Tonight Martin Bright’s much trailed documentary, Who Represents British Muslims? will be on Channel 4 at 7:30pm.
Bright says that rather than tackling the ideology that breeds extremism, Whitehall has instead embraced it, promoting a narrow, austere version of Islam.
He told AIM magazine that a series of leaks from the Foreign Office showed the government was very open in their strategy of reaching out to organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic radicals abroad. But that ignores the “huge diversity of people from the Muslim community” the government can deal with he adds, and instead focuses on representing a narrow ideology.
Unsurprisingly the usual suspects are screaming about it. I will come back to them.
Sid focuses on the Bangladeshi MP, Delwar Hossein Sayeedi.
Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi is an MP of the Jamaati Islami party in Bangladesh. He has been implicated in the mass-killing of thousands of Bangladeshis who were deemed pro-Liberation in Bangladesh in 1971. He has made numerous statements defending and legitimising attacks on Hindus as well as Ahmadiyya Muslims.
He has called for and has legitimised attacks on civilians in the USA and UK for their role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite numerous trips to the UK, where he enjoys the hospitality of the East London Mosque. He has, on numerous occassions, called for the Blasphemy Law to be used to ban journalists and writers such as Humayun Azad; and when the writer was stabbed and killed by unknown assailants, the attack was alleged to be inspired by Sayeedi.
I went to the launch at Policy Exchange earlier in the week. Among many of the Muslims there was Professor Neal Robinson in the panel, who has written numerous guides to Islam. He echoed the same view that the government was very regrettably becoming close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat e Islami’s version of Islam.
You can download the document that Policy Exchange has published to co-incide with the documentary from here.
There are a few quick points to make on this:
1) The government engaged with Jamaat and MB in the past as a buffer against communists. Now they’re continuing on the basis that….
2) They have a very imperialist and racist view of Muslims that says: “they’re all quite loony so I guess we shall have to deal with the loony ones.”
3) Which brings us to the MCB. The latter have apparently released a hilarious statement. For example:
…is clearly aimed at campaigning for the imposition of a new Muslim leadership which is pro-Israel…
Surely, we should be building peaceful ties with the Muslim world, not cutting them off… [How about inviting some peaceful imams over then?]
Bright wheels out a motley crew of some discredited and some unknown figures to support his ludicrous arguments. One figure, from the so-called Sufi Muslim Council… [I love this - anyone not affiliated to the MCB is apparently discredited or "unknown"]
surely he should have been questioned about what level of support â€“ if any – he actually had within the Muslim communities across the UK which he is now claiming to represent. [Sure - and how much support does the MCB have?]
4) The worst offenders are apologists like Islamophobia Watch. Although they know Jamaat are not exactly nice people, because they are being attacked by “Islamophobes”, IW feels obliged to protect them. They’re simply playing into the community politics: “I will defend an idiot because someone more hated is attacking him”. When do they actually stand up for their values of non-racism?
5) People like also end up playing into the hands of the racists who want to portray Muslims as nutters. Not only that, they end up being part of the colonial policy of playing groups off against each other, to the detriment of the ordinary Muslims. They’re being screwed over in the Middle East and here. All the big boys are too busy playing politics.
Watch the documentary.
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Filed in: Media,Muslim,Organisations