MCB’s entire raison d’etre is to replace ethnic/ cultural identity, which he claims is “outmoded”, with a religious one. Religion should be a matter of individual conscience.

  77. Bilal — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    This is the event in question. Listen and make you’re own mind up. I was trying to find the quote Sunny was talking about, must have missed it:

    http://www.thecitycircle.com/events_full_text2.php?id=453

  78. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    i can’t speak for inayat, but even i would agree that the old ethnic model is outdated…just as i think the religious one will be out of date in a few years as new social models will replace..rather like the whole bme/bme/ multi cultural/british Asian blah blah debate.

  79. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

    bme/bame…

  80. Sofia — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

    ooh and look in all those eminent “activists” (puhleez)…looks like even progressive city circle couldn’t find a muslim woman activist to turn up.

  81. The Heresiarch — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:26 pm  

    I hope you’re right, Sofia, and that the religious “model” proves to be a transitory way of dividing the population. Unfortunately, once outfits like the MCB and its equivalents become institutionalised, they’re likely to stick around long past their sell-by date. And the government, with its desire to create a whole load of “faith schools”, is playing a dangerous game. If you teach children in separate schools, and tell them that their primary identity is a religious one, then all you do in the end is entrench artificial distinctions and create ghettoes of the mind.

    The ethnic model may have become out of date. The religious model was out of date before it started.

  82. Natty — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    The MCB isn’t up to the task and quite simply put the likes of Bunglwala don’t have a grassroots connection.

    The money the MCB gets in donations is wasted.

    Also you mention that by taking a hardline they appear the hardline membership. But at the same time that annoys the normal people. Hence the loss of support.

    What is the primary job of the MCB? It is to keep the community happy not the minority. They are failing.

  83. fugstar — on 16th November, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    Muslim moaners, who actually beleive in the social relevance of their religion who want it to be better can very easily get involved, show their talents and stand in solitarity.

    mcb isnt about representation, its about being and doing certain things.

    Whats funny is the female moanership, i mean have you ever been inside and seen the women there? working in the real world is harder than typing.

    I understand that all you enlightened secular brown folks are the epitome of all thats trendy, but i would be very suspicious if the MCB immediately turned into a slick PR body manned and womaned by wageslaved middle classers with delusions of professionality.

    In a sense it does represent who most of us who keep the faith are capable off. Its not rocket science. Pakistani man from the pind is truer than banker boy from the pub.

    the self interest of this thread is beyond amusing. Why dont secularists set up some kind of church to represent all those si milar values, traditions, rituals and sacred visions of the world that they have and so dearly hold.

    religious model of organisation will be with us so long as religious people exist and congregate. I dont know why people are so bitter/jealous/angsty about these things.

  84. Natty — on 16th November, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

    “mcb isnt about representation, its about being and doing certain things.”

    But what is ti that they (MCB) do?

    The majority of the community don’t like them. Even Dr. Bari admitted they were out of touch with the grassroots and that needed to change. So if they recognise that why can’t you?

  85. Refresh — on 16th November, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    Rumbold

    “Not my fault Refresh- it is you. Just look at how excited Morgoth gets.”

    Lets hope he checks in somewhere to get help.

  86. Pounce — on 16th November, 2007 at 6:28 pm  

    I see the mouthpiece of the MCB plays the typical I’ve a higher standing in society so don’t you dare speak to me Sunny.
    In that one retort Mr Bunglwala you expose the ugliness which the MCB tries to pass off as mainstream Islam.
    You don’t speak for me, you never have spoken for me and you never will speak for me. Simply because the MCB represents Pakistani interests before anything else.
    Problem for the MCB is the rest of the Uks muslims are waking up to the fact that the MCB is bad for their health.

  87. Cover Drive — on 16th November, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

    The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear.

    The biggest achievement of the MCB has been the creation of the ‘British Muslim’ label/identity. It basically shows you what sort of separatism mentality the people at the top of institutions like the MCB have. The HFB has been trying to create a separate ‘British Hindu’ label/identity but haven’t been so successful; they’re working on it.

  88. KSingh — on 16th November, 2007 at 8:56 pm  

    The current labels of Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi used on Government forms have no relevance to people brought up in this country in fact they make you feel that you do not belong in the UK.New definitions are required.

  89. Leon — on 16th November, 2007 at 9:39 pm  

    Leon, as for the MCB receiving tax-payers money, do have details? As far as I could work out, they had one contract for a body of work. But not funding.

    If I am right, then it would be unfair to keep repeating this.

    If I’m wrong then why didn’t Inayat pull me up on it?

    Anyway, they’ve had nearly £700,000 of our money:

    http://burningourmoney.blogspot.com/2006/08/muslim-council-of-britain-tax-funding.html

    So anyway, 700 grand, ten years probably more money that they’ve been given by us and for what exactly?

    What is the cumulative achievement of ten years of MCB?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no special beef against them; any organisation that gains that level of influence, public money and visibly achieves very little with it deserves exactly the same level of scrutiny.

    People are easily distracted by terms like ‘Government funding’ what we should really realise is that the money belongs to us, and is spent on our behalf for our collective benefit.

    Just as I question the billions wasted on illegal wars so do I question the millions spent on these types of organisations we’re meant to treat as having credibility.

  90. Leon — on 16th November, 2007 at 9:49 pm  

    The biggest achievement of the MCB has been the creation of the ‘British Muslim’ label/identity. It basically shows you what sort of separatism mentality the people at the top of institutions like the MCB have. The HFB has been trying to create a separate ‘British Hindu’ label/identity but haven’t been so successful; they’re working on it.

    How do even know the MCB had any hand in that? Couldn’t it be argued that all they’ve done is articulate an identity that already existed?

    Perhaps the HFB present lack of success in that area is because Hindu people don’t identify themselves as strongly as Muslim people?

  91. Random Guy — on 16th November, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

    Natty @ 85, “The majority of the community don’t even like them”.

    Can I ask as to where and how you collected this information?

    The tendency here to put up the MCB and take potshots is pretty appalling. I am actually glad the MCB has been around in spite of my own reservations about some of their public statements. I have yet to meet a single muslim who has actually said they dislike them. Disagree, yes. Issues with transparency, yes. General confusion, sometimes, normally with the bunch who are not even bothered about any aspect of practising Islam, but in name.

    What is their biggest achievement? As of right now, it is not bowing into pressure by the Government to dance to a different tune. Other notable ones are its stance and organisation during the preliminary build up to the Iraq war – which is an issue that is still very prominent to many people in the community. If you want a list of what else they have done, why not visit their website and have a look, inform yourselves and then come back and keep bickering if you will?

    The way things are, the MCB is one of the main representative bodies of muslims in this country, whether me or you like it. Any attempt to try and disband, ridicule or replace it will most certainly be met with an equal and opposite reaction in my opinion. And I appreciate that female muslims have issues with it. What do you propose? Scrap the MCB? That sounds ridiculous. Knowing how insanely difficult it can be to get community-wide initiatives going in the first place, would you have someone else start from scratch? Because believe me, if the MCB is scrapped today, another similar organisation will be formed tommorrow.

    Sigh. :( What a depressing thread.

  92. Sunny — on 17th November, 2007 at 2:38 am  

    As of right now, it is not bowing into pressure by the Government to dance to a different tune.

    And that’s a big achievement? Hey, I criticise the govt all the time Random, make me a community leader! What a farce.

    My question still stands – how exactly have these people improved things for anyone? It’s a simple question.

  93. Leon — on 17th November, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    Still no proper answer? Anyone?

  94. fugstar — on 18th November, 2007 at 2:33 pm  

    yawn

  95. fugstar — on 18th November, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    if you set up a religious, muslim religious organisation and affiliate to the MCB, you then get participation.

    you dont get leadership, because you are one voice of many. you dont have to be a mosque, you can be anything.

    joyous one, perhaps you are the first person in the entire world ever to have wondered about how the somalis are doing… jeebus.

  96. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:13 pm  

    There are definitely issues of demonisation of Muslims that need to be addressed alongside the combatting of extremist ideology from within. If Bari and the MCB could just state this, ask for help from those in the country who are friends of Muslims; the media, politicians, activists, I really do believe that they would get a really positive and sympathetic response on both the issue of Islamic extremism and the steady drip of hostile articles and commentary demonising Muslims as a whole. But the MCB have a very questionable ideological underpinning and agenda, and most disastrously of all, have virtually no understanding of how their rhetoric and actions impact negatively in British society. They are without sense, self-awareness or proportion and I cringe every time they open their mouths. And all the do is add fuel to the fire.

  97. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:30 pm  

    John # 22 said of the MCB

    But it was set-up on noble intentions, that of bringing together the rich diversity of Islam.

    Actually, it was set up in the aftermath of the Rushdie affair to represent the illiberal politics of Maududi-Deobandi influenced ideologues of the likes of Iqbal Sacranie and others. I don’t think that these are noble intentions.

  98. Joy1 — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

    Sukhi,

    What is significantly important is that the Muslim community requires a leadership organisation, which effectively, personifies a positive image of the real British Muslim community. Not a Muslim organisation purely relays the concerns of Muslims abroad, rather than British born Muslims.

    Joy1

  99. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:42 pm  

    Inayat Bunglawala says:

    The biggest achievement would be helping to create a greater sense of faith identity among British Muslims in place of the outdated and mostly irrelevant ‘ethnic’ based categories of yesteryear. See, not so difficult.

    Inayat, I’m really happy that you are so open about your agenda. The greatest impulse of your organisation has been of a communal nature — to distance British Muslims from Pakistani, Bangladeshi background from their shared ethnic heritage and experience with Sikhs, Hindus and Christians of Indian descent in the UK.

    For all this bluster and rhetoric, your only achievment and aim has been a very grubby and petty one — and it is one based on ‘fostering’ alienation and grievance. Once Muslims have been properly ‘alienated’ from other Asians, they must continue to be ‘alienated’ from the whole of society.

    So Inayat Bunglawala reveals plainly that the entire aim and achievment of the MCB is to foster sectarian values and perpetuate a sense of separatism and manufactured alienation amongst Muslims towards all non Muslims. This is the primary objective of the MCB. All this talk about equality, multiculturalism and the rest is sheer bluster and nonsense. And it has been admitted.

    Everyone take note. And don’t stop relaying this admission.

  100. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

    Joy1

    But the MCB is not interested in portraying a ‘positive’ image of Muslims — they are interested in manufacturing ‘alienation’, stratifying society, creating separatist logic, playing grubby Maududi and Qutb Islamist politics in modern Britain. Inayat Bunglawala has actually stated this on this very thread.

  101. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

    By the way, if you want to know why ‘multiculturalism’ has become such a devalued word, just read what Inayat Bunglawala admitted above. By using ‘multiculturalism’ as a shield, they have driven an agenda of separatism, communalism, censorship and right-wing politics, and shaded it under the rhetoric of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘equality’. To put it bluntly, they have defecated in the well of multiculturalism with their selfish and malign agenda.

    Let’s ‘alienate’ the Pakistanis from the dirty Indians, then from the dirty Jews and their Holocaust Memorial Day (remember Bunglawala the bigot used to peddle anti-semitic tracts), then lets alienate Muslims from the whole of British society. Let’s try to bully those like John Ware who are awake to this. Yes we are the MCB and we believe in multiculturalism. What an onscene and grubby little farce, what grubby little small men they are.

  102. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 9:00 pm  

    The fundamental error in the self-justifying logic of the MCB can be observed in the phenomena of the Hindu Forum and the Sikh Federation — these are ideologues who take it upon themselves to construe that without trhem defending the borders and parameters of their respective ‘faiths’, those borders and parameters will be under threat. Just think about it for one moment. According to Bunglawala and the MCB, without the existence of their activism, Muslims would cease to be a ‘community’. This is the level of fundamental hubris and illogic we are dealing with her.

    Communities do exist, but they are much more complex, dynamic, hybrid and traversible than any of these narrow sectarian bodies will ever dare to admit and realise.

  103. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 9:16 pm  

    The HFB has been trying to create a separate ‘British Hindu’ label/identity but haven’t been so successful; they’re working on it

    The Sikh Federation and other small minds are attempting to do the same, and have failed, and will in large part continuously fail. This is why their voices are so shrill and hysterical, why their attempts to manufacture grievance so grubby and pathetic. Because they have failed, and will fail in perpetuity, even if they do manage to grab the attention of some salivating Daily Mail journalist from time to time. They can’t control us, and that is what hurts them so much.

  104. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 9:27 pm  

    The loss of control is related by their refusal to adapt to and accept the way that modern British society is being embraced so enthusiastically by second, third, fourth generation men and women of the faith group they deem it neseccary to appoint themselves protectors of. Their hectoring is not so much a sign of atavism as a symbol of their alarm. True liberal secular values and true multiculturalism (not the debased dogma that they hide their agendas behind), who wants the beady eye of these conservatives and communalists elevated?

    You can try to manufacture grievance but it’s all manufactured and you are losing.

  105. Sukhi — on 18th November, 2007 at 9:37 pm  

    By the way, don’t Inayat’s interventions on this thread show just what a pompous and inflated sense of his own importance underlies these whole ventures? How dare John Ware ask awkward questions, how dare Hundal question us? Pathetic.

  106. Saqib — on 19th November, 2007 at 12:01 am  

    Oh dear…I seem to have entered this debate quite late, and really wouldn’t want to go through reading all the points.

    Sunny:

    I do share some of your concerns with the concept of community leadership, but feel that whilst it is very true for communities which are of a secular disposition, for Muslims in the main, being a community with faith as the main source of identity(though not excluisive)is an inevitable and inexorable reality – if not an imperative.

    You have pointed out that the MCB get’s less ratings than do Bush and Blair. Notwithstanding the accuracy of these polls, i would say it depends largely how the question is phrased. If you ask a group of average Muslims do they feel MCB is representitive they would say no. If you ask them who is the most representitive, most would affirm MCB.

    If, and this i know is the real heart of your argumnet, the question is put, do you want to be considered as part of a ‘faith’ community and feel comfortable having some form of community leadership, i can wholeheartedly say they would overwhelmingly say yes. I doubt other communities would be the same.

    I great manifestation of this will be this weekend at the ExCel Centre where the ‘Global Peace & Unity Event’ will take place. It will have an estimated 60,000 over two days, it will exhibit the growing list of Muslim based or inspired set of services/products which have grown incredibly over the last decade or so. This is not to mention the people of various backgrounds, perhaps over 50 different ethnicities.

    This is a popular outpouring, and not a politically manufactured stunct by a few wise men. If MCB did not exist it would be created…in fact i would help create it as would many others. Whether it is doing a good or bad job, whether it has achived anything substantive, either for the Muslim community or for society at large, well that is an ongoing debate.

    However, many of the actual members of MCB; community organisations which are grass-roots, have made great strides in serving their local communities, Muslim, and increasingly non-Muslims.

    I would like to say also that to constantly lump all communities, i.e. Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, is itself guilty of veiwing ‘communities’as being monolithic, and hence ignoring complexities of each individual one.

    Perhaps this is inevitable with the growing political narrative which is gaining much currency; namely that it was the New Labour Politics of the late 1990s which made multi-culturalism a cause celebre for communities to see themselves as different, which has made our society divided.

    May i actually suggest that secularism, by its very nature will lead to a lack of shared values in society, as each indivisual pursues his private purpose, with society having no common purpose other than to preserve the conditions of being able to preserve this individual purpose?

    Certainly, even Martin Bright, when attending a conference in Germany earlier in the year, had great difficulties along with his colleagues to define a common set of values.

  107. douglas clark — on 19th November, 2007 at 1:00 am  

    Saqib,

    Always a pleasure.

    (i) Would it not be reasonable to put the irreligious, disorganised rabble who realistically constitute the majority in this country – contrary to census’ stuff – at least, somewhere? I am not arguing, on this line, that folk of a particular religion shouldn’t make their case, they should. But it ought, in the UK at least, be balanced, by government, against the hugely secular society it actually inhabits. Frankly, religious belief gets respect well beyond the merits of its’ arguements merely because it is ‘religious’. That is not a level playing field.

    (ii) Would it not be reasonable, that in order to say you represent someone, that you at least ask them to vote for you? I would suspect that, if it were you that was creating the MCB from scratch, that you’d do that. Well? Wouldn’t you?

    Just for your amusement, I think the lack of a set of common values, and the toleration of others values is all anyone, anywhere needs to know about Britishness. Though it is not exactly true, the idea that the Scots and the English hate each other, yet manage to tolerate each other, is closer to the truth than many would like to believe. If it were not for the fact that we are brought up from cradle to grave to believe that tolerating others is the greatest virtue, then we’d have been at each others throats long ago.

    You ask:

    May i actually suggest that secularism, by its very nature will lead to a lack of shared values in society, as each indivisual pursues his private purpose, with society having no common purpose other than to preserve the conditions of being able to preserve this individual purpose?

    Well, you can certainly suggest it. It might even spur a debate.

    Best wishes.

  108. Random Guy — on 19th November, 2007 at 10:35 am  

    Sunny @ 93

    You are right, me pointing out that their stance w.r.t. Govermnent pressure as an achievement was a bit idiotic (of me). But you cannot honestly expect me to give you a satisfactory (by your standards) answer to the question of the MCB’s achievements when I am not even part of its board or leadership. I am giving you a very lay-man’s view of the MCB in my answers.

    The MCB has done a huge amount of charity work, and organised inter-faith events for many years. I have been on some of these and I have to say that I have met people there I would not have met in my normal life (from other religions, points of view for example). Is it fair to ask for a single, greatest achievement that the MCB has done, when it has in actuality consistently made positive, smaller achievements? Was the objective of the MCB to achieve a single great thing? Can I put you on the spot and ask what is your greatest achievement as an organisation?

    I disagree with the “identity politics is bad” debate because the alternative is to have no identity, or have one enforced on you. A little bit like communism actually. Sukhi may not be able to come to terms with the fact that being a practising muslim entails having a massive grounding of Islamic identity, which is why I beleive the MCB is a good thing. Doing away with this is unworkable. I can see how the MCB has made statements which the wider community disagrees with, but tbh the wider community can be quite apathetic until there is something to moan about.

    I also agree with Douglas, in that there should be some sort of vote among the muslim community as to the relevance and popularity of the MCB, if for nothing else than to prove that the community actually feels better with the MCB around (or not, as the case may be). What we need is a debate with anti-MCB organisation types and pro-MCB organisation types taking it to the muslim community and telling them the pros and cons of the issue, as evidenced on this thread. THAT would be worth watching. Put it to the vote I say. That would solve this debate.

  109. Sukhi — on 19th November, 2007 at 10:58 am  

    One other thing. It’s funny, isn’t it, that Inayat wants money from white British people, Christians, atheists, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs, ie: the taxpayer, in order to fund an ideological movement and body dedicated to separatism from all those people. Bunglawala and the MCB dislikes everyone so much, but not enough to grasp their money to fund their separation from them. Is there any bigger set of hypocrites around today?

  110. Sukhi — on 19th November, 2007 at 10:59 am  

    This is a popular outpouring, and not a politically manufactured stunct by a few wise men.

    Actually, it is organised by the MAB and other Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist organisations.

  111. Sukhi — on 19th November, 2007 at 11:01 am  

    Sukhi may not be able to come to terms with the fact that being a practising muslim entails having a massive grounding of Islamic identity

    Don’t set up ridiculous straw men and play the victim hood card. The MCB practises a form of political Islam, separatism and communalist policy, and expects immunity from criticism (protests of Islamophobia) even when in receipt of public funds.

  112. Cover Drive — on 19th November, 2007 at 11:19 am  

    Dr Abdul Bari of MCB recently warned that the climate of fear and suspicion toward Muslims in Britain is becoming similar to that in Nazi Germany during 1930s. I cannot see the parallels. Where are the extermination camps? Are Muslims being rounded up and killed? It’s a highly inflammatory remark. Over 6m Jews were systematically exterminated in Nazi Germany, the worst genocide in living memory. The situation today in Britain is surely not as grave as that? Dr Bari had the audacity to make such a comparison when his organisation year after year does not attend the Holocaust Day memorial. The mind boggles at what kind statement Dr Bari will make next to the British press.

    I accept there is a growing unease between the Muslim community and the rest of British society but the MCB is not addressing the problem. By continuing to view things only on sectarian lines it is increasing polarisation along religious lines.

  113. Random Guy — on 19th November, 2007 at 11:25 am  

    “Don’t set up ridiculous straw men and play the victim hood card.”

    So you disagree? Can you explain what is so ridiculous about my statement?

    “The MCB practises a form of political Islam, separatism and communalist policy.”

    I think you are being a bit sensationalist. The MCB by its definition is a political body set up by Muslims. A “form of Political Islam”….what the hell does that mean exactly? Seperatism I disagree with. They have made some ridiculous comments, but I have mainly seen an effort to integrate to be honest. Please clarify. For “Communalist policy”, I am not sure what you are talking about. Are you referring to the way the organisation is run?

    And also, w.r.t. criticism, are you equating “protests of Islamaphobia” with immunity to criticism? So basically if I accuse you of being an Islamaphobe, then I am implicitly calling for an end to debate? Give me an example.

  114. Sukhi — on 19th November, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

    So you disagree? Can you explain what is so ridiculous about my statement?

    Criticising the MCB and other communalist separatist bodies equals ‘not being able to accept identity blah blah blah’ —- conflate politics and religion and you can try and use this baseball bat on anyone. It’s absolute grade A bullshit and Sikh and Hindu communalists use the same twisted logic.

  115. Sukhi — on 19th November, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    Dr Abdul Bari of MCB recently warned that the climate of fear and suspicion toward Muslims in Britain is becoming similar to that in Nazi Germany during 1930s. I cannot see the parallels. Where are the extermination camps? Are Muslims being rounded up and killed? It’s a highly inflammatory remark.

    It’s also incredible coming from an organisation that boycotts Holocaust Memorial Day for bigoted communalist reasons, and is associated with individuals who have spent their life peddling classical 19th and 20th Century European anti-semitic conspiracy theories and demonisatio (as Bunglawala used to do), and subscribe to a political dogma that places Jewish conspiracy at the centre of their worldview (that of the Maududi – Qutb Islamist Deobandi ideology that the MCB leadership promote)

  116. Random Guy — on 19th November, 2007 at 1:00 pm  

    Sukhi @ 121

    Yeah right, and having a muslim identity is the same as having a “communalist agenda”. That is Grade-A PREMIUM bullshit. Conflating politics and religion? Wtf? Just another in the long line of confused people who really don’t understand the point and can only come up with the same tired lines over and over again. Come out with something solid if you want to make a point. Get your head out of the clouds and back on the ground.

    And regarding whatever you are on about in 122, read some Walt and Mearshimer before using people’s idiotic comments to justify your own arguments.

  117. Sunny — on 19th November, 2007 at 2:03 pm  

    Random Guy: The MCB has done a huge amount of charity work, and organised inter-faith events for many years. I have been on some of these and I have to say that I have met people there I would not have met in my normal life

    I’m afraid I don’t buy this either. The MCB has done its best to foster bad relations with Jews by not criticising HuT and their anti-semitism and boycotting the Holocaust Memorial Day. They have no inter-faith dialogue with the Hindu and Sikh organisations (for political reasons they all hate each other). And generally the MCB have only made most people even more suspicious of Muslims. I’m afraid I can’t agree that they’ve helped inter-faith dialogue.

    There are plenty of good inter-faith dialogue initiatives but as far as I can tell they weren’t spear-headed by the MCB. Aliph-Alef, Shalom-Salaam, Three Faiths Forum.

    When the Al-Muhajiroun crew were stirring up trouble a few years ago between Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, where was the MCB? Nowhere.

    There little events that you went to… – you have to ask yourself whether they were organised by the MCB or just something they put their names to.

    Saqib: is an inevitable and inexorable reality – if not an imperative.

    Inevitable only because othrs have been attacking Muslims and thus people become self-defensive and thus start identifying themselves as Muslims more. But why imperitive?

    People have multiple identities and each identity becomes more important in different contexts. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know what exactly you’re suggesting.

  118. Random Guy — on 19th November, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Okay, here is a question: should the issue of whether or not there should be an MCB be decided by the muslim community in the UK, or should it be decided by every other group as well?

  119. Morgoth — on 19th November, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    Lets hope he checks in somewhere to get help.

    Oh don’t worry, I’m still around, old bean.

    This is an interesting thread – if you’re interested in watching a bunch of medievalist throwbacks trying to defend the indefensible, that is.

  120. Random Guy — on 19th November, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

    And you arean interesting person – if you find something with the IQ of an amoeba interesting, that is.

  121. Sunny — on 19th November, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    should the issue of whether or not there should be an MCB be decided by the muslim community in the UK, or should it be decided by every other group as well?

    I haven’t said the MCB should be disbanded. Clearly Inayat is not going to suddenly see the light and shut shop. I’m raising these questions because I think there are serious problems we face in social cohesion, which involve Muslims and non-Muslims, and the MCB is only making things worse. To that extent, questioning its legitimacy is valid from my point of view. But of course, the onus is on empowered Muslims to push for things to change.

  122. Saqib — on 19th November, 2007 at 11:01 pm  

    Actually, it is organised by the MAB and other Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist organisations.

    Sukhi:

    Actually it is NOT organised by MAB for sure, it is by the Islam Channel through its sister company ‘Global Peace & Unity Events. Thye organisation pools together people from many backgrounds, including those which haqve been inspired by Muslim Brotherhood, and also people who are critical of Islamist organisations, like Dr. T J Winters who will be speaking at the event, who according to Ed Hussain should be the leading authority of Islam in the UK.

    I hope that clarifies matters.

    The popular outpouring is that of the ordinary Muslim who is not attending as a gesture of party loyalty, but of his own accord. Many of them wouldn’t have a clue who Qutb and Maududi were, they are just ordinary people. Hence i would say again that the importance of having an identity rooted in Islam is something rooted in the consciousness of Muslim communities and not socially constructed – though of course some people would like to steer it in directions which may not be true to its purposes.

  123. Saqib — on 19th November, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

    Sunny:

    “Inevitable only because othrs have been attacking Muslims and thus people become self-defensive and thus start identifying themselves as Muslims more. But why imperitive?”

    Don’t agree.

    To view the rise in Muslim identity politics simply in terms of victimhood is simply looking at the issue in a parochial and indeed reactionary manner. Muslims were not as vocal before the 1990′s of their identity mainly because they actually took it for granted, particularly so as they often felt it was synonymous with their respective ethnic identities i.e. Pakistani, Bengali, Egyptian etc. However, with the realisation, brought about mainly by social and political changes, and indeed challenges that the two are NOT the same (though i am not suggesting they are mutually exclusive) came an assertiveness in proclaiming an Islamic identity which was distinct, both and an individual, but, importantly for our discussion here, a community level.

    Even if you view matters globally, in many parts of the Muslim world, there is an increasing consciousness to assert the Muslim identity as being separate from ethnic/national identities. This I add is only for purposes of clarity, and not a change of content, for most Muslims would still have said they are Muslims before, by saying they were Pakistani first as they saw no separation between this and being Muslim (obviously this is not true for there are Pakistani Christians, who are no less Pakistani).

    Historically and culturally the concept of ummah has played a big part in the worldview of Muslim societies spread across the world. This is true of all strands of Islamic theology, be it Salafi or Sufi, but also in the consciousness of Muslim societies.

    It’s a difficult point for people to grasp, perhaps because no real analysis has been done, and perhaps also because ordinary people don’t associate the average Muslim they acquaint with, who is open, tolerant and compassionate (in most cases…i hope anyway) with ideas which, ostensibly seem communalist, and intolerant.

    It is in this sense I meant imperative – as the content has never changed, just the presentation.

  124. Saqib — on 20th November, 2007 at 1:09 am  

    Douglas:

    Good to be back. The last point may well open up an interesting debate…perhaps when I finish my dissertation on Locke I might even be able to contribute something intelligent!

    Post 114
    “(i) ”

    If religious groups were using the political process to surreptitiously gain and leverage their influence to impose their ideal upon others, then I would agree with you. I think that however in most cases it is about faith communities trying to negotiate their practices in shared social spaces.

    “(ii) Would it not be reasonable, that in order to say you represent someone, that you at least ask them to vote for you? I would suspect that, if it were you that was creating the MCB from scratch, that you’d do that. Well? Wouldn’t you?”

    Well, unless you’re suggesting Muslims set up an alternative parliament i don’t see how they could elect their own separate, community leaders? Well… perhaps we could have a show, “I’m a Muslim, get me out of here’ with wannabe Islamic leaders being voted off. Mind you, not sure how we would handle eating those insects, we would have to have them halal first! I could ask the Islam Channel to do the screening, as you never know with the other television companies with all the shenanigans we have witnessed recently!!!

    Anyway…I do believe in an elective process, however people also need to view matters in less parochial ways. The realities are that amongst small groups of people ‘leaders’ emerge not through an elective process, but through their deeds, standing and achievements, which are recognised by their peers either through active ascent or through passive acceptance. Take a footballing analogy; hear the great players of the past, they talk about having ‘leaders’ on the pitch, not necessarily the captain, but people who have a feel of what needs doing and how, and who are looked upto by others. That is one point.

    Now with regards to MCB, the thing to recognise, and indeed remember is that many Muslims have, freely chosen to set up organisations, groups, societies, associations etc which have a good standing in the community. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t get any business, both commercial and charitable both from the community and wider society at large. A case in point is the current tragedy in Bangladesh, many of leading Muslim NGO’s such as Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid have received positive responses from people as they are trusted and accountable.

    Now MCB is comprised of these types of organisations, hence that’s why it has the profile it does. Now of course MCB does not claim to represent all Muslims, only its members, and it is the members who operate on the basis that Muslims constitute a distinct faith community. The members in that sense are not secular, though of course they are law-abiding and uphold democratic principles.

    If the Muslims who consider themselves secular don’t like this, well all they have to do is set up alternative organisations, associations etc, on the same scale that many, though not all MCB members have done, and they will be called representative.

    However this is not going to happen as quite frankly they don’t have mainstream support. Hence when Martin Bright, Ed Hassain et al, claim the need to have wider representation they are actually clutching at straws…and I am not talking about the Rt Hon Jack!

    By the way, one of the myths which people like Ed Hussain put forward is that the Sufi Islamic tradition is less malleable to the malevolent intentions of certain preachers is actually without foundation; for if you actually read the works of people to whom he refers to, such as the likes of Nuh Keller, Hamza Yusuf and Abdul Hakim Murad you will actually find striking parallels on substantive points with the likes of Qutb and Maududi. The distinctions are nuances in theology – which mean great things to believers, but are somewhat of an irrelevance to non-believers.

    “Just for your amusement, I think the lack of a set of common values, and the toleration of others values is all anyone, anywhere needs to know about Britishness.”

    I would agree absolutely with you!

    My point is only that it is wrong, both historically and politically to claim that it is the New Labour multi-cultural politics’ of the 1990s that has brought this scenario to fruition. And if people claim that the lack of a common set of values has harmed society, shouldn’t the blame lie not at faith communities, which actually possess internally a common set of values, but actually the very values which supposedly underpin Britishness?

  125. Saqib — on 20th November, 2007 at 1:26 am  

    Joy1:

    Is there not a danger that we are simply getting bogged down with semantics i.e. don’t say Britsh Muslims but affilates?

    Sometimes one has to accept that amongst a group of people there are mainstream views which people can rightly claim as such on their behalf. For example, if England loose to Croatia on Wednesday night, would any of the tabloids be wrong if they had the headline ‘The English Public wants McClaren Out’… me thinks not. I doubt if PP would dedicate entire threads to the issue if the tabloids were right to ‘speak in our name’.

    I am of the view that on substantive issues MCB captures the right pulse of what Muslims feel, their main problem is how they argue their points. (that and Dr. Bari’s poor grasp of the English language)

    For example it would be right to suggest that generally British Muslims were against the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. However, there are other Muslims who actually supported the war. We wouldn’t present this scenario as being a divided issue within the community, but one which has a clear mainstraem view.

    Your point about local communities is a good one, however many of them are and continue to affiliate with MCB. I see the MCB becoming stronger and more influential as they learn to better incorporate the genuine concerns and views of their members and the community at large.

  126. douglas clark — on 20th November, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    Saqib,

    Thanks for the reply.

    On point one, as I said, I have absolutely no issue with religious groups advocating their point of view. For instance, I happen to agree with the MCB that halal meat should be available as part of school dinners.

    On the second point, I appreciate the point you are making. Much as Joy1 has an issue with the MCB claiming to represent a group; perhaps through self aggrandisement, or dam’ fine marketing; I have an identical issue with the National Secular Society (NSS). Neither body can realistically claim to represent the broad groups that they claim to. Indeed, in my case – the latter example – I’d never even heard of them before they were mentioned on a thread here. And now I find Terry Sanderson (head honcho NSS) and I agree to disagree. Given the lack of awareness within the Muslim community of the MCB, and it’s low (consequent?) opinion poll ratings amongst that group, I have a considerable sympathy for anyone that says’ “not in my name”.

    Please be clear, the good works that you allude to are, indeed, good. I am not knocking that at all.

    So, what’s to be done about it? I think my idea of an alternative vote, based on religion or lack of it, that you quite rightly lampoon, leaves us with political engagement through the current structures.

    Oh, and I’m glad we agree about difference being what unites us. It could almost be a motto.

  127. Rabbit — on 20th November, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    All hail Sunny in his new crusade to wind up the MCB. Is this your central plank in your strategy to revive the liberal left? how pathetic. Its the same tactic deployed by the bigoted bullies in the Policy Exchange, as exemplified by Sukhi in post #103 etc. That is, find a slur, and stick to it like a stuck record in the hope that it works. Where is the evidence that the MCB is an evil maududist islamist group? Facts, not half-truths please. How does it explain the shia organisations that are happily part of MCB?

    Its hard to keep up with the many half-truths and innuendos in the comment and subsequent posts here. But for the record:

    Dr Bari’s alleged comments about Nazi Germany:
    http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_detail.php?article=announcement-687

    MCB not taking the initiative in reaching out to Hindu and Sikh groups:
    http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_detail.php?article=announcement-142

    On MCB being anti-semitic

    http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_detail.php?article=announcement-244

    http://www.mcb.org.uk/article_detail.php?article=announcement-458

    Go on, say it, mere platutudes!

  128. Mashfiq — on 25th November, 2007 at 10:11 am  

    Sunny,

    I am disappointed that as someone who regards himself as a true voice of moderation, you do very little to question why Islamic Cultural Society, Regents Park Mosque and mainstream Muslim organisations are not publishing a statement at the practice of Saudi Arabia. A Saudi court recently sentenced a gang rape victim to 90 lashes of the whip because she was alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married.

    Where is the condemnation to affirm that this is not Islamic and that these organisations condemn what Saudi Arabia has done?

    Is it all good to condemn Israel, but why not condemn Saudi ‘Kafir’ Arabia hahahahah

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