It is incredible that a biased apologist like Faisal Bodi (Let us speak for ourselves, 18 July 2006) seeks to defend the indefensible. Bodi asserts that the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is the authoritative voice of British Muslims and disparages alternative organisations that have a more pluralistic, progressive and pertinent mission. He downplays his ideological affinity with the MCB and betrays his own rightwing theological leanings by carefully concealing his links with the Islam channel, the largely Saudi-financed, London-based TV station for reactionary ecclesiastical (Wahhabi, Salafi, Ikwani and Deobandi) propaganda in the UK. His covert connections with this kind of Islamic ultra-conservatism nullify his objectivity and impugn his journalistic integrity. Bodi should come clean and openly acknowledge his denominational allegiances and political loyalties.
Since its emergence, the MCB and its affiliates have been rightly castigated on several fronts. In addition to remaining stooges of New Labour, the MCB cabal maintains a cultural misogynism with no meaningful female representation in its hierarchy and diverts its resources to champion irrelevant religious causes and peripheral issues like anachronistic tribal dress codes (jilbab) while neglecting priority problems faced by British Muslims today. No credible or substantive MCB-inspired solutions to deal with disproportionate unemployment, inadequate housing, poor education, deplorable health, escalating drug abuse, rising juvenile criminality, growing social exclusion and disturbing political alienation have been forthcoming from this government-manipulated coterie.
By attracting hardline traditionalists and rigid fundamentalists to its banner and egged on by fervent Deobandi / Wahhabi clerics who are not fully reconciled to life in Britain, the MCB cannot legitimately claim to represent modern Muslims. The political opportunists and religious ideologues of the MCB do not speak for diverse 21st century British Muslims. They have forfeited any residual right to be the primary conduit for the community. The sooner rival groupings like the British Muslim Forum and the Sufi Muslim Council gain formal recognition the better the prospects for a rational and tolerant Islam that is rooted in and relevant to Britain.
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This MECO letter was sent to the editor of The Times newspaper on 10th July 2006 in response to Michael Portillo’s article “NO OFFENCE, IMAM, BUT WE MUST CALL IT ISLAMIC TERROR”