When the government restored relations with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in January, Tory Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Paul Goodman was scathing:
It is a surrender to extremism by a bunch of politicians who are scared witless over losing their seat and are prepared to compromise real cohesion and real integration in order to appease an organisation that remains tainted.
In February, the MCB published the VIP guest list for a gala dinner. It included Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary. However, his name was marked “tbc”, and in the end he did not show up. Senior Tories were not best pleased with the MCB for including Grayling’s name when there was no confirmation.
But now – so it seems – the Tories’ boycott of the MCB has crumbled. Last Friday, the Shadow Minister for Justice, David Burrows, attended a closed meeting on “Islamophobia” at Westminster.
Combating racism and hatred of Muslims is an important matter. However, this particular meeting was a production of the worst elements on the Islamist far right. The meeting’s sponsor was Labour MP Mohammad Sarwar, a trustee of the Muslim Brotherhood-friendly North London Central Mosque. It was co-ordinated by the MCB and supported by the Muslim Safety Forum, an organisation in which Azad “Kill British Troops” Ali plays a prominent role, by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Anas al Tikriti’s Cordoba Foundation, which tours extremists and nutters around the UK; and Robert “leave rioters alone” Lambert’s European Muslim Research Centre, which itself is funded by various Muslim Brotherhood front organisations.
Other Labour figures attending included Phyllis Starkey and Lord Ahmed, both prominent friends of extremists. But, notably, the Labour mainstream saw this event for what it was and had the sense to stay away.
Perhaps the Tories’ David Burrows was just clueless. Or perhaps the Tories have joined the ranks of those politicians who “are prepared to compromise real cohesion and real integration in order to appease an organisation that remains tainted”.