Refuting smears against MPACUK

A refutation of the smears against the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, UK

Introduction .....................................................................................................................................................1 On Anti-Semitism ...........................................................................................................................................2 On Posting Anti-Semitic Material ..................................................................................................................2 On Holocaust Denial ......................................................................................................................................3 On Extremism.................................................................................................................................................4 On Being Non Muslim ....................................................................................................................................5 On The Rochdale Campaign (General Election 2005) ...............................................................................5 References .....................................................................................................................................................6

Introduction
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) is UK’s leading Muslim pressure group and civil rights lobby. Amongst some of its major aims is to urge the Muslims in the United Kingdom to embrace civil rights such as voting and political participation in order to make their interests heard. MPACUK also campaigns for a fairer and more balanced UK foreign policy, especially towards Muslim countries. More specifically MPACUK was against the Iraq war and works towards freeing the occupied territories of Palestine from Israeli control. Although both stated aims seem fairly uncontroversial, because of such a stance MPACUK has placed itself in direct opposition to two major groups. The first is a sizable block within the Muslim community that believes that political participation of any kind is against the basic tenants of Islam. The second is the pro-Israeli lobby that is continuously irritated by the reasonable way in which MPACUK campaigns for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Middle East. As a result of this, not only has MPACUK accrued some powerful enemies, it is on the receiving end of continuous smear attacks designed to undermine its credibility marginalise its opinion in the mainstream of the country. The following document attempts to set the record straight by addressing each of these smears in turn. Whilst it would be difficult to change the opinion of someone who has fully embraced all false allegations against MPACUK, it is our hope that a person of a neutral view will be convinced of the good work that the organisation undertakes and agrees that MPACUK is a much needed addition to the current political and social scene.

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On Anti-Semitism
MPACUK’s stance on anti-Semitism and hatred towards a group of people simply because of their religious belief or racial background is clear and unambiguous. This stance is best summarised by a quote from their official website: “Anti-Semitism like Islamophobia and Racism is an appalling and horrid attempt at discriminating and demonising a community because of their race or religion. We deplore such acts without reservation. There is no place for such a point of view in society today. We go one step further in fighting such discrimination, by asking the government of this country to make such acts illegal.”

Despite a clear and unequivocal position, opponents of MPACUK have continuously attempted to label the organisation as “anti-Semitic”. This is a tactic routinely used by the pro-Israeli lobby. A source continuously cited for this allegation is a document written by Michael Whine of Community Security Trust (CST). The CST is an overwhelmingly proIsraeli organisation and is clearly not a neutral party and this point is hardly noted when such allegations are made. The CST is to yet condemn any of the atrocities conducted by the Israeli government. These allegations are seized on by supporters of Israel such as Melanie Phillips and a hardcore following of bloggers in the hope that if a statement is said enough times it may be perceived to be true.

On Posting Anti-Semitic Material
MPACUK’s official website, MPACUK.ORG, is the largest Muslim website in the United Kingdom. This can be confirmed by the publicly available Alexa ranking system. At the time of writing MPACUK.ORG is listed amongst the top 130,000 websites in the world. The reason for its popularity is because it is a vital source for news and views in the Muslim community. Considering its role, it becomes a responsibility of the website to disseminate news no matter how controversial. Publication of such news does not mean in any way that such views are held by the organisation itself. MPACUK.ORG has been accused by Muslim organisations of unfairly attacking Muslims on their website, and similarly pro-Israeli organisations have accused MPACUK.ORG of posting anti-Semitic material on their website. One such accusation is made by the pro-Israeli blog, Harry’s Place. A blogger known by the pseudonym “David Tate” alleges that MPACUK.ORG posted material from the American Free Press. David Tate labels the American Free Press, a weekly newspaper, as anti-Semitic because they allow all manner of organisations to advertise in their classified section. Regardless of whether the American Free Press is anti-Semitic or not, this accusation against MPACUK becomes further diluted by the fact that the article in question was published by 37 other websites including Aljazeerah.info and rense.com. It is worth noting that the article in question was originally taken from rense.com.

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MPACUK maintains a strict policy on the posting of racist or anti-Semitic material, but should such material escape the attention of the website's Chief Editor, we remove any article that is found to be anti-Semitic after it has been reported as such by our readers. To further highlight how anti-Semitism is used to silence any criticism if Israel, we conducted a survey of complaints during the three month period of January-March 2006. We found that over 75% of the complaints received were concerning anti-Semitism when in fact articles were valid criticisms of Israeli Government Policy.

On Holocaust Denial
Of all the accusations, this is perhaps the most bizarre. MPACUK not only accepts that the Holocaust took place, but we also recognise that in the face of overwhelming evidence, personal accounts, and the meticulous records kept by the Nazi regime, to deny such an horrific event is not only evil but highly disingenuous, especially for an organisation that claims to fight injustice and oppression as we do. Unfortunately pro-Israeli lobbyists have an agenda to follow and ignore these facts. They continue to smear MPACUK, one particular instance related to a smear against Asghar Bukhari before he helped found MPACUK. At the time, Mr Bukhari came across numerous instances of political writers and historians who were labelled as “anti-Semitic” for simply being critical of Israeli policies. As a result of the misuse of this term by ProIsraeli lobbyists, Mr Bukhari wrote letters of support to these writers. It was at this time that Mr Bukhari wrote a letter of support to David Irving. Mr Bukhari was unaware of Mr Irving’s reputation on Holocaust denial and upon learning those views Mr Bukhari described his actions as “gravely mistaken”. If Mr Bukhari had known of David Irving's holocaust denial, he would have condemned him and not given him any support. For the recordl, MPACUK and all its members including Asghar Bukhari, recognise that the Holocaust took place and was an horrendous crime against humanity that goes against the teachings in the Holy Qur'an. To further highlight the weakness of this accusation two prominent Jewish campaigners, Tony Greenstein and Mark Elf, have supported MPACUK and also refuted this absurd accusation against MPACUK. Tony Greenstein is a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a member of Jews against Zionism. In a recent article in the Guardian he made reference to the Parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism, particularly to allegations of Holocaust denial made against MPACUK by Mitch Simmons of the Union of Jewish Students, which the Parliamentary report took on board. Tony Greenstein wrote; the parliamentary inquiry took on trust the allegations of Mitch Simmons that the Muslim public affairs committee believes Holocaust-denial material to be "acceptable" - though a cursory search of MPACUK's website demonstrates otherwise: "If anyone denies the Holocaust they are very wrong Holocaust denial is an evil that must be opposed."

This baseless accusation is further proof of how pro-Israeli sympathisers attempt to malign the image of MPACUK or indeed anyone who criticises Israeli Government policies. By falsely using accusations of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial to silence genuine criticism it is the pro-Israeli lobbyists who actually dishonour and insult the memory of those innocent souls who perished in this tragic event.

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On Extremism
MPACUK has been accused of being an “extremist”, “islamist” and “jihadist” 1,2,3 organisation. For the uninitiated, such accusation in essence imply that MPACUK is no more than a Muslim terrorist organisation with an agenda to exterminate non-Muslims and force Islam upon the West. MPACUK has also been accused of plotting to kill and discussing methods to assassinate 4 prominent gay rights activist Peter Thatchell. This is despite the fact that during the 2006 election for leader of the National Union of Students (NUS) MPACUK gave its support to a homosexual candidate. Perhaps the most ridiculous accusation is that MPACUK was planning a terrorist attack th using aeroplanes, in similar style to the Al-Qaeda attacks of 11 September 2001. The 5 journalist Dominic Whiteman accused MPACUK of the following : More worryingly, its private, password-protected discussion forums are the scene now of more sinister exchanges. A colleague just pointed out to me that if today you type MPACUK into a Google Image search, worryingly several privately-taken photographs of planes at British airports appear, taxying within RPG distance of hangars and terminals.

The photos in question were nothing more than pictures of planes taken by a member who had an ambition to be a pilot. The “sinister” password-protected discussion forums are also in fact open to anyone who registers their email account free of charge. Ironically, MPACUK faces contradictory accusations from extremist Muslim organisations that we are mushriks (disbelievers) and murtads (apostates) and hypocrites. Most such attacks are rarely documented, but can be found in postings by extremists on websites. Contrary to a lot of the accusations MPACUK has openly taken a stand against extremists. For example, MPACUK condemned the Danish cartoon protest by Al Ghuraaba, where members taking part in the march advocated the use of violence against western targets. Asghar Bukhari of MPACUK made the following statements on BBC News “The protesters did not represent British Muslims” "The placards and chants were disgraceful and disgusting, Muslims do not feel that way… I condemn them without reservation, these people are less representative of Muslims than the BNP are of the British people." "We believe it [the protest] should have been banned and the march stopped.”

MPACUK also called for the police to arrest those individuals that were carrying violent placards. MPACUK has also encouraged British Muslims to participate fully in the Democratic system by voting in elections, lobbying members of Parliament and campaigning all in a non-violent way.

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On Being Non Muslim
MPACUK is routinely accused of being a “non-Muslim organisation” by extreme elements in the Muslim community. Such accusations route from our open condemnation of the activities conducted by this fringe section of the Muslim community. During the Anti-Danish demonstrations held by Al-Ghuraaba, in which a handful of Al-Ghuraaba members and sympathisers called for the beheading and bombing of Danes, MPACUK were the first organisation to call for the arrest of the demonstrators. As a result we were condemned by members of the Al-Muhajiroon organisation and also accused of being non-Muslims. We are often addressed to as the Munaifiq (Hypocritical) Public Affairs Committee and the Mushriq (Unbelievers) Public Affairs Committee on extremist websites. MPACUK campaigns to ensure that Muslims in the UK are not confined to the sidelines of society but take an active & constructive part in public life. Muslims are encouraged to take part in the democratic process and help shape their future. MPACUK also campaigns for Mosque reform to ensure that Mosque committees are democratically elected and reflective of the congregation rather than being dominated by groups that are usually based on ethnic, tribal and clan affiliations and have no accountability to the congregation. MPACUK want Mosques in the Britain to become centres of the community like in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him. If we succeed in this aim then the Mosques will be more than places of worship, they will serve as youth centres ensuring that impressionable youth do not fall into the wrong crowd, they will promote inter-faith dialogue so that the true and peaceful nature of Islam can be communicated to the wider community and through the Imams they will offer counselling, support and guidance to members of the community. MPACUK has taken action on some of these points and led high profile campaigns to get Women more involved in Mosque affairs particularly getting Women onto Mosque management committees. A Channel 4 documentary showcased MPACUK ’s efforts to get Women access to pray in Mosques. All of MPACUK’s actions are for the betterment of the UK Muslim community and are based on the teachings and examples set to us by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon Him, so this accusation of being non-Muslim is quite baffling and flawed.

On The Rochdale Campaign (General Election 2005)
During the general election 2005, MPACUK campaigned against Rochdale Labour MP, Lorna Fitzsimons. We campaigned against her because of her Zionist views and support for the war on Iraq. During the campaign, MPACUK worked with a group of local Muslims in Rochdale. They produced a leaflet, paid for by MPACUK, that described Ms Fitzsimons as “Jewish”. This was both factually incorrect and could be misconstrued in such a context as a pejorative description. We of course do not accept that being described as “Jewish” (even if it is factually incorrect) is a negative thing. When we learnt of the mistake we asked for all the leaflets to be destroyed, issued an apology and reviewed our process for leaflet production to ensure all the wording is reviewed by MPACUK before printing.

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References
1. 14/09/06, Melanie Phillips Blog Entry, Britain’s jihadi-cons, http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=1330 2. Islamist Recruitment and Anti-Semitism on British Campuses, Michael Whine, Community Security Trust. 2006. http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/RUSI%20Homeland%20Security.doc 3. 02/06/06, Little Green Footballs comments http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20862_MPACUK_We_Hope_Muslims_Will_Rise_Against_the_Tyranny#comments 4. Looking Left, Andy Hilton, http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5028 5. Islamic Caliphate in Britain? Dominic Whiteman http://globalpolitician.com/articleshow.asp?ID=2184&cid=3&sid=74 6. 31/05/07, Tony Greenstein’s comments http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/tony_greenstein/2007/05/vetting_in_practice.html 7. 04/02/06, Muslim leader condemns protesters, BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4676524.stm 8. 30/04/07, MPACUK: Our Jihad against terror shall continue – That’s our promise http://www.mpacuk.org/content/view/3595/34/

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