In case you need a reminder, MEND is the rebranded iENGAGE. In a recent statement by the Board of Deputies, grave concerns were expressed about bizarre and divisive comments made by MEND’s CEO Sufiyan Ismail:
We remain greatly disturbed by statements attributed to MEND such as one by its CEO Sufiyan Ismail, in which he claimed that “in 300 years the Israeli lobby has not lost a vote in Parliament”. Given that the state of Israel has only existed since 1948, the “Israeli lobby” in this quote can only be a synonym for British Jews, of which Ismail celebrates that “they were battered, absolutely battered”.
In this 2015 piece they are happy to cite Haitham al Haddad to counter the suggestion that they oppose Muslims exercising the right to vote.
British Muslims should vote and participate in elections. Detractors claim there is a theological argument that suggests Muslims should not vote. Scholars such as Shaykh Abu Eesa Niamatullah and Shaykh Haitham al-Haddad, and the many others who feature in our video, are the appropriate voices to denounce this point of view and counter it with proper Islamic scholarship on the responsibilities of citizenship and how British Muslims ought to fulfil them.
Here’s a slightly more detailed take on Haddad’s position on voting.
“…don’t ask a scholar that ‘Is it allowed to vote for a kafir system?’ He will say ‘Of course it’s not allowed.’ But tell him ‘Am I allowed to vote for a kafir system in order to avoid a bigger kafir system taking in power, taking power?…You are going to have a Prime Minister who is a Muslim. How can a Prime Minister become a Muslim? Except through the democratic system, because still the Islamic State has not yet been established. So whether you like it or you don’t like it, the political participation is, or the political process is the scene to influence a change. I know it is filthy, OK? I know all the kuffar will go to hellfire. I know all the kuffar hate Muslims. I know all of these statements that many brothers are saying but in many cases you have to deal with it OK?”
It’s perhaps no great surprise to see Labour MP Stephen Timms speaking at a MEND-organised event – but it is a disappointment.