The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has announced that global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan as well as prominent U.K politicians were featured at its first Muslim Leadership Dinner in Central London. According to the MCB announcement:
More than 500 guests from all areas of British Muslim civil society attended the Muslim Council of Britain’s first Muslim Leadership Dinner in Central London. The occasion focused on strengthening and inspiring a diverse array of Muslim individuals and groups for the good of all. In his opening speech, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB, spoke about the future of the Muslim community. He said, “At a time when many are struggling to see how justice and fairness can be re-introduced to public life – those who hold power under the public trust must strive to regain the trust of the public. Our faith, which places the harmony of the community as the greatest good, and is underpinned by the belief that a just society can and will be achieved, should give us the strength and direction needed to bring about lasting change.” He also outlined plans to initiate the renewal of the MCB, to ensure that it serves better Britain’s diverse Muslim community to build a better Britain. He said “it is important that we all give support for an enduring, British institution.” The evening saw the launch of the Muslim Community Development Fund, with a target of raising £1 million this year to enable the MCB undertake its strategic programmes for unity, capacity building, protection and uplifement of the community. Addressing the audience, the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP acknowledged “the vital and valued role Muslims and the Islamic faith play in our society.” Professor Tariq Ramadan requested “Muslims to unite and voice their opinions on all issues affecting British life.” He emphasised that Muslims too have many diverse viewpoints, and made clear that government should not pick and choose which background was the most appropriate to speak to. The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party spoke about “the common values we all shared” as British citizens and said he felt “a sense of renewal and optimism” at the dinner. The Rt Hon John Denham MP paid tribute to Muslims and fellow Britons who “together had shaped British society.” He added that, “Your rich history is going to be crucial in years to come.” The Secretary of State praised the contribution of British Muslims and stated that Britain has indeed changed unrecognisably – for the better. HRH The Prince of Wales also sent a message of support for the evening. All the speakers and guests acknowledged the immense contribution made by the MCB and Muslim leaders, and agreed that Muslims in Britain should continue to work together with the wider society, as integral members, to build a cohesive, just and prosperous Britain.
Tariq Ramadan is perhaps best described as an independent power center within the global Brotherhood with sufficient stature as the son of Said Ramadan and the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood to challenge positions taken by important Brotherhood leaders. His statements and writings have been extensively analyzed and he has been accused by critics of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit by subtle means. On the other hand, his supporters promote him as an example of an Islamic reformer who is in the forefront of developing a “Euro Islam.” Previous posts discussed Ramadan’s dismissal from his positions as an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam and from a Dutch University over his role as a talk show host on Iranian TV.
The MCB is a U.K. umbrella group dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Previous posts have discussed the organizations stormy relationship with the U.K government who recently re-estabilshed relations following a government minister’s call last year for the resignation of the MCB Deputy Secretary who publicly called for violence against Israel.