Letter regarding Martin Bright story
23 October 2006
Publication: New Statesman
Martin Bright (NS, Oct 23rd 2006) has a known and longstanding problem with getting his facts straight when it comes to reporting about Islam and Muslims. His dismal effort last week, was no exception.
He says that the Muslim Council of Britain was not invited to the Ruth Kelly speech on Oct 11. Wrong. We were indeed invited, but our secretary-general could not attend the Ruth Kelly event because the timing clashed with an existing diary commitment he had with the Home Secretary, Dr John Reid, and we informed Kelly's department accordingly.
He claims that the MCB engages in a 'dismissal of certain Muslim minority groups' and has an 'ambiguous attitude' towards suicide bombing. If his awful booklet for Policy Exchange, 'When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries', is anything to go by, then one can assume that in his first allegation Bright is referring to the MCB's position in relation to the Ahmadi community. He does not seem to comprehend that the view that Ahmadis cannot be regarded as Muslims is not a viewpoint that is simply limited to the MCB. Muslim scholars worldwide together with the followers of all the main Muslim schools of thought, are agreed that the Ahmadis are a non-Muslim sect. As for suicide bombing, the MCB has repeatedly stated that the deliberate targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable.
Whether any of this will serve to help Bright to better understand Muslims and Islam is quite another matter though.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala
Assistant Secretary General,
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330,
London E15 1NT