12 September 2003
Letter to Kate Roxburgh
We read with mounting concern the extensive coverage that the Daily Mail has been giving this week to the fringe Muslim group, al-Muhajiroun and their deeply offensive 'Magnificent 19' poster campaign.
Al-Muhajiroun are regarded with disdain by ordinary Muslims because of their publicity-seeking antics which only lead to an increase in support for the xenophobes of the British National Party and cause a backlash against British Muslims. The group has less than a thousand members in the entire country out of a total British Muslim population of over 1.6 million. They do not run a single one of the 1000+ mosques that exist in the UK and have to resort to holding meetings in public venues like libraries because not a single mosque will allow them inside to propagate their hate-filled views.
All this week, we have been advising journalists that al-Muhajiroun has no grassroots support whatsoever and that we would be amazed if they were able to fill the four halls in London, Leicester, Manchester and Bradford that they had allegedly booked for their 'Magnificent 19' conference. In the end, the so-called conference was clearly exposed for being the publicity stunt we had warned journalists about.
Al-Muhajiroun have a clearly divisive agenda and it appears that sections of the media are unwittingly helping them in their quest.
Some of your readers may remember that the BBC Radio 4 Today programme aired a provocative interview in late 2001 with Hassan Butt, another al-Muhajiroun spokesperson, after he left the UK and went to Pakistan urging British Muslims to go to Afghanistan to fight UK/American troops. A few months later, Mr Butt was reported as being back in the UK trying to sell his story to a daily UK paper for �100,000.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain