U.K. media is reporting on the decision by the government to lift a ban on official contact with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), imposed after its deputy leader signed a statement calling for violence against Israel and thought to condone attacks on British troops. According to one report:
The government has announced that it is lifting its ban on official contact with the Muslim Council of Britain, imposed after the group’s Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah, was revealed to have been a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration, which called for violence against Israel and was widely interpreted as condoning attacks on British troops. There is speculation that the lifting of the ban is a quid pro quo for next week’s announcement that legislation will be introduced on universal jurisdiction for war crimes. John Denham, the Communities Secretary, and Jack Straw, Justice Secretary, are long standing supporters of the MCB’s role in Whitehall, and both were thought to be opposed to amending the war crimes arrest warrant legislation. In the statement released on Friday, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “The Muslim Council of Britain has made a commitment to Government to examine their internal processes and ensure that the personal actions of all members, including senior leaders, remain true to the organisation’s agreed policies, avoiding a repeat of the issues which arose after one member signed the Istanbul Declaration. “The MCB has stated its categorical opposition to attacks on British defence interests and confirmed its unwavering support for British troops across the world. It has also made clear that it stands firmly against Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. “The significance of these actions on the part of the MCB has led to the Government lifting the suspension of its formal relationship with that organisation. The MCB will now contribute to ongoing dialogue with Government as one amongst a wide range of Muslim organisations. “We will closely monitor how the internal processes progress over the coming months.”
The original statement was the result of a February 2009 meeting in Istanbul where religious scholars and clerics met with senior Hamas officials to plan a “third Jihadist front” centred on Gaza and was first publicly reported by the GMBDW based on a translation from Muslim World News.
Meanwhile, the MCB has announced a Muslim Leadership dinner planned for February 22 to raise funds for the MCB. The featured guest list includes:
- Hon Jack Straw MP, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and Secretary of State for Justice
- The Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats
- Chris Grayling MP, Shadow Home Secretary (tbc)
- Tariq Ramadan, academic and Islamic scholar
The announcement also indicates that other, unidentified “Invited special guests” will be attending including “Government and Shadow Cabinet Ministers, Faith leaders, Trade Union leaders, prominent MPs and Peers, Media Personalities, Muslim civil society leaders from Britain and the Continent.”
The MCB is a U.K. umbrella group dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Previous posts have discussed a 2006 decision by the U.K. government to reconsider its relationship with the MCB over charges of extremism.
For the MCB statement, go here.