Saturday, 2 April 2011

MCB and the HMD (2007)

In Summary
In 2006, the MCB opposed attending the Holocaust Memorial Day Event.
A survey of Muslims at a local mosque showed over 85% wanting the MCB to attend HMD
Emails sent to MCB by local mosque to point out views of ordinary Muslims
Request made for local mosque to pass information on to congregation at Friday Prayers
This post is an example of being a “critical friend” – someone who provides help and constructive criticism to an organisation.

In More Detail:
Back in the years around 2006, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was refusing to participate in the Holocaust Memorial Day(HMD) on the grounds that it was too exclusive an event and that it should, instead, focus on all genocides.

The, entirely predictable, result of this was that the MCB (and by implication British Muslims) were annually accused of being anti-semitic.

In addition, the position of the MCB made life very difficult for Muslims working in Inter-Faith activities and were involved in local HMD events.

In an effort to shed some light on what the Muslims thought about the issue (as opposed to what Muslim organisations said Muslims thought about the issue) BFTF, with the permission of a local mosque, conducted a survey of people attending Friday prayers one week in May 2007.

Some 70 people were asked whether the MCB should, or should not, attend the HMD (this was perhaps the first time in Nottingham that a congregation had been asked for it’s opinion on an issue!).

The results showed over 85% stating that they wanted the MCB to attend the HMD

This suggested a big disconnect between the position of the MCB and the views of the Muslim community.

A letter was drawn up and sent to the MCB by the mosque. One key point mentioned in the letter was that with the opinion of the MCB being pretty much diametrically opposite to that of ordinary Muslims, was it any surprise that these ordinary Muslims felt that the MCB did not represents them?

After some prompting, M. Rafi of the MCB responded by saying :

“…I would like to assure you that we take yours and our other affiliates views very seriously. As a result of such concerns we have had a number of internal discussions on this matter over the last few months. We have decided to carry out a fuller survey of our affiliates and a sample survey of the Muslim Community in the coming months, results of which we will be able to disseminate in Autumn 2007. . . “

Lastly, the most important group in this issue is the Muslim community, so BFTF asked the local mosque to tell the congregation about the results of the survey (and the response from the MCB).

After prompting a few times, the local mosque said that they would do this.

Dear Reader, perhaps there is an issue that is close to your heart where you could constructively help the debate by engaging with a local, or national, organisation.. . . .Go on, you know you want to. . .

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