It's hard to understand why almost every time a British national newspaper (especially The Independent and The Guardian) publishes an article about some Muslim-related issue (say, the Islamisation of schools or, way back, the Danish cartoons) it either quotes the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) or formally interviews one of its spokesmen.
This happened just a couple of days ago on the issue of why so many British Muslims have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS and other jihadist groups. It also happened even more recently in the case of the Government's comments about Muslims being taught about 'British values' in schools.
Now is this a consequence of journalistic laziness or is it that some journalists are actually ideologically/ politically sympathetic to the MCB?
All this is also very strange if you consider the MCB's well-documented and extensive extremism; as well as its ambivalent relationship to both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.
For example, in 2009, Hazel Blears (then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) published an open letter saying that her government should have no further dealings with the MCB.
However, the Labour Party restored its links to the MCB in January 2010. That was no surprise because for over ten years the Labour Party seems to have had a thing about using Britain's Islamic extremists to fight, well, Britain's Islamic extremists. And the MCB is perhaps one of the best examples of this phenomenon.
When it comes to the Conservative Party: in 2007 David Cameron himself condemned the "hardline members" of the MCB and claimed that it was so often listened to simply because it had the "loudest voice". It therefore has the canny ability of "crowding out other, genuinely moderate, voices".
Consequently, the Conservative Party decided to cut all links with the MCB in 2010.
So it's not so much that the MCB makes the most noise in Muslim communities. It's more that the MCB (just like CAIR in the US) shouts the loudest at governments, British journalists, the BBC, local councils, etc. And, obediently, they all take the MCB to be the 'community leader' it claims to be. Indeed, even the Wikipedia article on the MCB uses the term "self-appointed" to describe the MCB's role as an "umbrella body for 500 mosques [of which there are over 1600], schools and associations in Britain". (That ambivalent statement means that this number – 500 – actually includes schools and associations; not only mosques.)
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's Letter to the MCB
Despite all the above, Nick Clegg has just sent an open letter to the MCB voicing his concerns about the Government's suggestions that Muslims be taught 'British values' in our schools. Mr Clegg received an immoderate reply to his question. The MCB said that teaching such values will alienate (moderate?) Muslims.
Didn't they teach Nick Clegg anything at Westminster public school and Cambridge University? Didn't they teach him that extremists aren't the best people to consult about the nature of moderation?
I mentioned the Islamic jihadist group ISIS earlier. Here again the Muslim Council of Britain has recently displayed its ambivalent (to say the least) attitude towards Islamic extremism and Islamic terrorism.
This time it was The Independent which felt a pressing need to seek out the MCB's view on why so many British Muslims are travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS.
As you'd expect, the MCB has criticised ISIS and said that British Muslims shouldn't be going over there to kill Shia Muslims and other infidels. The MCB is obliged to say these things. It has to make such duplicitous statements simply because they know that gullible non-Muslim journalists will ask them questions about ISIS and Islamic terrorism generally.
To state the obvious: the MCB simply can't explicitly align itself with jihad/ terrorism against 'oppressors' of Muslims, because clearly if it did so its role as the Official Organisation of All British Muslims would be destroyed overnight. Similarly with Salma Yaqoob and other such media-Muslims. An outright endorsement of terrorism or jihad would result in immediate professional suicide. It's as simple as that.
Better to obfuscate instead.
MCB obfuscation often works like this:
"We are against terrorism, but ... ."
Which is just like the well-known:
"I'm not a racist, but..."
And then comes a long list of rationalisations, justifications and explications (from the MCB) as to why Islamic terrorists are doing what they're doing. In this latest case, almost before the MCB spokesman had got his very short and vague criticism of ISIS out of his mouth, he began to rant about Britain "supporting dictators and despots throughout the Muslim world". (That's funny really because the intervention in Iraq in 2003 got rid of a Muslim despot – Saddam Hussein – and guess what: the MCB was very vocally against it.)
Three Islamophile Clichés From Nick Clegg
One: Fighting Islamic extremism causes Islamic extremism
Mr Clegg hit upon the cliché which has it that taking action against Islamic extremism actually causes Islamic extremism.
The problem with that – usually Muslim or Leftist – soundbite is that a lack of action against Islamic extremism evidently causes – or allows – Islamic extremism. That is, Salma Yaqoob's much desired complete inaction will certainly allow Islamic extremism to grow in the UK. How do I know that? I know that because previous inaction has allowed Islamic extremists to thrive. (As in the Islamisation of schools case.)
This seems to mean that many Muslim community leaders, the MCB, Salma Yaqoob, etc. are happy with the rise of Islamic extremism quite simply because they don't really see it as extremism in the first place. For example, they've all denied that there is any problem whatsoever with the Islamisation of British schools. And before that, these very same people said exactly the same things about Muslim grooming gangs and Islamic terrorism in the UK.
Thus this action-against-Islamic-extremism-causes-Islamic-extremism mantra is an endorsement of such extremism for three reasons:
i) Those who say such a thing don't want anything to be done about such Islamic extremism;
ii) Many Muslims don't even take most – or any – examples of Islamic extremism to be extremism in the first place;
iii) Islamic extremism can then be blamed – yes, you guessed it – on non-Muslims.
Two: A hardline approach endorses the view of all Muslims as (potential) terrorists
Mr Clegg also came out with another cliché when he said that Mr Gove's "hardline approach" could be seen as endorsing the view that "all Muslims are potential terrorists".
Let me just put that old chestnut to sleep.
No one has ever said that every Muslim is a terrorist. And not many people have even said that every Muslim is a potential terrorist.
All political and religious movements – even the good ones – are led by small numbers of people (i.e., the activists). That's just the way it goes. So it is irrelevant that the Muslims on EastEnders are 'nice'; or that Mr X knows a nice Muslim who supports the English football team; or Mrs Y knows a Muslim "who likes to have a laugh". None of that matters. There are at least 300 million Muslims – probably many more – who want to destroy the West. It doesn't matter one iota if not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Russians were Bolsheviks in 1917. Not all Germans were Nazis in 1933. Nonetheless, these people gained control of their countries and we know what happened next.
Thus in order for Islam to be a threat, not every Muslim needs to be a terrorist or even a potential terrorist.
Three: Being a Muslim doesn't contradict being British
Nick Clegg's third cliché is not so much a cliché as just plain wrong. In his letter to the MCB, he says:
"Being Muslim does not contradict being British, nor is it in tension with it. A person can uphold their religious and cultural identity as well as British identity."
Being a Muslim does contradict being British; or at least what a Muslim must, as a Muslim, believe contradicts many British values and traditions.
Nonetheless, let's rephrase that statement:
Being a tribal or nominal Muslim doesn't contradict being British.
True. In other words, such Muslims are only Muslim in name. Either that or they are only Muslim in the tribal sense of being a Muslim for family or ethnic reasons.
Now genuine Muslims – by definition! – must desire to live according to sharia law and the dictates of Islam. Now it just so happens that sharia law – in many and various ways – does contradict many British values and traditions. That is just a mind-blowingly obvious fact that only a cretin, a taqiyya-merchant or a leftist would deny.
The fact that Nick Clegg seems to be denying all this is staggering.
One further blatantly-obvious point should be stated here: if Islam were not at odds with secular, Christian and all non-Islamic cultures/ societies it would render itself (as it were) un-Islamic.
Being against what is secular, Christian and non-Islamic is the very essence of Islam. Muhammed himself based his entire theology on trumping what had gone before him in polytheistic Arabia, as well as in Judaism and Christianity. Without that endless Islamic oneupmanship towards all that is non-Islamic, Islam would cease to have a point.
The worst of all Clegg's Islamophile stupidities is the self-contradictory view that moderate Muslims will be alienated by the promotion of British values. Now being alienated by the promotion of British values seems to me to be ... well, immoderate.
Thus you can only conclude, as ever, that Muslim moderation is often counterfeit moderation. And that's certainly the case when it comes to the Muslim Council of Britain.