The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Is there a rapprochement between the MCB and the Brown government?

Posted by theislamist on September 1, 2007

After much criticism of the MCB’s association with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations, it seemed that the Labour Government had tried to place some distance between it and the MCB. The former Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly seemed to break off relations with the MCB. She announced last year, “a fundamental rebalancing of our relationship with Muslim organisations from now on”. Kelly said, “In future, I am clear that our strategy of funding and engagement must shift significantly towards those organisations that are taking a proactive leadership role in tackling extremism and defending our shared values.” She said that it was “not good enough” to pay lip service to combating extremism.

At the time, the speech was briefed by the Government as signalling the end of its engagement with the MCB as a partner in preventing extremism. Kelly specifically criticised the MCB’s boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, as follows: “I can’t help wondering why those in leadership positions who say they want to achieve religious tolerance and a cohesive society would choose to boycott an event which marks, above all, our common humanity and respect for each other.”

The MCB was also criticised in the writings of Michael Gove and Martin Bright and in a John Ware documentary for BBC Panorama.

However, the Spectator blog, suggests that the MCB have had recent meetings with Hazel Blears, the new Communities Secretary.  This suggests that relations between the MCB and Government have improved since Gordon Brown arrived at Number 10. Time will tell…

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