"Syrian born radical Islamist Sheikh Omar bin Bakri Muhammad is the founder of the London branch of Hizb Al-Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party ), and of the organization "Jama'at Al-Muhajirun" ("The Emigrants," in reference to those who accompanied the Prophet Muhammad on his Hijra from Mecca to Medina). Additionally, Sheikh Bakri presents himself as the spokesman of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. This organization, by Bakri's own admission, participates in fundraising for Hamas
and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and is "in touch" with Hizbullah. Bakri has further claimed to have recruited volunteers for training in paramilitary camps located in the U.S. and Lebanon".
"Sheikh Omar Bakri preaches at several London mosques. Between 1994 and 1998, he gave speeches at Islamist rallies in Trafalgar Square and Wembley Stadium. He founded the Al-Khilafa publishing house in London and serves, he says, as a judge in the "Shari'a Court of the UK." Bakri often presents himself as the spokesman of the International Islamic Front, and cited this title on a letter he wrote to Osama bin Laden. Bakri has described the International Islamic Front as the political wing of the [International] Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, led by Osama bin Laden."
Actually, the friction between Sheikh Bakhri and the British government began long before September 1998. As early as 1991, during the Gulf War, Bakri was questioned by MI5, following a claim that he had called for the assassination of then-Prime Minister John Major. According to the Mail on Sunday, Bakri said: "Major is a legitimate target. If anyone gets the opportunity to assassinate him, I don't think they should save it. It is our Islamic duty and we will celebrate his death." Bakri later told The Birmingham Sunday Mercury that he had been "misquoted," and clarified the point, saying that Major would be a "legitimate target" if he were to set foot in a Muslim country and that the same now applied to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bakri also said that in such a case he would not "condemn the killers."
Bin Laden was to participate, albeit not physically, in the Rally for [Islamic] Revival, planned by Bakri for September 6, 1996 but cancelled at the last minute. The conference was to have been one of the high points of Bakri's career, and Radical Islamist leaders from all over the world were to participate in one way or another. Bin Laden was to send a videocassette, as were Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S.; Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who at that time was still imprisoned in Israel; and Hizbullah spiritual leader Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah. Sheikh Muhammad Ubaid, also of Hizbullah, who had been kidnapped by Israel, was supposed to send a "message" from his prison cell in Israel. Also expected to attend was Egyptian Jihad leader Yasser Tawfiq Al-Serri, who was sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt in 1993 for a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sidqi. Recorded messages were also sent by the imprisoned leaders of the Algerian Islamic movement.
On July 15, 1999, Bakri published a letter written to bin Laden on his Al-Muhajirun website, calling on him to act against the West. The letter was removed from the site after U.S. protest, but was read aloud in mosques in North London, Bradford, Sheffield, and Leicester. In his letter, Bakri wrote, "…The Islamic Movements have not used the real weapon yet… Oh Osama… You and your brothers are now breathing life and dignity into the body of the Ummah (nation). Our main mission as Muslims is to carry the Islamic message to the entire world…"
Excerpts of another letter to Bakri by bin Laden, sent by fax from Afghanistan in the summer of 1998, were recently published in The Los Angeles Times. Bakri later released what he called bin Laden's four specific objectives for a Jihad against the U.S.: "Bring down their airliners. Prevent the safe passage of their ships. Occupy their embassies. Force the closure of their companies and banks."
"A great many papers have carried news and comment on the Rally for Revival planned for 8 September [subsequently cancelled], organised by Al-Muhajiroun, the group led by Omar Bakri Mohammed, formerly of Hizb-ut-Tahrir ".
"...Well-known speakers who were invited included: Osama Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi national who has funded one of the groups in the Afghanistan conflict; Sheikh Muhammad Fadhlallah, of the Lebanese Hizbullah; and the Saudi dissident, Dr Al-Mas'ari. Some speakers, who would have been unable to attend in person due to reasons beyond their control, would have sent films of their speeches. These included: Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, jailed for conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Centre in New York; Sheikh Obeid, who was abducted in 1989 from Lebanon and has been held since without trial in Israel; and imprisoned members of the FIS in Algeria (Q-News, 02.08.96, Sunday Times, 18.08.96). The Evening Standard (22.08.96) carries a full-page feature interview with Omar Bakri Mohammed at his London School of Shariah, where he teaches Islamic jurisprudence. Commenting on the speeches from prison, particularly that of Sheikh Obeid, he pointed out that: "When someone goes to prison he doesn't lose his right to speak out..."
..."Police could arrest anyone who calls for attacks on Jews, or shows a video that does so". The same paper also claims that: "The Board of Deputies of British Jews...has won a promise that no-one known to have links with terrorist organisations will be allowed into the country to attend"...
Latest News from Britain about Omar Bakri and Al Muhajiroun
Britain's Suicide Bombers: The Real Story, 7.30pm, BBC ONE, Monday 5 April 2004
A BBC programme has discovered that despite the actions of the police and security forces some Muslims resident in Britain are preparing to take up arms, many influenced by Omar Bakri, leader of the controversial al Muhajiroun group.
The radical leader has recently defended the Madrid bombers and told young British Muslims, some as young as ten, that they must "kill and be killed" for Islam; that "suicide bombers would be guaranteed a place in paradise"; and even that they should consider "flying a plane into 10 Downing Street".
Despite calls last week from the Muslim Council of Britain for all Muslims to oppose terror and report suspicious activity, an investigation by BBC reporter Paul Kenyon for Real Story With Fiona Bruce has revealed that Omar Bakri and his followers regularly endorse and encourage terrorism.
At an east London meeting organised by al Muhajiroun the programme recorded Omar Bakri defending the Madrid bombers.
Referring to the continued presence of British Spanish and US forces in Iraq he told the audience: "What happened in Madrid is all revenge. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Anybody (that) commits a crime he should be punished – that's exactly what happened in relation to Spain."
"Objective number one – break the psychology of the occupier by hitting back in their homeland. To be worried about their own wives and loved ones."
He instructs his followers to take direct action.
"Prepare as much as you can from strength and from force to terrorise - because terrorism it is part of Islam."
At an earlier meeting the BBC recorded Omar Bakri encouraging members of his British audience to become suicide bombers.
"Martyrdom is what you want. Do the effort. Clear your intention. Go forward, never look backwards. Make sure you have nothing left behind you to think about or cry for and fight in the name of Allah."
He refers to suicide missions as self sacrifice operations.
"So what is self sacrifice operation? It's got to be the following scenario. Somebody he fly aeroplane and he decide to land the aeroplane over 10 Downing Street, for example, or over the White House. This is a form of self-sacrifice operation."
Omar Bakri's version of Islam is disputed by most Muslims. But some of his former students have translated his words into action.
Omar Sharif from Derby was part of the two man suicide operation responsible last year for a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv. Three people were murdered.
One of Omar Bakri's followers, 24-year-old Hassan Butt from Manchester, tells the programme that he "envies" the Madrid bombers and that he too would like to become a martyr.
"It is my hope that by the age of 40 I am a martyr – and if I hadn't I would probably be a bit dejected in not being among the martyrs of Islam," says Butt.
He's already been arrested twice under the Terrorism Act.
Asked if he's prepared to follow other British Muslims to a terror training camp, Hassan Butt says he'd be "honoured" and that he would have his mother's support.
Mainstream Muslims point out that numerically al Muhajiroun are not very strong.
However, on Sunday 21 March 800 Muslims attended a meeting addressed by Omar Bakri held at Derby County Football Club.
At one point they watched a video showing attacks on iconic American buildings set to a chant imploring Muslims to fight a Holy war.
Derby County Football Club said they respected freedom of speech, but were keen to ensure their name was not used to endorse any political or religious view.
Conservative Home Affairs spokesman Patrick Mercer, himself a former army intelligence officer, has studied the BBC recordings of Omar Sheik.
He believes that Omar Bakri's preaching is very worrying.
"We do have freedom of speech but to a limit, here's a man praising what went on in Madrid a few days ago, praising the death of 200 and the injuries of over 1,000.
"If that sort of tosh is being said to youngsters who are impressionable then it is bound to encourage violence and murder," says Patrick Mercer MP.
Dismore asks for Bakri status review By Lawrence Marzouk The Edgware Times (UK) April 8, 2004 http://www.edgwaretimes.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.478989.0.dismore_asks_for_bakri_status_review.php "The leader of a Muslim group, whose members have brandished banners saying Kill the Jews', should have his right to stay in this country removed, according to Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon. Mr Dismore, an expert in terrorism, has been calling for the removal of Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed's' leave to remain' in the UK for five years, but hopes his recent outbursts, asking British Muslims not to co-operate with the police, will force the Home Office to review his status. The high-profile Islamic cleric, from Edmonton, Enfield, is believed to have taught some of the men from Crawley and Luton currently being questioned following their arrest by anti-terrorism police officers last week. Mr Dismore said: "I started to ask for the Home Office to look at his leave to remain in 1999. Al-Muhajiroun of which the sheikh is leader held a demonstration in Brent with 'Kill the Jews' posters. He has claimed in Arabic newspapers to have sent young Muslims for weapons training. When they came back they had to work for Al-Muhajiroun to pay off the debt."
BAYING Muslim fanatics torched a Union Jack in London yesterday — and sneered that Tony Blair is powerless to stop al-Qaeda bombing Britain.
In a sickening reference to the terror group's evil boss Osama Bin Laden, the bigots chanted: "UK, you will pay, Bin Laden on his way."
Outrage ... fanatic Abdul Rahman Saleem burns a Union Flag outside the mosque
The shameful scenes — widely condemned by moderate Muslims — came as 20 thugs hijacked normally-peaceful afternoon prayers at the world-famous Regent's Park mosque.
More than 1,000 law-abiding worshippers looked on in horror as the militants from UK-based extremist group al-Muhajiroun staged the ambush.
A large hand-drawn British flag was set on fire and a letter urging Muslims to reject terrorism was torn to shreds.
Taunt ... ranting Abu Hamza, left
In a ranting address, zealot Abdul Rehman Saleem praised the savage murders of four US civilians in Iraq.
Then as followers bayed, "Jihad for Blair" he gloated: "There is nothing the British Services or Tony Blair, this liar, can do to stop al-Qaeda."
Meanwhile at Finsbury Park, North London, hook-handed renegade Abu Hamza branded British Muslims who bravely reject terror "Tony Blair's prostitutes".
The extremists were slammed by brave mosque regular Iqbal Ahmed, who said: "They twist the Koran for their own ends."
Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, also denounced the fanatics.
Goading ... militant
A letter sent by the Council to 1,000 mosques throughout the UK declared: "Islam categorically forbids violence and killing of innocents."
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, head of the Muslim Parliament of Britain, condemned the fanatics as "misguided lunatics".
Burning the Union Jack is not an offence but police can seize such protesters for incitement to racial hatred.
No arrests were made yesterday.
The Tories last night slammed the flag-burners.
Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "I suggest if they are this unhappy they should leave."
BRITAIN'S top cop yesterday revealed his force is keeping a "close eye" on preachers of hate.
Met chief Sir John Stevens also called for compulsory ID cards as soon as possible.
Iqbal Sacranie: secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain
MIM: In 1996 Sacranie threatened UK Jewish leaders who objected to Al Muhajiroun's "Rally for Revival", which included speaches from Bin Laden and Abdel Rahman ,accusing them of trying to prevent "Muslim scholars" from attending. The "Muslim scholars Saranie referred to included Osama Bin Laden, and the jailed WTC/NY bomb plotter Abdel Rahman.
...But Sacranie is not prepared to condemn suicide bombings by Palestinians. The Palestinians are fighting an occupation, he says. "It's been said: what do they have left now? They've been fighting this war of occupation now for quite some time, without any arms, without any tanks or whatever, [with] stones all their lives." When Palestinians become suicide bombers, "who am I to either condemn or condone it?"
Inayat Bungawala: The false face of Muslim moderation
MIM :Clean shaven spokesman and spinmeister for the Muslim Council of Britain. The MCB's agenda is as insidious and extreme as AM.
The MCB knows that it would be bad PR to burn British flags in public and call for Jihad in Hyde Park.
They do that at anti Israel rallies instead and make statements like the following:
MCB Bungawala "Die Juden (und Israel) sind unsere ungluck"
Letter to Jewish Chronicle On 11 April 2003, Inayat Bunglawala, Secretary of the MCB Media Committee wrote to the Jewish Chronicle responding to some of the criticisms from Zionists. The letter condemns the "killing of all innocents, whether they be Muslims, Jews, Christian, Hindu, or any other faith and none." and points out that the "killing of thousands of innocent Iraqis and illegal occupation of their land is being carried out with the support of my government using weapons my taxes have helped pay for." Further the letter states that "The creation of Israel was certainly a terrible mistake. It has led to immense, continued suffering for many Jews and Palestinians alike. It has also, unfortunately, served to poison relations between our two Abrahamic faiths." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bungawala repeats the lie that Al Muhajiroun is an insignificant" fringe movement" misleading British officials into a false sense of security and telling the public what they want to hear.
-MIM: More outrageous examples of double standards and hyped victimisation by the MCB -The Muslim Council (aka Con Men) of Britain.
Here are Bungawala's and the MCB comments regarding a 16 year old Muslim girl who was stabbed and left to bleed to death by her father when he learned she had a Lebanese Christian boyfriend .
MIM : Note that Yone's murder defense tactic of blaming Al Qaeda i.e. seen as more extreme then one lone killer, is identical to the MCB defense which blames Al Muhajiroun for causing trouble for Muslims.
In order to cover his own Islamist actions Yones blamed the murder on " terrorists from Al -Qaeda who broke into the flat".
"After hacking his daughter to death, Mr Yones has attempted every defence, from psychiatric, and diminished responsibility to extreme provocation, in order to save his own skin."
He added that Yones first claimed al-Qaeda members had broken into the flat, murdered Heshu and then attacked him. He only admitted murdering her last Monday".
Bungawala expressed understanding at the father's distress at the thought that his daughter might forsake Islam but "did not condone the killing".
MIM: Not only did Bungawala and the MCB fail to condemn the killing,or calling such murders unacceptable, the MCB failed to comment on the previous 12 honor killings of girls and women which had taken place in Britain that year.
British law enforcement officials had been urging British Muslim leaders to speak out against this alarming phenomenon.
Bungawala was complacent about the 16 year old girl's 'honor killing' but was outraged and demanded a major demanded a sweeping law enforcement investigation into the case of a Muslim womens corpse in a morgue upon which the family alleges bacon bits had been placed,
"At the end of September Abdullah Yones, a Kurdish Muslim living in Britain, was jailed for killing his own daughter. He killed Heshu, 16, in October last year because he disapproved of her Christian boyfriend. Her death is an indirect or direct result of the apostasy law in shari'a.
MCB spokesman Inayat Bungawala said that many Muslims would understand Yones being upset by his daughter's apparent rejection of his faith (thought not condoning the killing).
..."The bacon - found on the torso - and the gown the woman was wearing have been forensically examined.
Detective Inspector Kim Tuffin said: "There is no direct evidence leading to any person or persons responsible at this stage. We have kept the family informed throughout. However, they are frustrated that no-one has been arrested yet."
Asked what the crime might be, Mr Tuffin said: "That's the difficulty. Although one is not clear from the outset, it didn't stop us launching a full criminal investigation."
The woman's daughter said: "A fortnight after, an officer told me there was no offence for the incident that happened to my mum. I couldn't believe it. I don't think they are taking it seriously, as they are not contacting us to tell us what is happening."
Suresh Grover, of the Monitoring Group, which is advising the family, said: "This is an appalling case of religious hatred where the police haven't taken it seriously. The family want it given to a specialist unit."
The family - which asked not to be named - are expected to meet Scotland Yard's hate crime unit next week and ask for it to take over the case.
Inayat Bunglawala, a spokes-man for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "It is sickening to see the body of the dead desecrated in this manner. The fact bacon was put there, which Muslims regard as unclean, is very deliberate and designed to hurt the grieving family."
Mr Bunglawala said the Religious Aggravated Offences Act, which became law last year, could cover the incident. "If the police believe this is not a crime it would beggar belief and undermine the confidence Muslims have in the police. At this time of heightened sensitivity the police need to show they will not ignore religious motivated crime."
David McVittie, the hospital's chief executive, said: "I am shocked and outraged that such a thing has happened and will not rest until we have found the perpetrator of this crime."
MIM: The spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain,Sarah Joseph, uses a holocaust analogy to emphasize Muslim victimhood and compares the pieces of bacon found on the dead Muslimah's body to Nazi Germany anti Jewish persecution .
The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales
ISLAMIC organisations last night expressed disgust over the discovery of the body of a Muslim woman in a hospital mortuary, covered with rashers of bacon.
The Metropolitan Police's racial-crime task force is investigating the desecration of the body of the 65-year-old grandmother who had died from cancer, at Hillingdon Hospital in west London.
The crime was discovered as staff arranged for the body to be viewed by family members.
Chairman of the Islamic Education and Cultural Society in Hayes, Amir Ahmed said, "It's absolutely horrific. The family are obviously devastated. What has been said in interviews so far does not touch on the horror.
"It does not really matter that this was a Muslim, for a corpse to be violated in this way is extremely offensive to anyone. Though, obviously, this is particularly sensitive for Muslims.
"We have worked very hard within the community and with the police to establish very good public relations and this has set us back years."
Spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, Sarah Joseph, said , "It has not come to light yet if this was the act of an Islamaphobe but there has been a rise in such attacks, such as desecration of graveyards. It is quite scary and a bit like 1930s Germany."
A £5,000 reward was being offered for information that leads to the culprit.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Hester, of Hillingdon police, said, "This is a particularly grotesque act which has outraged the family as well as the whole community.
"Because of the nature of the incident a criminal investigation was immediately initiated and is still ongoing. DCC4 - Racial and Violent Crime Task Force - was involved in the initial investigation and officers from the Community Safety Unit are in constant liaison with them.
"We are also, of course, keeping the family and local community informed of developments."
Muslim Con Men of Britain: Disinformation, deception, and hyped victimisation.
MIM :Muslim leaders who are mistakenly being labelled moderate by the media , attempt to mislead the public into believing that Al Muhajiroun is no threat to Britain (or anywhere else), by dismissing them as a "lunatic fringe" phenomenon. This provides people like Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the MCB and it's spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, with the guise of appearing to be on the side of civil society when, in fact, their own agendas and that of the MCB, are identical to the group lik Al Mujiharoun which they publicly condemn. This public condemnation acts as a "smoke screen" for the militant Islamist activities of groups like the Muslim Council of Britain.
Note how UK Muslim leaders all refuse to confront the fact that only Muslims were arrested in a mass terror sweep last week .They paradoxically put the blame on fringe groups like Al Muhajiroun, while at the same time downplaying the dangers of Islamic terrorism and claiming that people like Sheik Bakri and groups like Al Muhajiroun , "just want to make a lot of noise".
Iqbal Sacranie, the MCB general secretary, is himself a militant Islamist who openly supports Hamas , Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizbollah .He has referred to Bin Laden and other terrorist leaders as " Islamic scholars".
Even more telling is that the only reason Sacranie and Bunglawa ever mention terrorism, is in relationship to the how it will affect public perceptions and impact the Muslim community.
Shortly after the (antisemitic) letter was released (calling for killing of Jews), the UK's National Union of Students moved to "no platform" or ban al-Muhajiroun, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee and Hizb al-Tahrir from speaking at any campus in the country.
The three groups have been associated with anti-Semitic propaganda. But Atwan said al-Muhajiroun were "a very small group and a tabloid creation," while Usama Saeed of the Muslim Association of Britain described them as "an empty drum, they make a lot of noise, but in reality there is nothing much happening there."
Sacranie says that there is "immense pressure put on our community whenever an act of terrorism happens". He says that Islam was by its very nature against terrorism, and attacked those who "used the cover of Islam to commit criminal acts." He also calls al-Muhajiroun "loonies who burn flags"...
Whereas Choudary says that many Muslims are flocking to al-Muhajiroun, Sacranie writes the group off as "minuscule", saying: "There is no fracturing within British Muslims. Every time a group like this attacks us, they expose themselves for what they are."
British Muslim organisations are worried their religion is being indelibly linked with terrorism in the minds of the British people.
For the Muslim Council of Great Britain, an umbrella group for over 400 organisations, the phrase "Islamic terrorists" as used by much of the media is "dangerous and irresponsible" because "terrorism has no religion".
Iqbal Sacranie, the council's secretary general, insisted that "in every society we have elements on the fringe. Some of them are simply lunatics who have no following in the community".
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Muslim Council secretary-general Iqbal Sacranie said there had been a "change of emphasis" in the wake of the Madrid attacks.
"We have to face the fact that there are these hotheads ... praying outside mosques, giving inflammatory statements."
More deception from the Muslim Council of Britain aka Muslim Con Men of Britain :
The first paragraph of 9/11 press release give impression they dont know who the hijackers were, were second paragraphs says that" as Muslims they have a sense of fear "
The MCB press release issued after 9/11 was short and to the point. The prefunctory condemnations were issued which never mentioned the world Islam or made any repudiation of the deeds on behalf of the Muslim community.. Instead the MCB says "Who ever is responsible for these dreadful wanton attacks we condemn them utterly " "We hope that those responsible will be brought to justice for these unconscionable deeds"
Note that in the first paragraph of the press release the MCB acts as if they dont know who the hijackers were,yet in the second paragraph they say that as Muslims they "Feel a huge sense of fear " and that "Terror makes victims of us all"
The Muslim Council of Britain shows that their only concern is with their own safety and well being after September 11 attacks,
The MCB's Press Release – issued on 11th September 2001
MCB expresses total condemnation of terrorist attacks
British Muslims, along with everyone else, are watching events in America with shock and horror. Whoever is responsible for these dreadful, wanton attacks, we condemn them utterly. These are senseless and evil acts that appal all people of conscience. The MCB stands shoulder to shoulder with remarks made by our Prime Minister Tony Blair. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the innocent victims, their families and communities. We convey our deepest sympathies to President Bush and the people of America. No cause can justify this carnage. We hope those responsible will swiftly be brought to justice for their unconscionable deeds.
As the British Muslims come to the full realisation of these most awful events, which they condemn wholeheartedly, they too are beginning to feel a huge sense of fear. Terror makes victims of us all, it is beyond reason. Terror on this scale must not be compounded by knee-jerk reactions that would make victims of other innocent peoples of the world. This would only add to the devastation caused.
In September 1999 HM Prisons appointed its first Muslim Adviser, Maqsood Ahmed,working within the HQ Chaplaincy Team. The adviser is involved in the appointment of prison imams and providing them support and guidance. Many inmates adopt Islam as their religion while in prison.
The Muslim Council of Britain : Militant Islamists pretending to be moderates
The Muslim Council of Britain is the main representative body of British Muslims with a membership based of over 380 grass-roots community organisations, mosques, professional bodies and cultural associations. This network provides an outreach to 70% of the 1.6 million Muslims in England, Wales and Scotland. The MCB is a broad-based organisation and its affiliated members represent the social and ethnic diversity of the community. It is a voluntary association and non-profit-making.
The MCB's purpose is to promote and facilitate the participation and engagement of Muslims in mainstream society, thereby aiming to achieve community cohesion and social harmony for all, through a better articulation of needs, the dissemination of good practice and through building forward-looking leadership at all levels of the community.
The MCB is guided by a Constitution and has elected office bearers accountable to a General Assembly that meets annually and comprises delegates of its affiliated bodies. Although a relatively young umbrella body, the MCB is rapidly evolving in terms of improved institutional processes and corporate governance procedures.
In a period of six years since its establishment the MCB has emerged as a voice that has earned trust and credibility within the Muslim community. It has forged mechanisms for consulting community leaders and organisations, disseminating information, communicating with the media, campaigning for new or changed legislation and engaging with a variety of mainstream institutions including government and civil society.
It advocates the full participation of British Muslims in mainstream society, and some of its recent activities in this regard include:
Submission of evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Religious Offences (2002)
Support for the BBC Islam UK season 2002 and the production of the accompanying BBC booklet
Participation in the 'The Independent Review of Coroner Services' (published June 2003)
Development of a code of good practice in collaboration with Fleet Street journalists so that the coverage of Islam does not risk stirring up prejudices that hurt law-abiding Muslims and damage community relations (in progress)
Advice to the Armed Forces on issues relating to the religious requirements of Muslim personnel
Regular meetings with political parties (through fringe events that the MCB organises during Party Conferences), trade unions (a guest speaker at the MCB's conference ‘Building Communities, Building Bridges' in July 2001, Manchester, was Duncan Edward of the GMB; Sir Bill Morris has attended MCB receptions)
Through participation of Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie in the World Economic Forum's Davos meeting, the MCB has established contact with business leaders in multinationals (whose UK subsidiaries will be key players in the adoption of good practices relating to employee rights)
Formal membership of government and other consultative committees including: ‘Review of Government's Interface with faith communities', chaired by Fiona McTaggart MP, Home Office Minister responsible for Race Equality, Community Policy, and Civil Renewal; Race Equality Advisory Panel; Inner Cities Religious Council; ‘Safe Communities Initiative' of the Commission for Racial Equality; ‘Connecting Muslims' consultation with the Chair, Equal Opportunities Unit; the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Hajj Advisory Group; the Bank of England working party on Islamic home finance.
The MCB has an administrative staff and a project officer based at offices in Stratford in London. Consultants are employed for specific assignments. A great deal of our work is undertaken by volunteers working on an unpaid basis through a structure of specialist committees.
The MCB's annual general meeting (held in April/May) is attended by 350 -400 delegates and observers. These provide opportunities for consultation, information dissemination and obtaining feedback. The MCB also organises specialist conferences on topical issues, such as the ‘Building Communities, Building Bridges' event held in Manchester in the wake of the troubles in the Northern Cities in Summer 2001, that provided a forum for youth to express their concerns and establish a dialogue with local Police representatives. A comprehensive round-up of its work is provided in the MCB's fortnightly e-newsletter - an archive is available on the MCB web site.
Press Release announcing the formation of the Muslim Council of Britain .
Hanni Al Banna, the head of the Saudi funded Islamic Relief ;charity' is on the list of contacts.
Wednesday 19th november 1997
UMBRELLA BODY HERALDS NEW ERA FOR BRITISH MUSLIMS
On Sunday 23 November 1997, representatives of more than 250 Muslim organisations from all walks of life and of all manner of interests will meet in London to launch an umbrella organisation dedicated to the betterment of the community and country.
After years of quiet groundwork and extensive consultation within the community, Sunday 23 November will wee the launching of a UK-wide Muslim umbrella body, The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Concieved as an independant, non-sectarian and broad-based body, the MCB incorporates most of the significant social forces active in the life of the British Muslim community estimated to number abut 2 million.
The launching of the MCB will take place at a national convention at Londons Brent Town Hall, Forty Lane, Wembley, 10.30am-16.30pm, when the delegates from more than 250 Muslim societies, associations and organisations nation-wide will formally announce the formation of the council.
Affiliated bodies include women and youth societies; student and school associations; human rights and relief agencies; media and publishing institutions; research foundations and learned bodies; medical, legal and professional societies; the society of 'ulama and religious colleges; mosques and welfare centres; and regional and national bodies.
"The inauguration of the MCB is an important milestone in the evolution of the Muslim community and its institutions in Britain," says AbdulWahid Hamid, a spokes person for the Preparatory Committee. "Primarily the aim is to highlight the fact that we are an asset to the nation and to celebrate the contribution we have made to society. We are also intent on sending the message that we are a mature community determined to play a full role in the future well-being of our country."
The Council broadly aims at: (1) promoting consensus and cooperation within the community, (2) giving voice to issues of common concern, (3) obtaining removal of disadvantages and discrimination faced by Muslims, (4) fostering a better appreciation of Islam and Muslim culture, and (5) working for the good of society as a whole.
The MCB is structured to provide a devolved but integrated framework for Muslim self-expression and participation in the life of the country. It policies and decisions will be based on consensus and the largest practicable measure of agreement.
The MCB concept is also premised on respect for all other Islamic bodies in the community. The MCB does not see itself as displacing or isolating any existing work and it believes in supporting the good work done by any other body or organisation.
The Convention on 23rd November will set-up a Working Committee which then takes over from the Preparatory Committee. The first General Assembly Meeting of the MCB will be held on 1 March 1998.
The MCB represents the rich and diverse spectrum of Islamic organisations in Britain and the Convention promises to be a defining event in the life of the British Muslim community.
For further information Please contact:
Abdul Wahid Hamid, London
0181 903 9024
Sher Azam, Bradford
Dr Hani al-Banna, Birmingham
0121 605 5555
Yusuf Islam, London
0171 607 6655
Mrs Sarah Joseph, London
0181 795 3476
Dr Abdur-Rahim Khan, Preston
01253 724 859
Bashir Maan, Glasgow
0141 429 7689
Manzoor Moghal, Leicester
0973 411 889
Maulana Bostan Qadri, Birmirmingham
0121 328 0837
Iqbal Sacranie, London
0181 974 2780
Tanzeem Wasti, London
0181 942 5038
MIM: A 1998 press release shows UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was practicing dhimmitude and promising to acede to the demands of Muslims in Britain. Straw has maintained his defense of Islamist individuals and groups (such as Yusuf Islam) up till the present. It is worth noting that Yusuf Islam was the treasurer or the MCB in 199, at the same time he was active with recruiting people and soliciting funds for Al Qaeda activities in Bosnia.
MK Nazir Ahmed was also present at this meeting. In September 2004 Nazir Ahmed was a speaker at fundraiser for the Islamic Circle of North America in Sunrise, Florida, The other speakers included ex ICNA president and UHF CEO Zulfiqar Ali Shah, Maulana Shafayat Mohamed, of Dar Ul Uloom Institute, and Paul Findley ,director of the Council of the National Interest, a group directly linked to Hamas. http://www.mcb.org.uk/news021298.html
London - 2nd December 1998
MCB Hosts Luncheon Meeting with Jack Straw
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) hosted a luncheon meeting with the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP on Wednesday 2nd December 1998 at the Banqueting Centre of the Lords Cricket Ground in London. Over two hundred guests - from both Houses of Parliament, Heads and members of diplomatic missions, media organisations, distinguished guests from other faith communities, representatives of MCB affiliates, Muslim professionals and Muslim businessmen - were present at the luncheon.
Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the MCB, in his opening address welcomed the Home Secretary to the first such meeting hosted by the Council. This was indicative of the Home Secretary's heartening response to Muslim concerns and his readiness to address the issues at stake.
He pointed out that since the Inaugural Convention of the MCB in November 1997, many meetings had been arranged with senior members of the Government and various government departments. Some of the concerns raised and the issues taken up by the MCB had resulted in positive movement on the part of the Government. The removal of the Primary Purpose Rule for immigration cases and the granting of state funding to two Muslim schools went a long way towards reassuring British Muslims.
The amendment to the Crime and Disorder Bill 'making it absolutely clear that where there is a religious element to a particular crime, if the hostility is even partly racist, it will be covered by the new provisions' whilst falling short of outlawing religious discrimination per se, was a move in the right direction. The MCB would continue to press for full fledged legislation on outlawing religious discrimination. The Home Secretary's support for the inclusion of a question on religious identity in the Census 2001 was also greatly appreciated by the Muslim community. The MCB now looks forward to this provision being included in the White Paper to be published early next year and subsequently being enacted into law.
There were other positive aspects in the Government's dealings with the Muslim community. The agreement for the provision of a funded Muslim advisor for the Prison Service announced yesterday (01/12/98) was a case in point. The emphasis on Family Values and the beginnings of an 'ethical' foreign policy were welcome news. From the Muslim side members of several affiliates of the MCB - like the Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association and the Association of Muslim Schools - had been active in working with different government agencies and initiatives to help foster an understanding of the community's feelings and needs.
However, this did not mean that the Muslim community had no further expectations from the government. In the light of the Merton Council's action where it was argued that it is not unlawful to incite hatred against Muslims or their places of worship because Muslims are not regarded as a racial group, the need for clear legislation on incitement to religious hatred was becoming urgent and cannot be postponed. There was also grave concern that the newly acquired powers under the anti-terrorism legislation carry 'the serious risk of compromising our own respect for civil liberties, the rule of law and commitment to human rights'. Indeed, in an atmosphere muddied by the media's penchant for 'Islamophobia', when some persons were detained under the new laws, newspaper headlines screamed 'Moslem plot to bomb London'. Wrong signals from the government followed by media frenzy could so easily and negatively impact on the lives of Muslims in Britain. Again legal sanction against incitement to religious hatred would probably stop the worst cases of abuse.
In conclusion Mr Sacranie said, 'I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Muslim Council of Britain to reiterate our support for all policies and initiatives that would contribute to our country's strength, stability and well-being'.
The Home Secretary in his remarks, welcomed the opportunity to be the first Cabinet Minister to attend a Muslim Council of Britain event. 'I am fortunate also to have many close friends who are Muslim. And I represent a constituency which includes 20,000 Muslim people. ….. I firmly believe that British Muslims make Britain today a stronger, richer and more vibrant society. A truly dynamic society, in which people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds can live and work together, whilst retaining their distinctive identities'.
Mr Straw said that plaudits for the recognition of Muslim schools as eligible for state funding should go to his colleague, David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education. However, he had worked for the principle since his days as education spokesman in 1987. Bill Morris, then secretary general of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) was his key ally during those days. He was glad that fairness had finally prevailed on this vexed issue.
The Home Secretary emphasised the attempts to capture the majority of offences committed against Muslims by the amendments to the Crime and Disorder Bill. He added, 'we will be keeping a close eye on the cases that arise from the Act. We are already aware that a number of prosecutions are in the pipeline and I am happy to say that we are now starting to see the first convictions under the Act'.
He referred to the London Borough of Merton Case and stated that the media reporting of the case was not accurate. 'In fact the judge made no finding on that issue at all because he didn't think that it was right for a judge in a civil case to make a ruling on a criminal matter that wasn't before him'. However, Mr Straw said, 'I am very alive to the issues that the Merton case raised and I am sympathetic to the concerns of Muslim communities about the law as it stands'.
'.. unfortunately I do not think that there is a quick fix. ….. There are difficulties in defining religion to cover mainstream religions such as Islam without also covering what would better be described as pseudo-religions or cults. … If ideas come forward from the Muslim community about how to resolve it, you have my assurance that I shall consider them'.
The Home Secretary then referred to a few initiatives that were already under way. His office was commissioning research specifically on religious discrimination. 'We want to assess the current scale and nature of religious discrimination in Britain'. There is also to be a review of the Race Relations Act. 'I want to ensure that we have the right statutory framework to build on the progress we have made so far so that we can guarantee equal opportunity for all'.
Mr Straw expressed his grave concern at the media image of Muslims. The very negative way in which the description "Muslim fundamentalist" was being used in the media and elsewhere to mean "terrorist" was discussed in a meeting with MCB representatives in June. 'I agreed with the Council that this was wrong, and insulting to the law-abiding and peaceful Muslim community on the UK. I also made sure that everybody in the Home Office understood the need to avoid using this terminology'.
He then alluded the British government's stance towards Saddam Hussein and its readiness to participate in the recent near bombing of Iraq. He appealed for British Muslim understanding on this issue. The oil-for food and medicine provisions in place could accommodate all the food and medical needs of the country. The Iraqi propaganda in this matter was totally unfounded. However, leaving Saddam Hussein unchecked could pause a grave threat to regional and international security.
The Home Secretary hoped that the attempts to legislate on the inclusion of the religious question in 2001 Census and other matters would not fall foul of the current ping pong between the two Houses of Parliament.
Mr Straw ended by saying, 'I look forward to continuing to work with the Muslim Council of Britain on all the issues that we have talked about today. I think that we have already established a constructive and open relationship. Together we can work towards a better society for everyone'.
There followed a presentation by two children from the Islamia Primary School. The children presented a decorative plaque and a short poem to the Home Secretary as a mark of his support for the provision of state funding of Muslim schools. They also presented copies of Yusuf Islam's latest recording, The Prayers of the Last Prophet, and a copy of Mels publication Islam: The Natural Way on behalf of the MCB.
Sarah Joseph, an English woman, highlighted her plight as a Muslim whose recourse to law for religious discrimination could not be subsumed even under the 'stretched' version of the Crime and Disorder Bill. This graphically illustrated the need for clear legislation on the issue.
H.E. Dr Mahmoud Hammoud the Doyen of Diplomatic Corps and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Cultural Centre, London expressed the support of the Muslim ambassadors towards attempts to co-ordinate Muslim affairs in the UK. In this context he was appreciative of the MCB initiative and welcomed the comprehensive programme of the Council. He promised to maintain a constructive relationship with the MCB.
Finally, in their short, but moving presentations, Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green and Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham, the two Muslim members of the Upper House, welcomed the MCB initiative and hoped that they would be able to develop a reciprocal relationship with the Council to enable Muslim community concerns to be properly presented and redressed where necessary. Both felt happy that a solid institution like the MCB had finally emerged to enable them to press Muslim concerns with credibility and confidence.
Yusuf Islam, the treasurer of the MCB, in his concluding remarks whilst thanking all the participants for making the event a success appealed to the Muslim businessmen to make an all out effort and contribute towards making the Council into a thriving and vibrant body.