MEDIA ALERT UPDATE:
13th February 2002
SUPPORT JOURNALIST FAISAL BODI
Subsequent to the alert of 9th February 2002, we have received many requests for a copy of the actual letter sent by the MCB to The Guardian. Our apologies for the delay in sending it out. It follows below. The MCB have every right to disagree with or even complain about what they feel to be inaccuracies in Bodi’s or anyone else’s articles. A more Islamic approach would have been to approach Bodi directly, rather than going behind his back to The Guardian.
In any instance, it is unacceptable that they should undermine and malign Bodi’s integrity with a view to securing his removal from The Guardian. As they state in the final paragraph:
‘In short, we are very disappointed that the Guardian sees fit to give a platform to someone who is intent on abusing his position to maliciously peddle falsehoods and distortions to further a personal agenda.’
There is a difference between complaining that someone is incorrect and stating that he is unfit to hold the position he does. It is even more tragic that Bodi has in recent months been under intense pressure from the Zionist lobby because of his stance on the Palestinian issue. Please continue to ask the MCB to retract the letter. In the best Islamic tradition the MCB should recognise, the mistake that they have made and remedy it Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
24th January 2002
119 Farringdon Road
Re: Faisal Bodi’s articles in your newspaper
I am writing to express concern that Faisal Bodi appears to be using his printed articles in the Guardian as a platform to deliberately malign the Muslim Council of Britain.
a) In his October 22nd article he falsely described the MCB as “unelected”. In fact, our affiliated members directly elect all officers of the MCB every two years. The next elections are due to be held in April 2002. All members of the MCB’s Central Working Committee (CWC) are also elected for 2 year terms and are representatives of Muslim organisations throughout the UK.
b) He also claimed in the same article that “prominent regional organisations have shunned the MCB umbrella”. When I rang him on Oct 22nd 2001 to query this statement and asked him to name these prominent regional organisations he went uncharacteristically silent!
In fact, the MCB has by far more affiliated organisations, mosques and educational institutes –
over 350 to date – than any other Muslim body. No other Muslim organisation in the UK comes close to achieving the MCB’s level of support.
This has evidently caused some resentment among those in our community who would
have liked themselves to be seen as the representatives of mainstream Muslim opinion.
Indeed, when Mr Bodi was involved in a dispute with BBC Radio 4 last year it was the MCB that he called upon to support him!
c) Another allegation in the same article was that, “while [the MCB] condemned the terrorist attacks on September 11, it has not found the same language to describe the US-led war, a stance that has put it out of step with much of the community.” This is wholly untrue and another attempt to misrepresent the MCB. On Oct 9th almost all domestic TV news bulletins led with the news that the MCB had opposed the attack on Afghanistan – in line with mainstream Muslim opinion in the UK. You can see our press release of the same date on our website. The MCB has faithfully represented British Muslim opinion on the war on Afghanistan and the subsequent treatment of the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay.
d) In his November 13th article, Mr Bodi claimed that, “the Muslim Council of Britain even refused to support last month’s national anti-war demonstration because they felt it would alienate the government.” In fact, we had advised all our affiliated organisations to support the anti-war demonstration. Mr Bodi made his allegation without a shred of proof.
e) In today’s paper (January 24th), Mr Bodi says that, “outside the establishment clique of the Muslim Council of Britain the incessant attacks on Muslim life are reinforcing a sense of victimhood that gives rise to acts of political desperation.” Again, Mr Bodi seems intent on misrepresenting the MCB. Just yesterday, our Secretary-General, Mr Yousuf Bhailok said
that, “many people have been horrified at the abhorrent sights they have seen. It
leads to further extremism.” See the BBC news website at:http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_1776000/1776961.stm for
In short, we are very disappointed that the Guardian sees fit to give a platform to someone who is intent on abusing his position to maliciously peddle falsehoods and distortions to further a personal agenda.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala
Secretary, Media Committee,
The Muslim Council of Britain.