UK: I don't think Muslim Council of Britain or Sir Iqbal Sacranie is in denial at all. They know exactly what is going on and who says what. What they are mad about is the BBC didn't try to sugarcoat it.
|Britain's most powerful Islamic body is "in denial" about the prevalence of extreme views among its members, one of its founders has told the BBC.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) pledged to tackle extremism "head on" after the 7 July attacks in London.
But in a BBC Panorama special, Mehbood Kantharia and other prominent British Muslims question the MCB's commitment to meeting this challenge.
The MCB has branded the programme "deeply unfair" and a "witch-hunt".
....Mehbood Kantharia was a member of the MCB's central working committee between 1997 and 2004, but has since left the organisation.
He told Panorama: "It is my personal view that because they are in a state of denial they cannot become real, you know, sort of like, forthright, really forthright about wanting to do something about the kind of extremism that prevails."
The MCB, an umbrella organisation of about 400 mosques and other Islamic groups, is seen as representing mainstream Muslim opinion in the UK.
On Saturday the council said Mr Kantharia had informed it that his remarks were not referring to the MCB.
....But an investigation by Panorama reporter John Ware found groups affiliated to the MCB promoting anti-Semitic views, the belief that Islam is a superior ideology to secular British values and the view that Christians and Jews are conspiring to undermine Islam.
In an interview with Mr Ware, Sir Iqbal refused to disown a group known as Al-e-Hadith, which says the ways of Christians and Jews "are based on sick or deviant views" and that "imitating the Kuffar [non-Muslims] leads to a permanent abode in hellfire".
Commenting on the group, Sir Iqbal said "we must accept the reality" of the diversity within the Muslim community in the UK.
He also praised the work of the Islamic Foundation, which promotes the teachings of Jamaa'at Islami founder Sayid Mawdudi.
Mr Mawdudi wrote Islam was a "revolutionary ideology which seeks to alter the social order of the entire world".
In a wide ranging interview, Mr Ware also tackled Sir Iqbal on his decision not to attend the Holocaust Day Memorial and his attendance of a memorial service for Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who supported suicide bombers in Israel.
Asked what kind of signal his presence at Sheikh Yassin's memorial service sends to young British Muslims, Sir Iqbal said: "If your whole question is based upon one aspect of that person's belief in terms of supporting it, we look into the wider picture. The suicide bombing that you're referring to is one aspect of the whole struggle."
But Sir Iqbal condemned suicide bombings by British Muslims anywhere and said there was no difference between the life of a Palestinian and the life of a Jew and that all life was sacred.
In a separate interview, a senior spokesman for one of the MCB's main affiliates, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), appeared to condone the glorification of suicide bombers. |
No, Sir Iqbal, that is not diversity. If you claim to represent the mainstream(which you do not) then groups like Al-e-Hadith need to be shoved out. Your refusal only fuels the suspicion that the MCB and you are full of it. It's no wonder the MCB went nuts about this show, it exposes them.
More from the Guardian
|"....The Observer understands that the MCB's secretary general, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, called from abroad to approach contributors critical of the organisation. The MCB's media spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, also called critics after he was passed a transcript of the documentary, entitled 'A Question of Leadership'.
One senior source close to the programme told The Observer: 'The BBC is aware that the MCB have been making unorthodox approaches to a number of contributors, putting pressure on them to withdraw.'
The escalation of the feud, first revealed in The Observer last week, has caused astonishment at the corporation, which was last week accused of a 'pro-Israeli' agenda by the MCB."|