LONDON – The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is embarking on a nationwide tour of England next week to listen to the views of local communities among the country’s 1.8 million Muslim population. The five-week tour, starting on July 25, is being led by the recently elected Secretary General of the MCB Muhammad Abdul Bari, Deputy Secretary General Dr Daud Abdullah, and Bari’s predecessor, Sir Iqbal Sacranie. It comes as Britain’s mainstream Muslim umbrella organization, comprising over 400 affiliated groups, is being challenged by the media and ministers on whether it is truly reflective of Britain’s diverse Muslim communities. Bari said that he was looking forward to speaking with a diverse range of British Muslims right across the country and to hear their views on the issues that are of most concern to them during the tour, entitled ‘Connecting with the Communities’. “This tour represents an ideal opportunity to introduce the work of the MCB to others and to listen to suggestions about how we can facilitate greater cooperation among Muslims and non-Muslims to promote the common good,” he said. The British government on Wednesday promoted the launch of a new organization, calling itself the Sufi Muslim Council, with the aim of speaking for the ‘silent majority’. Last year, the creation of a new secular group calling itself Progressive British Muslims (PBM), was sponsored by Britain’s ruling Labor Party as an ‘articulate’ voice for progressively minded Muslims. The initiatives come as the UK government have been seeking Muslim organizations to join its campaign to tackle ‘radical extremism’ in what is being blamed as a root cause of terrorism.