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  • Ruth Kelly: MCB’s reign is over

    by Sunny
    18th March, 2007 at 4:17 pm    

    They’ve had a decade of being courted by government ministers, sipping orange juice with policy wonks and being sent on trips around the world for arbitary reasons. And now the MCB’s reign is over, according to Ruth Kelly, who snubs them in favour of mentioning the British Muslim Forum instead in an article for the Observer today. For those who watch these things closely this comes as no surprise at all. Ruth Kelly says a lot more that needs further dissection but I don’t have any time right now unfortunately.

    Is the move towards supporting the BMF good? In some ways yes. Their chief executive is a woman and has written on empowering Muslim women and the part they can play in tackling extremism. Following 7/7 they also organised 500 imams to jointly issue a fatwa condemning terrorism.

    But just because one is better than the other doesn’t mean this is a welcome development. As I stated when launcing NGN’s manifesto, the government cannot treat minority communities like during the British Raj - appointing and getting rid of ‘community leaders’ who don’t serve their purpose. They need to engage with everyone and listen to all points of view whether they like them or not. The MCB represent a certain mindset as do the BMF (and others). Listen to all of them and stop playing this silly game Ms Kelly.

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    41 Comments below   |  

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    1. Indigo Jo Blogs

      City Circle: Monolithic Communities…

      Technorati Tags: city+circle, ehsan+masood, independent+jewish+voices, MCB, muslim+council+of+britain, brian+klug, sunny+hundal Last Friday night I went to a City Circle event in London entitled Independent Voices: Challenging the Myth of Monolithic Co…

    1. Suzy — on 18th March, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

      From the BMF website:

      The UK Muslim population now numbers 2.1 million and is currently growing at a faster rate than any other faith based community in Britain. This community contributes £51 billion per year to Britain’s annual GDP and forms the backbone of Britain’s retail and healthcare sectors.

      Why are they comparing themselves to ‘other faith based communities in Britain’? What is this obsession with ‘fast growth’? Why this competitive demographic attitude? Why do they seem to want to marginalise other minorities and make them appear to be ‘less important’ than Muslims? This type of attitude keeps recurring when I read literature and articles by Muslims, it’s amazing to watch this obsession with their numbers and marginalising non Muslim minorities.

    2. Suzy — on 18th March, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

      forms the backbone of Britain’s retail and healthcare sectors

      Huh? Muslims form the backbone of Britain’s retail and healthcare sectors? What does this mean? What is the Muslim backbone of the healthcare sector? This is dubious self aggrandising, and it downgrades and marginalises non Muslims. It doesnt matter who they are, all of these sectarian bodies crow about their people and arrogantly and slyly diss others.

    3. Jai — on 18th March, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

      =>”Why are they comparing themselves to ‘other faith based communities in Britain’? What is this obsession with ‘fast growth’? Why this competitive demographic attitude?”

      Unfortunately this is what happens with evangelical/proselytising/exclusivist religions (or such interpretations of those faiths, anyway). It’s not restricted to Islam, even if that particular faith is flavour-of-the-month these days.

    4. Chairwoman — on 18th March, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      I don’t suppose flavour of the month goes hand in hand with fast growth equalling more votes, do you?

      I must try to be less cynical in future

    5. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2007 at 5:53 pm  


      I seem to remember when it was Mormons that spouted this stuff.

    6. Kulvinder — on 18th March, 2007 at 6:50 pm  

      Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% in 1976? If these trends continue…Ayeeee!

    7. douglas clark — on 18th March, 2007 at 7:08 pm  

      Ayeeee, “stayin’ alive”.

    8. sonia — on 18th March, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

      yes it sounds like some sort of economic forecast…

    9. Fugstar — on 18th March, 2007 at 8:49 pm  

      BMF might be better at taming nutters in the north. I think they might just have the ability to Pretend to have the Power of the Pind. As a young muslim nearly-nutter i would probably steer clear of them, but hey the folks in the north have a totally different landscape to London.

      see Ehsan masoods sharp analysis of different departments of government arranging marriages with likeminded muslim initiatives. (its near the end)

      Suzy, marginalisation through website ‘About Us’ pages. OMG. thats mind blowing ?!?

    10. Suzy — on 18th March, 2007 at 9:20 pm  

      Yeah fugstar, it really shows off a strange mentality doesnt it? You’d think they would have other things to worry about rather than chest thumping self aggrandising nonsense like that wouldnt you, what with the big problems in their midst. Hey ho.

    11. Suzy — on 18th March, 2007 at 9:25 pm  

      Oh yeah actually I get it, they need to do all that to raise the low self esteem of the British ummah and hit the requisite Muslim g-spots, bigger, better than all the other minorities, I forgot the fugstars and others need to be told that. Well, if it can tame the nutters, that’s ok then.

    12. Yusuf Smith — on 18th March, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

      The BMF are actually a Bareilawi foundation - if you look at their list of affiliates, it consists of mostly (if not entirely) Bareilawi mosques and organisations; their board of trustees consists entirely of Bareilawi religious figures. So, it doesn’t represent the whole Muslim community, but one section of it (a bigger section than the “sofa parties” like the SMC and PBM, but one section all the same).

    13. sonia — on 18th March, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

      too many acronyms!

    14. lithcol — on 18th March, 2007 at 11:47 pm  

      You contribute or detract from the common good. Usual crap of trying to quantify the relative contribution of particular groups. Remember the pink pound.

      Who ever cared about the MCB? Only the MCB.

      Who cares about another faith based group. Same mistake, because the majority who are not members of such groups don’t give a dam.

      Make your contribution but don’t expect any special privileges because you may be a gay, disabled, ethnic minority who happens to be a seventh day Adventist.

      The BNP say they represent the white community and get vilified, some other group says they represent the muslim community ( very diverse ) and get listened to. Cobblers.

      I am not interested in special interest communities defined by narrow ethnic, religious identities. I am interested in citizens of the UK and what they can do to further the interests of this country.

    15. Sunny — on 18th March, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

      So, it doesn’t represent the whole Muslim community, but one section of it (a bigger section than the “sofa parties” like the SMC and PBM, but one section all the same)

      I remember during the Danish cartoons controversy that another organisation sprang up - Muslim Action Committee (MAC). Remember them Yusuf? Ismaeel has gone a bit quiet lately. Anyway… in the rush to organise protests against the cartoons, the MMCB/MPAC official march got about 5000 people at most… maybe less. The MAC march, though it didn’t get much coverage, attracted over 10,000 people.

      Even more amusingly enough, the MCB and MAC refused to talk about each other or even appear on a Pakistani discussion channel at the same time to talk about the protests.

      The MCB does represent a segment of the community. But I’d like to see evidence that it represents a big percentage or even a majority. After all, their approval ratings among Muslim groups hover between 6 - 11%.

    16. lithcol — on 19th March, 2007 at 12:09 am  

      Precisely Sunny, who represents whom? Me I represent my own point of view. I am pleased when I find others who are think similarly. I am not inclined to form a club however, perhaps a loose association. It certainly wouldn’t form part of my identity.

    17. G. Tingey — on 19th March, 2007 at 9:11 am  

      All religions are based on some combination of moral and physical balckmail, and the MCB are certainnly closer to the physical balckmail than the other lot.

      But why should anyone listen AT ALL to these various followers of mediaval. clssocal and bronze-agee loonies anyway (muslims, christians religious jews- that is) ???

      Also, see …

    18. sonia — on 19th March, 2007 at 10:31 am  

      i can’t believe they’re still going on about Taslima Nasrin?! Ridiculous.

    19. Leon — on 19th March, 2007 at 10:53 am  

      too many acronyms!

      Aint that the truth…

    20. sonia — on 19th March, 2007 at 10:55 am  

      anyway next time one of this lot are up on tv or something someone please ask them about slavery. if they are going to represent ‘muslims’ then i reckon they’re a good outfit to ask. pester them lots.

    21. sonia — on 19th March, 2007 at 10:56 am  

      lithcol has a good point in no. 16!

    22. Fugstar — on 19th March, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      No suzy, i was just mind blown by your pettiness of interpretation of the BMF website. It’s a common problem with web/journalistic armchairgiri.

      Also, i think its funny that bloggers and the government in partnership still think that they can define muslim problems and priorities. BMF have soverienty over the purpose of their initiative.

      and #11.

      No its pr webspeak, the basic quantitative description of the uk muslim ‘community’ with a bit of public services ‘love’ mixed in. Its not meant to describe non muslims by the way. Deal with it.

      C - Must try harder, misses the point.. repeatedly

      yusuf smith,
      Dude they seem to have a lot of dar al uloom affiliates, which dont really emanate from the bareilwi massive now do they? id prefer to see them as a ‘The North’. And my, they have interesting issues to deal with.

      A - liked the ‘sofa party’ idea

      did a religiously linked acronym knock down a sand castle of yours or something? I think MCB carry 40% of the islamic orgs in the country with them. Now thats an institutional linkage.

      D - Needs assistance. Keeps making the same mistakes at the same steps and then brings in non related matters to further diffuse insight. Makes up headlines out of nothing, just a reading of an article in the press. Hilarious, dangerously misleading but still kinda cute.

    23. Yusuf Smith — on 19th March, 2007 at 11:43 am  

      Dude they seem to have a lot of dar al uloom affiliates, which dont really emanate from the bareilwi massive now do they?

      Actually, yes there are a lot of establishments called “Dar-ul-Uloom” set up by Bareilawis; not all of them actually function as such though. DU’s in the Deobandi circle are actual religious schools and colleges which train imams and scholars. I know that there is one in Walthamstow which, last time I was around there (admittedly quite a few years ago) was just a mosque.

    24. Yusuf Smith — on 19th March, 2007 at 11:44 am  

      I mean, a Bareilawi so-called DU in Walthamstow.

    25. Roger — on 19th March, 2007 at 12:04 pm  

      “Listen to all of them and stop playing this silly game Ms Kelly.”
      What’s silly about it? If self-selected bunchesw of people claim to represent however many people they do claim to represent with no evidence except their claims it’s very reasonable to decide that the bunch that says what you want them to say is truly representative.

    26. bananabrain — on 19th March, 2007 at 12:15 pm  

      But why should anyone listen AT ALL to these various followers of mediaeval. classical and bronze-age loonies anyway (muslims, christians religious jews- that is) ???

      as a “loony” adherent of one of these “bronze age” belief systems, how about:

      respect for the other and for different belief systems -

      “The stranger that lives with you shall be unto you as the native among you, and you must love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” - leviticus 19:34

      “Therefore you must therefore love the stranger; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” - deuteronomy 10:19

      “And you shall not wrong a stranger, neither shall you oppress him; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” - exodus 22:21

      social provision for the week and needy -

      “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shalt not wholly reap the corner of your field, neither shall you gather the gleaning of thy harvest; you shall leave them for the poor, and for the stranger.” - leviticus 23:22

      animal welfare -

      “You must not muzzle the ox when he is treading out the corn.” - deuteronomy 25:4

      ethical employment -

      “the seventh day is a sabbath unto G!D, on it you must not do any manner of work, [....]nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates;”

      alimony after divorce -

      “When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it comes to pass, if she finds no favour in his eyes [...] that he writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it into her hand, and sends her out of his house” - deuteronomy 24:1

      any clue yet?



    27. ali hussian — on 19th March, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

      The governmnets support for BMF is a death kneel in its coffin and i can tell you thsi organisation is frequented by all those maulvis who cannot speak english. all the more educated types are with MCB and MCB is seen as more representing than all other orgnaisation put together.
      So cry and cry loud but these mini govt supported organisations will not have much support anyway as the commnuinty suspest them due to their links with a governmnet which is reposnibel for the murder of milliosn of people across the world! there…

    28. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

      too many acronyms!

      The Muslim community is discriminating against dyslexics — imagine how confusing all of this is.

      I personally think the BMF should make way for the EMF

    29. soru — on 19th March, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

      or the MILF

    30. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      I’d definitely support that soru

    31. Sunny — on 19th March, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

      did a religiously linked acronym knock down a sand castle of yours or something?

      Fugstar - which statement above I’ve written do you actually disagree with?

    32. Suzy — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

      Fugstar you get an A+ for pomposity and internet hyper-defensivness. Congratulations! Tell your friends you came top of the class.

    33. fugstar — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

      But then what traction does the bareilwi movement have with combustible youth? I just remember lots of pointless theological battling between deobandis annd barelwis, still raging today , messing up pakistan and the internet. Its the kind of debilitating religious backdrop that young folks tend to steer away from.

      I cant really speak about all the darul ulooms, but their are some tabligh outfits attached to the members list, something that gives me hope that its more broadbased that what i initially thought.

      I guess we wait and see Zareen Apa has my support anyway, I wonder what she can do.

      Its from the very title ‘Reign’ ‘over’
      When was the reign? Where was the time when they had any real power to direct advice to anything but to most low powered government decision.

      I really dont understand the reasons why folks think its all about tea at downing street and dubiously sourced and highly contingent government funding. Its a misestimation of intentions and a misdirection of scrutiny.

      oo thats my first one! but hang on, im *giving* the class. i do mean my pseudo point about taking internet pr too seriously. Muslim institutional life, internal reform and the like, is important to me. Thats why slating them with premature broadbrush strokes is not my favourite pastime.

      Religious Muslims and their institutions and opinions seem to be important in policy and media circles at the moment because of the terrorism thing. Its a level of attention that other subcommunities should be aware of the -ves of. Its understandable given whats happened but patronising, invasive, counterproductive, ignorance led… and quite tiring.

      Nothing to be envious of at all.

    34. lithcol — on 20th March, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

      Who ever cared anything about what the MCB thought? Individuals heading this organization seem to be trapped in a predeluvion mindset. Are they really fully fledged UK citizens? The BNP seem more progressive by comparison.
      The government made a mistake in cosying up to this essentially fascist organisation. At last reality is breaking out.

    35. Kulvinder — on 21st March, 2007 at 1:46 am  


    36. douglas clark — on 21st March, 2007 at 2:23 am  


      I cannot find either predeluvian or deluvian in my dictionary.

      But an internet search produced this:

      Which I think tells you quite a lot about the World Wide Web.

      Yet I am strangely aware of the word. I have seen it before, somewhere. It is surely to do with before the Flood? I.e. really ancient, pre-history? Something like that? It is obviously not in common usage, as it’s not in my Dictionary. Still, I knew what he meant. Odd that.

    37. bananabrain — on 21st March, 2007 at 8:33 am  

      the word you are looking for is “antediluvian”, meaning “from before the flood”. noah’s, that is.



    38. Eddie — on 22nd March, 2007 at 10:25 am  

      What is the link between Pickled politics and NGN?

      NGN started so well but we’ve heard nothing more.
      I hope Yasmin AB and author Hari are still keen.

    39. Twining or Black in Blue — on 22nd March, 2007 at 10:52 am  

      Ruth Kelly does have interesting religious views on people that are gay. These are only beliefs mind you and they don’t affect Ruth’s decisions on education and gay people in school or assaults which are homophobic. The suggestion that they might are just perceptions in our heads. Is she really equipped for the job of race and diversity?

    40. Twining or Black in Blue — on 22nd March, 2007 at 10:53 am  

      Mind you, Sir Iqbal’s views were similar.

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