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Of course. Labour has to think of the election and it shares with the MCB one commonality. The MCB wants tocreate a Muslim Identity to bolster its political credentials......Labour fears the creation of a Muslim Political Party which will eat away its inner-city seats in the areas of growing population and future redistribution.

That is what they have in common.

Both want to smother the terrorism issue with foam and suppress anyone who dares to go public with what is really going on.

Any chance Hazel Blears can engage with the English They can't win an election without them too?

Extereme groups should not be tolerated, but they should not be ignored either. The MCB should not be given importance above its station, but pushing them out of any discussion of radical Islam will hardly help tackling it.

I do think the issue of Hamas is unrelated: dealing with a fringe group in the UK is very different from dealing with the elected government of a quasi-sovereign state. However awful Hamas' ideas might be, ignoring them will only make conditions in Palestine worse.

"Labour fears the creation of a Muslim Political Party which will eat away its inner-city seats in the areas of growing population and future redistribution."

Interesting perspective Tomtom. Labour have taken the asian vote for granted for decades. Now they find they are fast losing support from Asian communities.

My own view is that its a mistake to shut groups out of dialogue. Their rhetoric will only become more radical if they see themselves as being outside of the decision making process.

On the subject of Ruth Kelly, it is rumoured that her plan to switch from the marginal Bolton West seat to the safe Bolton South East seat was scuppered when it became clear that the huge Pakistani/Asian population in Bolton S.E voiced their opposition to Ruth Kelly due to her support for the war in Iraq and her attitude towards the Muslim council of Britain. This just goes to show the importance of keeping communities on-board if we are ever to achieve good, positive relations. Shutting groups like the MCB out of dialogue only serves to alienate the communities that support them.

but pushing them out of any discussion of radical Islam will hardly help tackling it.

Why not have talks with The Muslim Brotherhood directly ? Oh sorry we do. We pay to send them all on a shindig to Turkey.

The Muslim Council of Britain does not represent Muslims in Britain but is the mouthpiece of the Muslim groups outside Britain who want to reorganise Britain.

the most explosive charge made in the Channel 4 program concerned the alliance between Blair and the Muslim Council of Britain. Despite having over 175 British Muslim organizations among its membership, according to Bright, the group is dominated by officials from radical Islamic organizations. In particular, the Muslim Association of Britain advocates an engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest radical Islamic organization in the world; and the Islamic Foundation, which was founded by senior officials of the extremist Jamaat—i—Islami, a political party committed to implementing shari'a law in Pakistan. Perhaps not coincidently, the Islamic Foundation recently announced that two staff members had been appointed to prominent British government positions.

The Channel 4 program is not the first to note the close association between Blair's administration and the MCB, and the acceptance by the British government of the MCB as the sole voice of representation of British Muslims. Last August, Bright wrote a piece for The Observer noting the Blair/MCB alliance:

The MCB was officially founded in November 1997, shortly after Tony Blair came to power, and has had a close relationship with the Labour government ever since. Its detractors claim it was the creature of Jack Straw, but his predecessor as Home Secretary, Michael Howard, also played a role in its establishment as a semi—official channel of communication with British Muslims. It remains particularly influential within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which has a little—known outreach department which works with Britain's Muslims. The FCO pamphlet Muslims in Britain is essentially an MCB publication and the official ministerial celebration of the Muslim festival of Eid is organised jointly with the MCB.

A week after Bright's report last year, the BBC aired an expos� on its' Panorama program, A Question of Leadership, which charged that government leaders and the officials of the MCB were still dismissive of the rise of radical Islam within Britain even after the 7/7 London suicide bombings.

One MCB official that became the focus of the BBC Panorama broadcast was then—MCB Secretary General, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who in the program likened Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin to Nelson Mandela and Gandhi, despite his authorization and justification of suicide bombings targeting innocent Israeli citizens.

Those who fight oppression, those who fight occupation, cannot be termed as terrorist, they are freedom fighters, in the same way as Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid, in the say way as Gandhi and many others fought the British rule in India. There are people in different parts of the world who today, in terms of historical side of it, those who fought oppression are now the real leaders of the world.

Under Sacranie's watch at MCB, in 2001 the organization began to loudly boycott the annual January 27th Holocaust Day ceremonies in England. In a 2001 press release (no longer available on their website), the MCB cited the absence of recognition of genocide in Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir, as well as the 'alleged Armenian genocide' among its reasons for boycotting the event (the Government of Turkey still refusing to acknowledge the massacre of 1—2 million Armenians in 1915, apparently along with the MCB).

In 2003, the group explained that they would not participate in any Holocaust commemoration that did not include recognition of 'the Palestinian Genocide' by Israel. After taking heat each year for their boycott, in 2005 Sacranie enlarged his explanation, writing in The Guardian that the event was 'too exclusive', because it did not recognize similar genocidal campaigns in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya and Darfur (ironically, perpetrated by Sudanese Muslims). Earlier this year, they refused to participate in a 60th anniversary service remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.

Sir Iqbal first gained notoriety in 1989, when as head of the UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs he spoke out against Salman Rushdie and his book, The Satanic Verses, saying, 'Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him ... his mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah.' Sacranie was in Iran at the time that Ayatollah Khomeini issued the infamous fatwa calling for Rushdie's murder, and many commentators then believed that Sacranie had a hand in Khomeini's pronouncement. In a Washington Post editorial last August, The Right Time for An Islamic Reformation, Rushdie shot back at his old nemesis, saying bluntly, 'If Sir Iqbal Sacranie is the best Blair can offer in the way of a good Muslim, we have a problem.'

Notwithstanding his Holocaust Day boycotts, calls for legislation banning speech 'defaming Islam', and hailing Palestinian terrorists as 'freedom fighters', in July 2005, Sacranie received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth, 'for services to the Muslim Community, to Charities and the Community Relations.' This appointment was seen by many as an effort by the Blair government to rehabilitate the public image of one of their closest Muslim allies.

Inayat Bunglawala, the Media Secretary of the MCB, is another of Tony Blair's favorites. Last August, in the wake of the 7/7 terror attacks, Bunglawala was appointed by Blair as one of seven 'conveners' of an official government task force charged with tackling extremism among Muslim youth in Britain. And yet Bunglawala has a long history of making explicit anti—Semitic statements, accusing British media of being 'Zionist controlled', praising convicted 1993 World Trade Center Bombing accomplice Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, and hailing Osama bin Laden as a 'freedom fighter' just months before 9/11 while distributing hundreds of copies of bin Laden's statements and writings.

Needless to say, last year's BBC expos� and last week's Channel 4 program has been met with considerable criticism by the MCB and the Blair Administration. Just prior to airing Bright's documentary last Friday, the Daily Mail reported that Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Sir Michael Jay demanded heavy edits to the program — a request that Channel 4 refused. Needless to say, the Blair and his ministers refused to allow anyone to appear on the program to respond to the publication of the Foreign Office secret documents.

Even before the program was broadcast, the MCB issued a statement charging that Martin Bright was 'well known to British Muslims for his Islamophobic views', and saying that in the program 'Bright wheels out a motley crew of some discredited and some unknown figures to support his ludicrous arguments,' specifically identifying an official from the Sufi Muslim Council, a competing organization that was formed because of the MCB's radical policies and to give a voice to more moderate Muslims.

Bright responded quickly to MCB's charges last Friday in The Guardian, before the airing of the program later that evening, arguing that the conduct of the government, not the existence of the MCB, was the real issue:

A series of leaked Foreign Office documents, demonstrate that the mandarins dealing with the Middle East believe we have no choice but to engage with the radical religious right, such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Officials seem to think that Islamists are the coming force in the Middle East and so dialogue is necessary. But what most people don't know is that the same officials, based in a department called Engaging with the Islamic World, also deal with British Muslim issues. My argument is that the government's engagement strategy has become poisoned by the Foreign Office's inaccurate picture of moderate, mainstream British Muslim opinion.

It is clear from the evidence that Bright presents in his that something is rotten in both

Bungwala's father has a conviction for trying to import drugs into the UK

I'm not sure that talking with people or groups that we find abhorrent is the same as 'negiating' with them.After all what could Britain possibly concede to Hamas that would persuade them to abandon terrorism?
I agree with those who question whether the self appointed MCB really is all that influential across the muslim community but to refuse to talk with them would be pointless.

I'm not sure that talking with people or groups that we find abhorrent is the same as 'negiating' with them. After all what could Britain possibly concede to Hamas that would persuade them to abandon terrorism?

Indeed not - we should never negotiate with terrorists. There is a moral absolute: we cannot concede anything or try to compromise in any way. But we must speak to them.

"...But we must speak to them." - In order to say what, exactly?

After all what could Britain possibly concede to Hamas that would persuade them to abandon terrorism?

That does reflect a muddled mind Malcolm. So we can concede everything and get nothing...but that is no reason not to concede.

I can see your mindset

If certain groups are ostracized it acts as a propaganda coup for the more radical elements. Dialogue offers groups an avenue of compromise, a way out of the dead-end of terrorism and an opportunity to engage with wider society. Alan Clark once suggested that we take out 600 IRA terrorists and shoot them. If we had done that would we have solved the problems in Northern Ireland? Dialogue is the way forward, however painfull and protracted it may be.

TomTom is right, taking any notice whatever of the MCB or the MAB is utterly counterproductive. If we cannot find Muslim groups that are genuinely interested in democracy, British values and mores, and freedom of religion, including the right of Muslims to leave Islam then we should stop attempting to 'engage' with Muslims as a special interest group and simply behave towards them as we would any other British person.

We have nothing to offer Islamists but our way of life and freedoms, they have nothing to offer us but servitude.

I'd like for the a British Government to talk to the MCB. It is right and proper to do so, but only if the sole words spoken by the Government representative says:

"We are now enacting emergency powers and will, irrespective of any other legislation, be deporting you all to an as yet undesignated destination. However, it will be a long way outside of the UK."

Oh, I can only dream, I suppose.

Your long comment is very interesting, TomTom. What I am going to say may sound unrealistic to some, but when considering the actions that this vote-mad government have already pursued, with the hopeful intention ('hopeful' because apart from postal votes, one cannot be sure what someone is going to put on their ballot paper), of guaranteeing more labour votes -- my contention is - that it would not surprise me in the least if some back door arrangement was being organised, to facilitate sharia law being introduced in cities with a majority Muslim population!!! Yes it might sound ridiculous, but this 'son of the manse', who has I believe appointed a daughter of the manse to be leader of the labour party in Scotland, should be familiar with 'church' law, even more than state law, is very hard-pressed at the moment with violent crime (no matter the 'statistics' that his ministers trot out)on the obvious increase, and EVERYBODY calling for him to find a solution and not just 'I will...' or 'We will...' statements that everybody knows mean NOTHING - might well feel that this would solve (temporarily) one problem, leaving him more time to consider all the other problems. Of course this Prime Minister is not very good at forseeing side-effects of actions or laws......

This happens rarely, but when it does it is worthy of note (to me, anyway!). I am in 100% agreement with TomTom in the first post above. The Labour Party -- and the LibDems -- are desperate to form some Nazi-Soviet pact type deal with MCB in order to prevent the loss of votes to something new and vile. The question for us: is that better than the alternative? The answer is: no. It's always better to attack extremism directly than to see it submerged into some sort of mainstream mishmash. Just keep this in mind: the MCB is led by people who hate gay people. They were previously led by the (honoured by Labour) bloke who thought that death was 'too good' for Salman Rushdie. Of course you, dear reader, are probably neither gay nor a Booker prize-winning novelist -- but think about your gay friends. Do you want to traduce them in some sort of hopeless attempt to accommodate 'mainstream' (not) Islamist lobby group? The MCB's views are repugnant and they do not speak for most Britons. Ignore them, cut all funding they receive, marginalise them and let that organisation wither.

The only way to break down the socio/cultural gulf between communities is through dialogue. The danger is that without dialogue we lose imput into such communities. We lose an opportunity to understand and influence their mode of thinking. It is a mistake to think that the MCB is entirely of one mind-set. The MCB like any organization with be composed of different elements, some radical and some moderate. Faliure to engage the MCB will hand impetus and initiative to the radicals.

I don't think we can cut off contact with people like the MCB, but we need to make sure people recognise them for who they are. As far as I can see, they're like Migrationwatch and Liberty - big national voice, but don't actually represent anyone.

Well nothing has changed there then.
NuLab has a history of dealing with extremists, terrorists, phschopaths and murderers....vide the IRA/Sein Fein deal. So they probably see nothing wrong in having a dialogue with the IslamoFascists.
It has always been the dogma of the left to deal with the freedom fighters and support them, rather than your own, it fits in with the Marxists principles that all these tossers espouse, publicly or privately.
The majority of people realise that this dialogue is an expedient necessity to shore up flagging support in the Northern cities where these radicals and extremists hold sway. These types do not represent the main stream Muslim opinion. They are self appointed, arrogant and only interested in power for themselves.
In engaging with these people NuLab are sowing the seeds of deeper cultural breakdown, as quid pro pro's will be demanded. One of which, no doubt, will be the demand for a Muslim Parliament, to represent the muslim people, run by them, which will seek to deny our democratic rights and traditions to all muslims in the UK.
When you sup with the devil, even a long spoon doesn't save you from getting burnt!.
DC has many open goals to score in, and NuLabs failure to deal with extremists, of the muslim ilk, is a disaster. The indiginous population can already see the other side of the equation, with the BNP/NF persecuted, and PC denying the right to fair discussion on many subject matters.
DC must keep plugging away, more of the Shadow Cabinet must make the effort to get to the front pages backing up what has been said within their purview.

TomTom re your post to me, 'eh?'. You'll have to post in much more simple language for a humble chap like me to understand your no doubt very wise words.

"Now we are seeing the growth of positive forces acting against integration, of vested interests in the preservation and sharpening of racial and religious differences, with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population. The cloud no bigger than a man's hand, that can so rapidly overcast the sky, has been visible recently in Wolverhampton and has shown signs of spreading quickly."

Islam is the single biggest threat to our cultural heritage and way of life.
I am sick and tired of people living in this country being concerned about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks people are outwardly seeking to identify their nationhood, be it English, Scottish or Welsh. Politicians are now seeking to further their own agenda by promoting something called “Britishness”; no English, Scottish or Welsh person would call themselves British, as a nationality it does not exist; that is for holders of UK passports with their origins elsewhere.

However, woolly liberals and the "politically correct" brigades, and ethnic groups, now complain that this patriotism is offensive. I am not against immigration, nor do I resent anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to the UK. However, there are some things those who have recently come to our country, and some who were born here, need to understand. The move toward the UK being a multicultural community has resulted in a dilution of our sovereignty and national identity. As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, our own lifestyle and manner of dress. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom and emancipation. We speak ENGLISH, if you wish to become part of our society, learn our language! We also have (or at least had) the notion of free speech

The fabric of our culture is based in the Christian belief, most Britons believe in God. This is not a right wing, Christian drive but fact because Christian men and women, anchored in Christian principles, have, over the centuries, made this country what it is today. If the Union Flag, the National Anthem, crucifix crosses, Christmas Carols or Christian festivals offend you, then you should seriously consider a move to another country because, despite increasing secularisation, Christianity is part of our culture.

We will accept your beliefs may be different from ours; all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. This may mean adopting certain elements of a British lifestyle that are unfamiliar to you. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really do not care how you did things where you came from. By all means keep your culture within your own community, but do not force it on others, nor should you attempt to foist on us your religious views, deities or festivals.

This is our country, our land and our lifestyle; you have been granted the opportunity to enjoy all these freedoms generations of Britons have fought for. If you wish to complain, whinge, criticise, gripe or in any other way disparage our flag, our Christian beliefs, or our culture you should take advantage of one other great British freedom, "the right to emigrate". If you are not happy here then leave. We did not force you to come here. You asked to be here. Accordingly, accept the country you chose as it is and do not make any attempt to change things.

We also have to be careful about backing the Sufi Muslim Council, the "rival" to the MCB. The sufis, know in Britain as the Dervishes until recently, have a particularly vicious history when it comes to their relations with the christian world.

-They have converted more christians to Islam than anybody else, from the 10th century onwards.
-Chechnya, which was predominantly animist but also Christian until the mid-1700s, was converted by the Naqshbandi Order Sufis, and was fighting a religious war for Islam against christianity within less than a hundred years.
-Some of the most dedicated of Saladin's anti-christian advisors were Sufis. They asked to personally behead Hospitaller and Templar knights after the battle of Hattin.
-It is estimated that, over several centuries, 500 000 christians children on the borders of the ottoman empire were taken away by the turks, converted as children to Sufi Islam and were made to serve in the janissary corps (whose 'chaplains' were sufis/dervishes ), and sometimes even made to fight their former christian communities.
This was called the "Devshirme System".
- Sufism acts like a cult, it doesn't just damage Christian culture next to it, it damages ordinary muslim communities. That is why sufism is so unpopular among the ruling classes of places like modern day turkey. Attaturk, after an initial period of attration to them when younger, later detested them to an extreme degree, and outlawed them. Dervish groups are still illegal there (except under the guise of "cultural reinactment groups for tourists").
-Sufism usually operates in the following manner: the teacher is as polite, helpful and courteous as possible to everybody, and demonstrates the repect with which he is held by his followers (who usually secretly think he has special powers and holds their life in his hands). Meanwhile hyperventilation or other exercises, combined with what cultologists call "love bombing", confuse the individual and he starts to interpret the incidental and the accidental as coming from the leader who is empowered by god. The dervish exercises, as well as muddling the individual slightly, also make him feel a little lighthearted ("interpreted as blessing from god, vibrating at a higher level,gives you good luck and this is all chanelled and controlled in its effect by the leader etc..."). Some dervish exercises also make a person feel slightly unwell in the longer term (hyperventilation for example), and the individual's reliance on the leader is increased. The dervish leader meanwhile, when trying to increase his flock, tries to stay on as excellent terms as possible with everyone.
-The problem is of course, that the dervish/sufi leader can turn around in an instant, order a suicide bombing or demonstrations or conversion to islam if his flock are not yet muslim, and a certain percentage will always acquiece, because the leader has special powers, and is blessed by god.

Therefore, if we are going to reject the MCB, fair enough, but we must also take the sufis/dervishes for what they are, and reject the Sufi Muslim Council.
If it means constructing a new Muslim Council, so what? Let us build a mainstream muslim council that has neither litteralist nor dervish/sufi affiliations: both of these extremes are bad for us and bad for the british muslim communities.

<>powellite - they're like Migrationwatch and Liberty - big national voice, but don't actually represent anyone.

Migrationwatch speaks for a huge majority of concerned people in this country.

Your ID is intended as some kind of joke/windup isn't it, 'powellite'?

John Ware

The MCB have also blotted their copybook on integration. Although Bari protested to Kelly that the MCB has “sought to develop a British Muslim discourse centred on the theme[s] of integration,” it has been integration on the MCB’s terms. The MCB leadership opposed government plans to put an end to the suffering of scores of young—mainly Muslim—women through forced marriages because it would “stigmatise our communities.” Nor did Sacranie’s strictures on same-sex relationships being “harmful” do him any favours.................Sacranie was knighted despite being listed as a trustee of a global alliance of Islamic charities called the Union of Good, chaired by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has said of the Israel-Palestine conflict: “We must plant the love of death in the Islamic nation.” Like al-Qaradawi, several of Sacranie’s fellow trustees are members or supporters of Hamas and have extolled the theological virtues of suicide bombing directed at civilians in the Israel-Palestine conflict. According to Muslim Weekly, the new deputy MCB secretary-general, Daud Abdullah, referred to Hamas as “we” at a recent Trafalgar Square rally. And Abdullah was behind the MCB’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial day, successfully resisting the efforts of a sizeable minority of MCB members who want it lifted to repair relations between British Muslims and Jews.

I wonder whether our esteemed Prime Minister would be prepared to convert to Islam sometime in the future. No, this is not a wind-up! In a programme hosted by Melvin Bragg no less, in the late night religious slot on a Sunday about two weeks ago - the title being - 'The Muslim Jesus', one muslim interviewed said quite seriously that practicing Christians would have to convert to Islam if Muslims became the majority here. I was surprised that no one picked it up afterwards.

So I repeat the question WOULD Mr. Brown consider converting to Islam if/when a Muslim majority occurred.

There's one word in the piece that bothers me, FUNDING why on earth are WE funding groups such as this, then again with a Labour government its not suprising

It's instructive to observe the usual Tory bias in favour of Israel and against Muslims.

I think we all know the reason for that.

Clearly one sector of Britons will not be getting equal treatment in the unlikely event of another Tory government.

The good news is that Hell will freeze over before such an event occurs.

It would be sensible to listen to TomTom on this. As a fellow West Yorks member, I have worked out through his posts that he is in Bradford. This is a city which has been dubbed Bradistan before now. He must be in the public sector somewhere, as his knowledge is so extensive. Teacher, NHS, lecturer, social services, local solicitor?
Anyway, he speaks from a sound knowledge base. as I recognise the truth of his posts from my own working life. So listen up folks when he is on home ground! Not so sure when its plain politics though Tom Tom!!!

Nice theory Annabel but you are way off-base


Well hardly surprising is it? Brown will call an early election so the support from the Muslim block vote will serve him well, hence a nicely nicely approach of starting talk etc, how sad.

I confess I find it rather sad that the Muslim vote is still viewed as a core Labour constituency - especially when the Blair/Brown ideals are so incompatible with many Islamic cultural ideals.

The social conservatism and belief in family values and the value of hard work that characterise the majority of moderate Muslims are more in keeping with our views than those of Labour.

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