About the MCB and who it represents
The MCB is the country’s largest and most diverse umbrella body for Muslim organisations and works similarly to many other national representative bodies for other faith communities.
Founded in 1997, it has 500 member organisations including mosques, schools, charitable associations and professional networks.
From its very inception the MCB has sought to reflect the views of its member organisations who, by extension, represent a very large cross-section of Britain’s diverse Muslim communities. It has never claimed to be the sole representative of British Muslim communities.
The majority of British Muslims appear to believe the MCB are doing a good job in representing Muslims, (55% in BBC poll; 51% in Channel 4 poll: figures that are significantly higher than the UK’s political parties).
Critics of MCB however have sought to misrepresent one poll to suit their own agenda. The ICM poll interpreted by the Policy Exchange (a think tank that is at the bottom of the transparency index and found to have fabricated information about Muslims by Newsnight) is being entirely misrepresented to reach the conclusion that the MCB does not represent the views of British Muslims.
The method of reaching that conclusion was as follows:
- “If you needed to engage or influence local or government officials, how do you prefer to do this?” – 20% responded: “through a Muslim organisation”
- “Which Muslim organisation would you choose to help engage with government officials on your behalf?” – 9% responded with the Muslim Council of Britain.
From this, they concluded that approximately 2% (20% x 9%) of the population support the MCB.
The MCB serves its members rather than individuals and therefore this poll does nothing to demonstrate the support, reach or representative nature of the MCB.
The BBC asked a simple question in a poll “The Muslim Council of Britain does a good job representing the views of Muslims” and the results were as follows:
- – 55% agreed
- – 28% disagreed
- – 16% didn’t know
- – 1% refused to answer
Channel 4 similarly asked a simple question in its poll: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that the Muslim Council of Britain represents your views?”, and the results were as follows:
- – 51% agreed
- – 8% disagreed
- – 21% did not know
One BBC correspondent had unfortunately fallen for the myth that appears to be promoted by Policy Exchange, and the Editorial Complaints Unit acknowledged that “the poll in question had not been framed with a view to measuring the extent of support for the Council” and explained to the correspondent the importance of reporting “with due accuracy” given the presence of other surveys.