In a startling development, the website of the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a U.K. Muslim Brotherhood group, has announced that it is hosting a dinner for U.S. civil rights leader Rev Jesse Jackson and representatives of the Muslim community in London on the 22nd of August 2007. According to the notice, Dr. Jackson is:
… due to tour the UK to launch Equanomics UK, an important new initiative by the 1990 Trust to commemorate the abolition of the slave trade and highlight the economic contribution of Black and Minority ethnic communities in the UK past and present. The campaign seeks to develop new approaches to race equality by bringing together businesses, organisations and enterprises of the private, voluntary and public sectors as well as trade unions and grassroots community organisations. The dinner is a useful opportunity for individuals to hear and meet Rev. Jackson and take part in highlighting the contribution that London’™s ethnic minorities have made to the UK’™s economic and social wellbeing.
A previous post has reported that U.K. sources believe that BMI split from the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) over a conflict between traditionalists in the MAB who were unhappy with the high level of involvement in U.K left-wing politics while those who who formed the BMI wished such activity to continue. Prior to the split, the MAB often joined in coalitions with far-left U.K groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and the Respect Party. While U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups frequently ally with left-wing groups in the U.S, this is the first known instance of a European Brotherhood group engaging with a U.S. left-wing figure of with the prominence of Jesse Jackson. The development will certainly alarm the U.S. Jewish community who have long been upset with Dr. Jackson’s outreach to Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam and thought by many to hold anti-Semitic views. Individuals and groups comprising the global Muslim Brotherhood, including the leaders of the BMI, have a long record of anti-Semitism. The longer-term impact and meaning of Dr. Jackson’s relationship with BMI will have to be further evaluated but the development does seem to support the view that the BMI will expand its alliances with left-wing groups in both the U.K. and in the U.S.