Muslims Students angry over the closure of the prayer room at City University

22 February 2013

City University has recently announced its decision to shut down the Muslim prayer room at the campus. The decision followed a statement from the university saying it needed to be sure of the “appropriateness” of what was being discussed in sermons as authorized university events. It said it also needed to be assured that all “students eligible to deliver” prayers and sermons “are considered equally and given the opportunity to do so”.

 

“The university could not continue to condone an activity taking place on its premises where it cannot exercise reasonable supervision,” the statement added.

Suspicions surrounding the content of the sermons followed a report released three years ago by Quilliam Foundation. The report claimed that hard line views and a confrontational atmosphere were being encouraged.

 

However, Muslim students argued the report was baseless and there was no evidence that hard line views were being spread. In order to campaign against the decision, Muslim students formed a group called Muslim Voices on Campus, calling on the university to reverse its decision.

 

“All of our sermons are open, we welcome all students and all staff… But when you start submitting your sermons to be monitored and scrutinized then there’s a chance for it to be dictated what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.”

 

There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). There are nearly 90,000 Muslim students studying in higher education institutions in European countries.

Muslims ask for exclusion from gay laws

17 December 2012

 

Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which is an umbrella organization that represents 500 mosques across the UK, has strongly criticized the new government initiative to pass a law which would allow gay marriages to take place in religious establishments. According to the law however it is illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to conduct same-sex weddings.

 

The MCB statement found the law “utterly discriminatory” as it does not provide a similar exemption for Muslims. Farooq Murad, the Secretary General of the MCB said:

 

‘We find it incredible that while introducing the bill in the House, culture secretary Maria Miller could keep a straight face when offering exemption for the established Church while in the same breath claiming, “fairness to be at the heart of her proposals”… It is not just the ‘Church of England and Church in Wales’ who “explicitly” stated strong opposition’ as Mrs. Miller says, the Muslim Council of Britain along with most other faith groups also made equally strong representation… no one in their right mind should accept such a discriminatory law. It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions.’

Ministers expect the legislation to take up to 12 months to get through Parliament.

Conservative Party MPs, including ministers, will get a free vote amid private fears that at least 40 per cent of Tory MPs oppose the plans. Labour has also granted its backbenchers a free vote, in a surprise move.

uk-gay-muslim-500 photo by Andrew Hodges

Muslims celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

8 June 2012

 

The largest Muslim body in the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has welcomed the Queen’s 60-year reign.  In a press release they praised the tolerance and equality that the Queen promoted in the country which helped the Muslim community to become a part of the society.

Muslim Groups Urge British Muslims to Participate in the Electoral Process

1 May 2012

Muslim interest in the British political process has traditionally been low. Due to alienation and lack of trust in the system the Muslim minority has shown a very limited turn out in the election. Muslims organizations have been trying to tackle this problem and raise awareness amongst Muslims to be more active in the political system.

Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which represents more than 500 Islamic organisations in Britain, has urged British Muslims to cast their votes prior to local elections.

Muslim Council of Britain Calls Face-Veil a Non-Debatable Obligation

16 April 2011

The Muslim Council of Britain, supposedly representing all Muslim groups and voices in the UK, has published a policy statement on their website saying that it is obligatory for Muslim women to cover their face. The statement read: “We advise all Muslims to exercise extreme caution on this issue, since denying any part of Islam may lead to disbelief. Not practising something enjoined by Allah and his Messenger… is a shortcoming. Denying it is much more serious.” The statement was signed by 27 “Islamic groups and scholars”, all male, including a spokesman of the extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir.

Haras Rafiq, of the moderate Muslim think tank Centri, said that by this statement “the MCB have put themselves at the opposite extreme of the spectrum”. The debate stirred up at the time of the implementation of the French face-veil ban.

Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday on November 8, commemorating the end of the First World War, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) published a special report highlighting the long-standing and continued support for the Armed Forces. “Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces” outlines how Muslims have made a historic contribution to the defense of the nation. The document also covers the current contribution of British Muslims to the UK military.

Highlighting past polling data, the document suggests that British Muslims tend to take the sophisticated enough stand to support our troops while dissenting from the government’s decision to send those troops to controversial conflicts. An ICM-run survey in June of 500 British Muslims over the age of 16, found that 78 percent said they opposed Taliban attacks against UK and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and three-quarters of those surveyed said it was wrong for the West to intervene militarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In this publication, the MCB acknowledges that the operations which the Armed Forces are engaged in today are deeply controversial. But that is not simply a concern amongst Muslims; it is shared by other British people also.

Muslim Council of Britain publishes report on history of Muslims in British Armed Forces

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday on November 8, commemorating the end of the First World War, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) published a special report highlighting the long-standing and continued support for the Armed Forces. “Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces” outlines how Muslims have made a historic contribution to the defense of the nation. The document also covers the current contribution of British Muslims to the UK military.

Highlighting past polling data, the document suggests that British Muslims tend to take the sophisticated enough stand to support our troops while dissenting from the government’s decision to send those troops to controversial conflicts. An ICM-run survey in June of 500 British Muslims over the age of 16, found that 78 percent said they opposed Taliban attacks against UK and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and three-quarters of those surveyed said it was wrong for the West to intervene militarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In this publication, the MCB acknowledges that the operations which the Armed Forces are engaged in today are deeply controversial. But that is not simply a concern amongst Muslims; it is shared by other British people also.

Controversial Saudi cleric Sheikh al-Sudais touring the UK

Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais can normally be seen leading prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, but this week he’s been charming the crowds of Banbury, Blackburn and Birmingham, where he attended a conference organised by the Ahlul Hadeeth Society called Unity of God: A Message Of Peace And Security. This evening, he will speak at the East London Mosque.

Rewind some years and he was describing Jews as “monkeys and pigs and worshippers of false gods”, Christians as “cross-worshippers” and Hindus as “idol worshippers”. His views were highlighted in a BBC Panorama programme on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Following the broadcast, the MCB sent letters of complaint to the corporation about the accuracy and editing of the show, queries that were dealt with at length by Panorama editor Mike Robinson.

Between the earlier media reports and the programme featuring the sheikh’s comments, al-Sudais led a sermon at the East London Mosque that was attended by the Racial Equality Minister Fiona McTaggart; the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks sent a message of support. One would have thought that these two figures given their respective roles, would have been aware of who the sheikh was and what his opinions were.

British Muslims commemorate Srebrenica genocide

The British Muslims commemorated the Srebrenica genocide by paying homage to more than 8,000 Bosnia Muslims men and boys massacred by Serb forces despite being in a UN-protected safe area in July 1995 during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. The Muslim Council of Britain in a message on the occasion said, “The massacres of defenceless Muslims in Bosnia and Srebrenica will continue to bleed the hearts of Muslims in Europe and beyond. It is vital that we bring about awareness of the genocide, especially on the back of recent wave of Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, their properties and places of worship across Europe.” The MCB Secretary-General Dr.Muhammad Abdul Bari added: “This new phenomenon is symbolised in Britain recently by the bombing of mosques and other Muslim buildings, and across Europe, by the shocking and brutal murder of a Muslim woman in Germany killed because she chose to wear a headscarf.” The MCB also distributed a Khutba prepared by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Rais-ul-Ulama Dr. Mustafa Cerilć about the Genocide, which was read during the Friday prayers across mosques in the United Kingdom.

US and UK Muslims condemn Mumbai killings

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) condemned unequivocally the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. “The brutal murder of Indians and foreign nationals is unacceptable, there is no excuse for such acts, whatever the cause may be,” said a statement from the MCB. “I condemn this heinous act and extend my sympathies and condolences to the bereaved. Many Britons have deep links with the city of Mumbai and India and I join them in this hour of sadness and anxiety,” said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB. Federation of Indian Muslim Organizations Midlands, UK, also condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Federation said it “condemned unequivocally the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that has resulted scores of deaths. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed and injured.” They said “no cause or grievance can justify indiscriminate attacks against innocent” and urged the Indian Government to “instigate immediate investigation of all incidents and the perpetrators must be brought to justice swiftly.” The US based Muslim organisation, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) also condemned the Mumbai terror attacks. “Those responsible for these brutal and immoral attacks should be swiftly brought to justice. Islam considers the use of terrorism to be unacceptable for any purpose,” said MPAC statement.

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