Thursday, 26 March 2009

CONTEST 2 > Muslim Council of Britain

Variuos shades of opinion about the MCB, CONTEST 2, and related matters. As usual, the site disclaimer applies. Other opinions are available, etc. (many on other blogs!):

Guardian, Muslim Council accuses government of undermining independence, 26 Mar 09 "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."

The Herald, UK citizens encouraged to confront terror threat, 25 Mar 09

Opinion piece: Philip Johnston, Telegraph, Time to speak up about Britain's Islamists, 22 Mar 09 "Countering extremist propaganda is a proper use for public money, provided it goes to the right people. Yet there is growing evidence that it does not. There needs to be a far more aggressive and public challenge to those aspects of Islamic radicalism that are inimical to a liberal democracy: the idea that a pan-Islamic state or caliphate is an acceptable political aim; or that Sharia law should be allowed anywhere in this country; or that jihad should be supported around the world as matter of faith. It is about identifying and speaking up for shared values. Nobody pretends these are easy issues. But there is no point in the Government ducking them in the interests of "community harmony" if it simply ends up accommodating – and even funding – groups that are hostile to the basic tenets of our way of life."

Opinion piece: Seumas Milne, Guardian, This counter-terror plan is in ruins. Try one that works, 26 Mar 09 "The British government's brand new counter-terrorism strategy is already in disarray - and ministers have only themselves to blame. The souped-up plan to fight al-Qaida, confound dirty bombers, halt suicide attacks and confront "extremism" in the country's Muslim community was unveiled by the prime minister with much fanfare on Tuesday. But even before the 175-page "Contest 2" document had been launched, the credibility of its promise to engage with the Muslim mainstream had been thrown into question by the decision of Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, to cut all links with the Muslim Council of Britain."

Also see:

Muslim Council of Britain, British Muslims to Hold Public Meeting to Discuss Government Interference, 25 Mar 09 "The Muslim Council of Britain is to hold a public meeting of representatives of British Muslim organisations this Saturday 28th March 2009 (11 AM -2:00 PM) at the Islamic Cultural Centre and London Central Mosque (Regents Park), London to discuss the attempts led by some Government Ministers to try and undermine the independence of the Muslim Council of Britain, the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body.

""We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support we have received from concerned Muslims and non-Muslims following the action taken by Communities and Local Government Secretary of State Hazel Blears MP. It is important to uphold the principle of governmental non-interference in voluntary community organisations. This meeting will provide an opportunity for British Muslims to make their views known in a clear manner and to also comment on the government's new CONTEST 2 strategy," said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

"Representatives from a wide range of Muslim organisations including those who are not affiliated with the MCB are expected to attend the meeting."