Monday, 6 October 2014

The Muslim Council of Britain's New Website

 



The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is (or aspires to be) the UK version of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

A few months ago the MCB "revamped" its website. It did so in order to reach its new target audience. That target audience, surprisingly enough, is non-Muslims! Specifically, the MCB wants to reach out to (or be read by) the British government and other British authorities.

The content of the website is what the MCB wants non-Muslims to read about itself. (This is true of the CAIR website too.) In other words, the MCB now knows that its pronouncements and articles are being monitored by non-Muslims. It knows that at least some British journalists have their eye on the ball.

This explains why all the controversial stuff (which many people had already read) has been erased. It's why there's hardly anything at all on the new website, even after a period of five months (since May 2014). The Islamists of the MCB could have quite easily included all the old stuff. However, as I said, much of it was deeply controversial, at least to non-Muslims. So the website was more or less scrubbed clean.

All the MCB's hard-core Islamist conversations will presumably now be taking place elsewhere, in private forums, via emails or perhaps on those public websites (such as the Muslim Brotherhood's "official English website", Ikhanweb) which aren't often frequented by curious journalists and other non-Muslims.

Wanting respect


The Muslim Council of Britain overhauled its website in anticipation of its latest offensive to gain support and respect from the British government and other British authorities. Recall that the Conservative Party broke its links to the MCB in 2009, and even the Labour Party did the same slightly earlier (only to restore them a year later). As The Times put it:

"The group [the MCB], which once enjoyed a close relationship with the government, has been ostracised since 2009 when one of its officials signed a declaration supporting Hamas and calling on Muslims to destroy 'foreign warships' preventing arms smuggling into Gaza."

Ministers have since been advised to restore ties to the MCB, specifically in response to what's happening in Syria and Iraq and the fact that over 1,500 British Muslims have travelled to these countries to become jihadists.

Today, there are MCB articles on Islamic State (IS) and on the British Muslims who have travelled to Syria and Iraq, as well as on the MCB's recent turnaround on female genital mutilation (FGM).* Indeed, when you see the MCB website you quickly note its focus on extremist Muslim actions in Syria, Iraq and Nigeria (e.g., the kidnapping of schoolgirls), though not on Muslim actions at home or in Gaza, Egypt and Pakistan. For example, take these titles from the website: "British Muslims Hope for Peace in Iraq and Syria", "Muslim Council of Britain Comments on Minorities in Iraq" and "Terrorist attacks in Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq: Muslim Council of Britain Decries a Weekend of Carnage".

Regarding the aforementioned paucity of content, along with a few older articles and press releases (copied and pasted from the old website) there have been two 'Letters to Editors' since February 2014, and a single entry under the 'Speeches' section. I couldn't find a single comment after the news items and press releases even though that option is available.

The MCB's Facebook page has (as of 3 October 2014) received 3,514 'likes'. Compare that to the 8,848 likes of the self-consciously violent and militant Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK), the 5,085 likes of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the 5,897 likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain.

Now, bear that in mind alongside the MCB's claim to have a "mandate from 500 organisations who represent Muslims from all walks of life".

500 affiliated organisations?


What does that claim amount to? How strong is the link between the MCB and these 500 organisations? Is it anything more than formal exchanges and a few signed documents? Are these relations merely nominal in nature? What are the 500 organisations, exactly? Are they nearly all mosques? (The MCB itself says "500 mosques and Muslim groups".) And if they are nearly all mosques, does the MCB's connection to them amount to anything of real substance? Are the claims about having 500 affiliates and speaking for "Muslims from all walks of life" just smoke and mirrors?

In other words, is the MCB more concerned with influencing the British government and other non-Muslim institutions than it is about being a genuine voice of British Muslims?

Conclusion


As mentioned earlier, almost the entire MCB website seems to be made up of apologies for what Muslims are doing throughout the world and in the UK. Having said that, these hedged, qualified and very conditional apologies always come with political rationales for what the extremist Muslim groups and individuals are doing. In each and every case, the real blame, according to the MCB, lies with non-Muslims and Western governments ("British foreign policy", "Islamophobia", "racism", our lack of cooperativeness when it comes to sharia law in the UK, etc.).

In fact, the MCB's position amounts to one long list of the following argument frame:

"We condemn Muslim action X and Islamic group Y. But ... ."

If you are really cynical (or realistic), that omnipresent response of the MCB actually amount to this:

"We at the Muslim Council of Britain publicly condemn Muslim action X and Islamic group Y simply because not doing so would be political suicide for us here in the UK."

In other words, the MCB's website is all about Muslim/ Islamic public relations.

* According to a 2013 UNICEF report, Egypt – which is the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood – has the world's highest number of victims of FGM, with 27.2 million women – or 91% of Egyptian women and girls – having suffered mutilation. Under the rule of Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood from 2012 to 2013 the rate of FGM actually increased.

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