British Muslim Brotherhood organizations are weighing in with reactions to the recent terror attacks in the U.K. Past attacks have been the occasion for furious damage control and posturing on the part of these organizations and the same pattern is evident now. A statement made to Islam Online by the Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), perhaps tailored for the Islam Online audience, was widely pilloried in the “blogosphere”:
Such incidents create tensions and suspicions,’ he said when asked whether Muslim extremists might be behind the attacks. ‘Let’s not create a hypothetical problem’¦it can be the work of Muslims, Christians, Jews or Buddhists.’
Osama Saeed, the Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), also attempted to distance the Muslim community from the attacks. According to local media, Mr. Saeed was also keeping “optimistic” that the men were not terrorists, and said he would be “astounded” if the facts proved otherwise. He said:
If it turns out to be part of the wider war on terror it will shatter a lot of things for me because I’ve never seen it genuinely in this country. There aren’t even any nutters pretending to be part of this Osama Bin Laden struggle on the streets of Scotland, and I’ve lived here all my life.
Mr. Saeed also made a number of other statements of interest. First, he condemned the attacks saying:
Thank God no lives were lost. This kind of attack aims for indiscriminate slaughter. These terrorists do not care who they kill. We are seething with anger about this.
Yet, following a pattern often seen in Muslim Brotherhood condemnations of terrorism, Mr. Saeed took the opportunity to also complain about the association of Islam with terrorism and to deny that there was a problem with extremism in the Muslim community. According to local media, Mr. Saeed said:
‘As a community, not only are we just as likely to be victims as anyone else but we are also looked to in order to provide direction and, in some respects, take responsibility for this. We are sick of being defined as a community by terrorism and having to answer for it. No cause, and certainly no Muslim cause, is advanced by these senseless attacks – quite the opposite.’ Speaking at a meeting of Muslim community leaders in Glasgow, Saeed added: ‘There has not been a peep of extremism in Scotland to date.’
Although Mr. Saeed was reported to have urged Muslims to cooperate with the police, in November 2006 local media reported that at a community meeting, he told local Muslims not to cooperate with a police Special Branch community contact unit because they were “isolating the Muslim community.”
Finally, a new UK group known as the Muslim British Initiative (BMI), which sources in the U.K. believe to have supplanted the MAB, also condemned the attacks but also took the opportunity to complain about “Islamophobia.”