£350,000 trips to boost the image of British Muslims

The Torygraph manages to combine its favourite themes of inciting anti-Muslim prejudice and accusing the government of “wasting taxpayers’ money”:

“Taxpayers are funding a £350,000 globetrotting tour that is intended to improve the ‘image of British Muslims’ around the world. The Foreign Office has dispatched parties of up to eight Muslims as far afield as Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, so they can ‘share their experiences’ with locals. The groups have been staying in exclusive hotels and even flown business class on some legs, with all accommodation and travel expenses met from the public purse….

“Critics claimed that the programme of visits, called Projecting British Muslims, are a waste of taxpayers’ money. Ben Wallace, Conservative MP for Lancaster and Wyre, who uncovered the cost using Parliamentary questions, said: ‘I’m not sure how sending British Muslims abroad to other Islamic countries helps to counter the jihadi movement at home. I can’t see that this is anything more than a jolly for a lot of people. ‘It should not be forgotten that Britain has an appalling record of exporting jihadi fighters to other countries, not the other way around’.”

Sunday Telegraph, 10 December 2006