Share this page
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Rate this post

The Muslim NGO MEND (Muslim Engagement & Development) was unjustly the butt of allegations at a Home Affairs Parliamentary Committee hearing in December 2016. It has responded in a robust manner.

The allegations:

‘. . . Oral evidence presented to the committee by Mr Mughal [CEO, TellMama] contained openly libellous accusations . . .  the following claims are to be read as accusations against MEND: “their conspiracy, their anti-Semitism, their hatred towards other communities and that their uni-polar view of life’.

MEND’s responses:

‘. . . MEND have never supported “conspiracy” theories nor shown any sympathy for such theories. It is not the first time such an allegation has been made about MEND to the committee and we take this opportunity to set the record straight on both counts of this repeat slander. In written evidence submitted by the Community Security Trust to the Committee’s inquiry into ‘Countering Extremism’, a paragraph referred to Tell MAMA and to MEND alleging the following: “MEND endorses the conspiracy theory that “Zionists” are partly responsible for encouraging anti-Muslim hatred.” . . . We can only assume the CST’s claim to loosely and erroneously refer to a tour we organised titled “The Five Pillars of Islamophobia”. The tour featured academic research into the “pillars of Islamophobia” which was first presented at a conference hosted by the University of Bath in June 2015 . . . The research clearly identifies “sections of the Zionist lobby” as responsible for supporting, and in some cases driving, Islamophobia in the UK, through overlapping networks and alliances . . .  Research by Professor David Miller, Dr Narzanin Massoumi, Dr Tom Mills and Hilary Aked, a doctoral student at the University of Bath, outlines these “five pillars”. The authors argue: “We will not turn back the tide of Islamophobia only by confronting the threat of UKIP in politics, or the EDL and other parts of the transnational ‘counter-jihad movement’ on the streets. We also need to focus our attention on elements of the (also transnational) neo-conservative and Zionist movements which provide information, ‘research’ and advocacy which can drag the state and politics to the right and sharpen Islamophobic policies…”. The empirical research supporting the identification of “sections of the Zionist lobby” as contributing to Islamophobic prejudice and policies is irrefutable and it is a slur against the rigour of research employed by these academics to glibly render this work a “conspiracy theory”.’

‘. . . MEND has at no time, willingly or unwittingly, been guilty of “anti-Semitism”. It is inconceivable that we, as an organisation committed to fostering partnerships and collaborations with other groups in society to tackle all forms or hatred, would indulge in pernicious victimisation of Jewish people. The accusation is an abominable slur and were it not for the power of absolute privilege which constrains our ability to meet this outrageous claim with firm legal action, we would engage it forthwith. It is a travesty that the Committee must address in order to ensure its evidence hearings are not brought into disrepute nor privilege abused with profligate falsehoods and fabrications uttered by individuals invited to present authoritative, well researched evidence.’

‘. . . We find the allegation of harbouring “hatred towards other communities” inexplicable and entirely without foundation. Our grassroots empowerment work with local communities consists of bridge-building exercises bringing communities together to tackle a common threat: hate crime and anti-minority sentiments. It is our firm belief and a guiding principle of our work that Islamophobia is not a ‘Muslim problem’ but a problem for the whole of society. Tackling Islamophobia can only be done effectively when all communities rise up and reject those who unfairly demonise minority groups and project onto them society’s ills . . . The suggestion that any part of our work or activities is illustrative of “hatred towards other communities” is a manifest lie.’

‘. . . We cannot fully comprehend the basis of this assertion and are not entirely sure what is meant by a “uni-polar view of life“. We would, however, venture the possibility that the intended meaning is sympathetic to the term ‘Islamists’ and ‘Islamism’. The term ‘Islamist’ if often deployed in a derogatory manner to label British Muslim activists and organisations with a twofold purpose (a) to imply a transnational dimension to their political activism and to implicate groups abroad in what are typically domestic political engagement strategies (b) to portray British Muslim political activism as a malign development in British politics rather than as the positive integration of Muslim communities through political participation and public debate. These inferences as usually supported by  accusations of “entryism” against British Muslims when they participate in mainstream  politics. While the exact meaning of the phrase used here is not clear to us, we would vehemently dispute the suggestion our work raises obstacles to Muslim integration in British society. To the contrary, our initiatives and programmes are designed to promote      full and active citizenship by British Muslims. . . ‘ click here.

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •