Allen Esterson has pointed out to me some interesting letters in the Independent lately. On Wednesday for instance, this one from Dr Shaaz Mahboob, among others:
Most secular Muslims are not members of any of the leading religious groups, nor do they follow religion with strict enough vigour which would allow them to be considered for membership of any of the leading so-called Muslim representative groups such as Muslim Council of Britain or its affiliates. Secular Islam in Britain is feeling marginalised. Without adequate platforms it is being ignored by both the media and the Government.
All that MCB and other hard-line Islamic organisations are doing is taking advantage of the lack of leadership from within the secular majority of Muslims. They tend to “Islamicise” every single issue that is faced by ordinary Muslims, thereby diverting the attention from the real core social issues. The latter include failed integration, due to self-imposed segregation by community elders hell-bent on maintaining the cultural customs that they brought with them at the time of migration to Britain. Other problems are purely economic, such as unemployment and obstacles faced by Muslim women joining mainstream careers.
For successful integration of both Muslims and Islam into the British society, the voice of modern, moderate and secular Muslims needs to be heard and brought into the mainstream.
And today this from Raza Griffiths along with several more:
As someone from a Muslim background, I find the Muslim Council of Britain’s defence of its right to promote its illiberal views by reference to freedom of speech somewhat disingenuous. Not very long ago many of its members openly supported the murder of Salman Rushdie because he had criticised Islam. The vast majority of Muslims who are moderate now need to move beyond the MCB, which is bringing Islam into disrepute and exacerbating the negative stereotypes that Muslims have to endure.
Keep at it, epistolarists. Keep chipping away at the stupid idea that all Muslims and people from a Muslim background share the ‘illiberal views’ of the MCB. It might sink in some day.