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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Muslim Council of Britain seethes and whines

From The Guardian:
Britain's largest Muslim body has accused ministers of wanting to "undermine its independence" by demanding one of its leaders be removed from office.

The accusation is the strongest public attack yet by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in its row with the government after ministers broke off relations earlier this month.

Hazel Blears, the communities and local government minister, wrote to the MCB demanding the resignation of Daud Abdullah, its deputy secretary general, after he allegedly called for violence against Israel.
This is very misleading; as the Guardian itself reported, Blears was upset over Abdullah's seeming support for Muslims attacking British troops as well as support for attacking Jewish communities. The Guardian is trying to make it look like this is simply a Zionist plot - essentially what the MCB claims.

Today the MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala told the Guardian that the government only wanted to deal with Muslim groups who were "stooges" and "spineless", and vowed the council would resist attempts to interfere in how it was run.
By cutting ties with the MCB, the British government is not mandating how the MCB is run.

But The Guardian is publishing a plethora of apologetics for the MCB:
In principle, whom the MCB chooses as its office-holders is none of Blears's business. The very unfortunate precedent she is trying to set reflects the practices of a totalitarian state – China perhaps, or Zimbabwe. I am shocked that such a mindset could emerge in the UK.
And this:
Whether or not we approve of the Istanbul declaration's content, there is little doubt that it represents a significant strand of Muslim opinion, in Britain and elsewhere. By refusing to acknowledge this and instead bestowing its favours on cuddly but marginal Sufi organisations, the government is destroying whatever credibility its policy of engagement might have had.
The arguments are absurd, of course, as they claim that the UK must excuse terror if a minority of its citizens accept terror and it wants to engage with that group. But they also ignore a much more salient fact: The MCB has received funding from the British Government.

In 2006, the MCB received £300,000 from the UK's Department for International Development, £148,160 in 2005 from the Home Office and some other smaller sums that have been documented.

The MCB can elect whomever it wants as its leadership. But the UK has an obligation to make sure that taxpayer monies do not go to groups who support terror. Beyond that, as long as the MCB is requesting money from the government, it has no right to whine about "undermining its independence" - if it wants independence, it should not accept money from outsiders; if it accepts money, it must also accept oversight on how the money is being used.