Monthly Archives: May 2009


The Daily Mail reports today that the BBC is set to apologise and pay libel damages to the Muslim Council of Britain following highly controversial and inflammatory remarks about the MCB made by the columnist Charles Moore who was a panellist on the Question Time programme on March 12 2009.

The Question Time programme was broadcast in the wake of the deeply provocative protest in Luton by a small number of former al-Muhajiroun activists. Charles Moore commented on that protest and said:

I agree with a lot of what’s been said. But they [Luton protestors] do represent a point of view that is strong in some areas of Muslim life. And I say this because the Muslim Council of Britain, which is the umbrella organisation for all Muslim groups in this country, I’ve gone to them many times, and I said will you condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they won’t. I’ve tried it again and again. Because these wars are in Muslim countries, they will not do this. They do one thing that is perfectly understandable – they are opposed to the war. That is perfectly legitimate. But there is a bigger, another step that they take, they say it is actually a good thing, even an Islamic thing to kill or kidnap British soldiers – and that is the mainstream organisation and I’ve tried it several times and that issues runs through…’

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  A group of British Muslim scholars (‘ulama) have released a statement calling on British Muslims to ‘discharge their duty’ and vote in the June 4th county council and European Parliament elections.

The scholars are urging Muslims to dispel their disappointment over the recent expenses scandals in which MPs have been embroiled and resist the temptation to stay away from the polling booths.  They said:

As ulema, scholars belonging to Islam’s diverse traditions and schools of thoughts, we come together to urge our brothers and sisters to take part in the forthcoming election and vote on 4 June.

‘Participating in the democratic process is vital. As citizens we have a right to choose the people who represent us and to determine who gets to affect our daily lives. As Muslims, we have an obligation to join hands with others to elect those who will seek the common good.

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  The EU Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS) has released its second Data in Focus report which reveals Muslims’ experiences of discrimination and victimisation in everyday life in 14 EU member states.

According to the survey:

  • On average 1 in 3 Muslim respondents (34% of men and 26% of women) stated that they had experienced discrimination in the past 12 months. Those Muslim respondents who had been discriminated against stated that they had experienced, on average, 8 incidents of discrimination over a 12 month period.
  • Muslims aged 16-24 experience more discrimination in comparison with other age groups
  • Being a citizen of an EU Member State and a longer period of residence in an EU country considerably reduces the likelihood of being discriminated against.
  • Wearing traditional or religious clothing (such as a headscarf) did not have an impact on Muslim respondents’ experiences of discrimination.

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  Matthew Parris penned a piece in yesterday’s edition of The Times raising the issue of women wearing full hijab (face covering) in Britain, ‘Please uncover your face. It’s our custom’, and questions whether such a practice ought to be permitted in the UK.

He writes:

Funny to return from Lebanon, Syria and Turkey – where women go unveiled – and return to Britain, the land of the full hijab. I see more women with their faces covered in Tower Hamlets than I did in Damascus.’

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  Islamic Human Rights Watch has published a briefing document analysing articles appearing on the Community Security Trust (CST) website about Islam and Muslims. The CST is a Jewish organisation that provides security advice to British Jews and actively monitors anti Semitic incidents.

The CST state on their website that the ‘CST believes that the fight against antisemitism and terrorism is an integral part of safeguarding our wider democratic British society against extremism and hatred.’

One would perhaps expect the CST to know better than others that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are interchangeable in this regard and that the fight against extremism and hatred in our society is an agenda shared by the overwhelming majority of Muslims and Jews.

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  The Independent yesterday featured exclusive articles by each of the three main party leaders detailing how each proposes to deal with the scandal of MPs’ expenses and the reforms to Parliament that are all too necessary to revive faith in the political process, and to make politicians more accountable to the electorate.

Click here to read the articles by Messrs. Brown, Cameron and Clegg

To add your own comments to the debate, visit the Independent’s ‘Campaign for Democracy’ and have your say.


ENGAGE has again written to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, concerning questions raised over the FCO’s response to the horrific Israeli bombardment of Gaza at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. This is our third letter to David Miliband on this matter, seeking more substantive responses to our questions posed.

You can read the trail of our correspondence below. We’ll post the FCO’s reply here as soon as it is received.


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  Jamil Rahman, a British Muslim of Bangladeshi origin, is set to begin legal proceedings against the Home Secretary accusing her of complicity in his unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, and torture in Bangladesh.

In the third recent case alleging MI5’s collusion in the torture of British citizens abroad, Rahman accuses the security services of colluding with foreign intelligence agencies in his detention and torture.

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  On Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported about a ‘March for England’ which took place in Luton on Sunday and which descended into rioting and the arrest of nine people. The march was supported by a local group called the ‘United People of Luton’.

The Mail cites a spokesman for United People of Luton, saying that many people in the town were concerned that the Muslim community had not taken steps to deal with the Muslim protestors and their ‘hate-filled preachings’.

The paper also reports that an Asian man was assaulted, three windscreens smashed and the window of a takeaway restaurant broken during the skirmishes.

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  The Guardian carries a story highlighting the terminal fate of France’s oldest Muslim school which has been ‘condemned to death’ by the authorities who have refused it financial aid.

The Reussite school is on the brink of closure, forced into shutting down because the authority responsible for approving applications for state aid to faith schools, the Inspection Academique, has refused the school’s application despite its record of academic excellence and its fulfillment of all bureaucratic requirements.

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