The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has announced that it held an Eid reception in mid-November attended by a range of officials and diplomats from the U.K., U.S. and other countries. According to the announcement:
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) held a reception on 16th November 2011 to mark the Muslim festival of Eid and the conclusion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Guests comprising of community leaders, Imams, members of London’s diplomatic community, interfaith leaders, businessmen and leaders from civil society and the academic world all gathered at 61 Whitehall for an engaging event. MCB Secretary General Farooq Murad in his welcome said the messages of Eid and Hajj are inspirational and relevant for us today. Qualities of self-discipline and sacrifice enable and guide us to live proactively for our cherished values of justice, fairness and compassion. They provide inspiration for us at MCB to work for dialogue, mutual respect and common good. He was followed by the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Lord Chancellor, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, who commended the MCB spirit of ‘working for the common good’ of society as a whole and also noted the particular challenge facing the community in this period of economic crisis and mounting unemployment – a large number of the unemployed were young, while a significant proportion of Muslims were under 25. Former MCB Secretary General Sir Iqbal Sacranie welcomed the returning pilgrims and noted the importance of retaining an official British Hajj Delegation to provide advice and support to British citizens during their stay in Saudi Arabia. He highlighted the work MCB had done to initiate this idea. Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy Secretary General of the MCB provided a briefing on the services to the community that had been provided by the MCB working with a range of partners to facilitate meningococcal (ACWY) vaccination clinics convenient to pilgrims and reduce the overall cost of this vaccination for pilgrims travelling for Hajj and Umrah. Guests included the High Commissioner for Pakistan and senior diplomats from Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Morocco and the USA. Distinguished interfaith leaders present included Brij Mohan Gupta (President, National Council of Hindu Temples), Professor Dr David Katz (Board of Deputies of the British Jews), Ramesh Pattni (Chair , Interfaith Committee of the Hindu Forum of Britain), and Philip Rosenberg (London Faith Forum). Baroness Meral-Hussein Ece (Commissioner , Equality and Human Rights Commission) and Professor Maleiha Malik (Kings College London) also attended. Final words of the evening were from Maulana Shahid Raza, a senior religious leader of the Muslim community and chair of the Mosques & Imams Advisory Board, of which the MCB is a founding member. He reminded the audience of the Abrahamic message that values family ties and hospitality. He also noted his own feeling of ‘ownership’ for the MCB and commended its efforts to bring together diverse Muslim organisations under one umbrella: “My greetings and thanks goes to those who have organised this wonderful evening for all – Eid Mubarak”. The evening was sponsored by The Co-operative Pharmacy, which has worked with the MCB in administering vaccinations for Hajj pilgrims.
The MCB is a U.K. umbrella group that has been dominated by the Pakistani-based Islamist group known as the Jaamat-I-Islami that is closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and the MCB usually acts in concert with the Global Brotherhood. An earlier post discussed the 2010 election of Farooq Murad as the new Secretary-General of the organization. In addition to his role at the MCB, Mr. Murad is a current trustee and former chairman of Muslim Aid, a UK charity originally founded by Yusuf Islam (fka Cat Stevens) and identified in a NEFA Foundation report as a member of the Union of Good, described in the NEFA report as follows:
The Union of Good is a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. It is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United States, although neither Youssef Qaradawi nor any of the Trustees were similarly designated. Despite the fact that action has been taken against some of its member organizations in Europe, many of its other European member organizations continue to operate. Further, the Union of Good itself does not appear to be under investigation in Europe.
According to another NEFA report on the UK Union of Good members, a number of the organizations to which Muslim Aid made allocations have been identified by Israel and/or the U.S. as Hamas institutions:
- Al-Razi Hospital
- Muslim Youth Society Hebron
- The Islamic Charitable Society Hebron
The NEFA report also cites an Israeli government document that identifies Muslim Aid as an institution that funds Hamas. In September 2008, Muslim Aid was one of the five U.K. UG charities banned by Israel in connection with their ties to Hamas.
It should also be noted that as late as 2008, the original Union of Good website identified former MCB chairman Iqbal Sacranie as a Trustee.