Muslim leaders ‘in denial’ claim

Britain’s most powerful Islamic body is “in denial” about the prevalence of extreme views among its members, one of its founders has told the BBC. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) pledged to tackle extremism “head on” after the 7 July attacks in London. But in a BBC Panorama special, Mehbood [sic] Kantharia and other prominent British Muslims question the MCB’s commitment to meeting this challenge.

The MCB has branded the programme “deeply unfair” and a “witch-hunt”. Secretary general Sir Iqbal Sacranie said Panorama had used “deliberately garbled quotes in an attempt to malign the Muslim Council of Britain”. He said it had “the barely concealed goal of drawing British Muslims away from being inspired in their political beliefs and actions by the faith of Islam”.

“It is unfortunate that just when Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims are beginning to make progress in terms of their political participation in the mainstream, there are those who are purposefully trying to sabotage that process,” he added.

BBC News, 21 August 2005