Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bunting to the rescue of UK Islam and MCB!

UK: Madeleine Bunting tries so hard to find the good of MCB and bash the Panaroma documentary that she flays around hitting nothing in the process.

A campaign is being orchestrated through the media to destroy the credibility of many of the most important Muslim institutions in Britain, including the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The impact of this campaign - in the Observer and particularly in John Ware's Panorama documentary last night - will be a powerful boost for the increasingly widespread view that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim: underneath, "they" are all extremists who are racist, contemptuous of the west, and intent on a political agenda. A legitimate and much-needed debate among British Muslims about a distinctive expression of Islam in a non-Muslim country has been hijacked and poisonously distorted. Journalists need to be very careful: we are entering a new era of McCarthyism and, if we are not to be complicit, we need to be scrupulously responsible and conscientious in unravelling the complexity of Islam in its many spiritual and political interpretations in recent decades. The central charge of the campaign is that the MCB, its secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, and some of its most important affiliates - such as the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, the Muslim Association of Britain and the East London Mosque - condone or even actively promote ideas which, as Ware claimed in Panorama, "feed extremism"; such ideas are a "slippery slope", which "people who become extremists start to go down".
Ladies and Gentlemen, your "moderate" UK Muslims!
Rushdie: "However, this is the same Sacranie who, in 1989, said that "Death is perhaps too easy" for the author of "The Satanic Verses." Telegraph: "Inayat Bunglawala, the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain: Mr Bunglawala's past comments include the allegation that the British media was "Zionist-controlled". Writing for a Muslim youth magazine in 1992, he said: "The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade [then the chief executive of Channel 4 and now BBC chairman] and Alan Yentob [BBC2 controller and friend of Salman Rushdie]." In January 1993, Mr Bunglawala wrote a letter to Private Eye, the satirical magazine, in which he called the blind Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman "courageous" - just a month before he bombed the World Trade Center in New York. Five months before 9/11, Mr Bunglawala also circulated writings of Osama bin Laden, who he regarded as a "freedom fighter", to hundreds of Muslims in Britain."
Bunting is off to a rip roaring start in her defense. But later in the piece, she says
In that short exchange, Ware revealed his lack of comprehension of the Muslim community. Sacranie only has as much power as the MCB affiliate organisations allow him - the idea of him putting an imam right is ridiculous. The tiny, volunteer-run MCB doesn't have the power to police the views of its disparate membership.
MCB said in defense of how they were portrayed in the documentary.
The most powerful Islamic body in Britain admitted yesterday that it had failed to carry out even basic checks for extremism among its affiliated groups. ...."We do not have time to check the websites of every organisation," Mr Bunglawala said. "As long as they sign a statement saying they agree to abide by the constitution and pay the £25, they are free to join. We can't control what our affiliates say; we are not a policing organisation."
So, the most "powerful" and "important" group in the UK for Muslims is the equivalent of joining the Who's Who book series. Wonderful, they are really representing the Islamic community well. If this is all they really are, then why is everyone talking to them? They can't change anything or help. The MCB is a joke and their whining about this documentary in the face of the evidence already public proves they are too stupid or disconnected from reality to continue to be the face of Muslims. Come to think of it, maybe this is another reason they hated this show, it exposed them for being nothing more than an empty shell.

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