UK: The failings of the MCB

Saturday, 10th November 2007

The interview that the head of the Muslim Council of Britain has given to The Daily Telegraph today is phenomenally unhelpful to the cause of community cohesion. Muhammad Abdul Bari throwing around analogies to Germany in the 1930s is only going to polarise the debate.

Yet, it is his response to the news that one in four Mosques are giving house room to hate literature, according to a recent report from Policy Exchange, that is most disappointing. Rather than condemning the literature outright, Dr Bari stonewalls:

"The bookshops are independent businesses," he says. "We can't just go in and tell them what to sell … I will see what books they keep, if they have one book which looks like it is inciting hatred, do they have counter books on the same shelf?"
If Dr Bari really wants to ease the air of “suspicion and unease” and prevent people’s minds from being “poisoned” he should take an unequivocal stand against this kind of literature and denounce it as unacceptable. Such a move would show that the MCB has moved from apologising for an ideology of Islamic separatism to actually confronting it. But instead Dr Bari confines himself to arguing that the Satanic Verses "should have been pulped”, illustrating just how far the MCB still has to travel.