Policy Exchange publishes another futile report

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The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) views the Policy Exchange’s latest offering as another divisive attempt to drive a wedge between British Muslims and the rest of society.

Today’s report from Policy Exchange entitled ‘The Hijacking of British Islam‘ plumbs new depths in the ongoing and transparent attempts to try and delegitimise popular mainstream Islamic institutions in the UK and replace them with those who are subservient to neo-conservative aims.

The report cultivates an insidious programme of generating sectarianism amongst British Muslims by preferring some traditions of Islam over others. From its inception, the MCB has been a pioneer in creating a space for the many rich traditions of Islam. The authors of this report would do well to learn from the MCB’s good practice. The MCB reasserts its commitment to seek the common good and point to its record in encouraging all British Muslims to enthuse the Islamic value of reaching out and seeking common cause with all, of all faiths and none. The MCB does not tolerate any messages of hate, whatever its source – and the law should take its course.

“Today’s report lists extracts from a number of books on sale in some Muslim bookshops which they deem to be unacceptable. The plain fact is that if you deliberately go looking for controversial material then you will be guaranteed to find it somewhere in a bookshop. Muslim bookshops are no exception. Yet tellingly, it is only Muslim bookshops and institutions that Policy Exchange calls to be regulated. British Muslims will not be intimidated by these futile and irresponsible recommendations,” said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

He added: “I would urge everyone to guard against the shrill hysteria generated by divisive organisations such as the Policy Exchange who provide succour to the far right. Sources of hope can be found elsewhere – yesterday’s launch of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) will complement, continue and strengthen the on-going work of the MCB in ensuring that mosques are welcoming and equipped for the twenty-first century.

Muslim Council of Britain news release, 30 October 2007