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Why the MCB still can’t be trusted

This is a guest post by Baron Banzai

On Friday, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a press-release on Sayeeda Warsi’s comments on ‘Islamophobia’. It quoted Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the MCB, saying:

“We particularly welcome Baroness Warsi’s acknowledgement of the role the media plays in this process of normalising Islamophobia, as well as the counter-productiveness of categorisations such as ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’ Muslims. Islamophobia is the number one concern of all Muslims in this country, illustrated recently by an internal survey of issues conducted by the MCB of its affiliates who prioritised rising anti-Muslim hatred as the biggest concern for the community. Responsibility also rests with our political leadership because unfortunately the language often used with reference to Muslims is feeding into stigmatisation of one section of our society.”

The section in bold is worth unpacking. The MCB states that ‘Islamophobia is the number one concern of all Muslims in this country’. How does so the MCB know this? Because it has surveyed its affiliate organisations (mostly composed of mosques and a disproportionate number of Jamaat-e-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood front organisations) and this is what every single one of them has (apparently) said in response.

I think there are three points arising from this:

1. The MCB is not in touch with its own supposed constituency. I am not Muslim but I have a reasonable number of Muslim friends. I am quite sure that most of them are more concerned about getting paid at the end of the month, finding/holding onto a job, passing their end of year exams etc, paying their mortgage etc than about ‘Islamophobia’. If the MCB genuinely thinks that every last Muslim in Britain is spending their time fretting primarily about Islamophobia, then it has lost touch with the very people it claims to represent.

2. The MCB believes that individuals’ political views should be represented by religious institutions. Friday’s press release shows that the MCB thinks that because a collection of religious leaders says something, this somehow represents what all their flock think (or should be thinking). This is a deeply disturbing insight into the MCB mindset – that individual citizens should be represented through religious institutions in a political context.

3. The MCB still claims to represent all British Muslims. Friday’s statement shows that, yet again, the MCB hopes to interpose itself between Britain’s Muslim citizens and the British government as Muslims’ defacto representative organisation – thereby undermining the basic principle that in democracies citizens are represented through political parties. In order to pull off this power-grab, the MCB presents British Muslims as being a single, autonomous political block separate from the rest of society – a zombified mass who all have exactly the same religio-political political priorities. Ironically, this depiction of Muslims as a faceless crowd rather than as a body of disparate individuals exactly echoes how groups like the BNP portray Muslims.

Taken together these points show that the MCB has not learnt anything from the last few years and that it remains as arrogant, clueless and shameless as ever. These points also show why that the government should treat its statements with extreme caution and scepticism.