Well, that’s the line the Daily Telegraph is taking anyway, and Conservative Home is joining in. What’s got them so worked up is the document submitted by the Conservative Muslim Forum in response to An Unquiet World, the report of the Tories’ National and International Security Policy Group chaired by Dame Pauline Neville-Jones.
The CMF’s response hits some nails on the head. It has a good line on Israel and Iran, which particularly outrages the Telegraph and Conservative Home (though the Torygraph is no less appalled by the CMF’s proposal that the history curriculum in schools should give “full recognition to the massive contribution that Islam has made to the development of Western civilisation”).
Conservative Home for its part is dismayed by the CMF’s defence of the Muslim Council of Britain, who were grossly misrepresented by Neville-Jones’ policy group, providing the basis for an ignorant attack on the MCB by David Cameron. The CMF asks:
“What is the evidence for the statement ‘the MCB does not have as one of its aims, the integration of members of Muslim communities into the wider society of the UK’? … it should be noted that one of the formal aims of the MCB is ‘to foster better community relations and work for the good of society as a whole’, which is what integration is about. The Policy Group did not specify what MCB activities they consider to be incompatible with integration. The Conservative Party should recognise that the MCB is well-respected by many Muslims and non-Muslims.”
Also by implication the Conservative Muslim Forum opposes Cameron’s call for a ban on Hizb ut-Tahrir: “… it is the mark of a mature and liberal democracy that it accepts people’s freedom to disagree. If a political party wishes to campaign, constitutionally, for the abolition of democracy in the UK and its replacement by a totalitarian system, why should it not be free to do so?”
Neville-Jones’ An Unquiet World report contains a ludicrously inaccurate attack on Dr al-Qaradawi. To which the CMF replies: “While we may disagree with many of the views of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, it is inaccurate for the Policy Group to question his status as a leading Islamic scholar…. Yusuf al-Qaradawi is considered a leading scholar by many Muslims, including other Muslim scholars.”
Conservative Home complains: “It is deeply troubling to learn of a group within the Conservative Party giving comfort to this extremist.”
An Unquiet Word: A Response can be downloaded from the Conservative Muslim Forum website.
For earlier criticisms of Neville-Jones’ report by Conservative Muslims, see here.