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The Muslim Council of Britain has received a slap in the face from the Board of Deputies (BoD) of British Jews. This follows the Government’s report on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which included several ludicrous insinuations, notably that the MCB had been ‘ taken over ‘by stealth’ by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1990s’ and that the MCB had ‘consistently opposed programmes by successive Governments to prevent terrorism.’  Without paying much heed to the MCB’s response to these allegations, the President of BoD Jonathan Arkush has gone public to disassociate his influential representative body of British Jewry from the MCB, as reported in the Jewish News, ‘the Board has no formal relationship with the MCB but maintains contacts with individuals where a positive impact can be achieved’, in an article headlined, “Board distances itself from Muslim Council of Britain over Muslim Brotherhood ‘links’.”

The MCB has invested time and effort in building interfaith relations, making it a point to invite BoD representatives to events it organises, such as at the one at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, following the Charlie Hebdo atrocity. The BoD’s President at the time, Mr Wineman, attended, stating, ‘It is lovely to see the unity of different faiths, this is precisely what we need to show the killers, who wanted to strike at every humanity… When you attack one minority, you attack all. The Jewish community acknowledges that (with the Muslim faith) we are both minorities. I can only stress the common values on the whole of humanity. They were trying to make us retrieve and fight against ourselves – that will not happen.”

MCB with BoD

Alas, Wineman’s willingness to stand alongside the MCB and his wise words  seem to have been lost on his successor. Arkush will win plaudits from the Likkud-supporters in BoD, but it does not augur well for strengthening the institutional cordiality between the leading representative bodies of British Muslims and British Jewry. The MCB took a bold step in preparing to delink community relationships at home with the Israel-Palestine issue and Middle East politics; the BoD has to show the same maturity.

 

 

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