The Muslim Council of Britain insisted yesterday that “honour” violence was a cultural practice and nothing to do with faith. The council spoke out after a BBC investigation claimed that there were links between some cases of honour violence in Britain and islamist extremist groups abroad. Victims of such attacks are alleged by their families to have disgraced them.
The Crown Prosecution Service pointed to the death five years ago of Heshu Yones, 16, who was stabbed to death by her father, and claimed that Islamist terror groups were behind it. Crown Prosecution Service national lead on honour crime Nazir Afzal told Radio 4 that the threats to kill another woman, who is known as Miss B, came from her family but originated from an Egyptian terrorist group. He said: “They told her husband that, if he didn’t put his wife in her place, then they would do it themselves.”
However, Muslim Council of Britain spokeswoman Reefat Drabu disagreed with Mr Afzal’s comments. “First and foremost, there has to be clarity that this is nothing to do with any faith, in particular Islam,” she said. “It is a cultural practice and there is nothing in any faith that would condone it or say that it is the right thing do it. This is to do with misguided notions of family honour. It has nothing to do with radicalism or terrorism.”
Morning Star, 27 June 2007
Over at Butterflies and Wheels Ophelia Benson expresses indignation that the MCB should even be asked their opinion on the issue. After all, they’re only the most representative Muslim organisation in the UK, with some 500 affiliates. Who cares what they think? Ms Benson would no doubt regard it as much more appropriate for the BBC to ask Maryam Namazie and the “Council of Ex-Muslims” for a quote instead.
And David T of Harry’s Place comments: “The Muslim Council of Britain’s eccentric stance on this issue illustrates why it is no longer invited to the Home Office to participate in the process of public policy formation.” Whereas some of us might have thought that the government’s cold-shouldering of the MCB was perhaps rather more closely connected with their refusal to keep quiet about the role of UK foreign policy in fuelling terrorism.