The Muslim Council of Britain has set up an investigation into mosques, women’s organisations and Islamic youth centres across the country to root out extremism.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the council, told The Independent that the council, which has more than 400 affiliates and is the most powerful Muslim body in the country, had set up the focus groups to locate and combat the terrorist threat. Its early findings will be revealed in a national conference in September, he said.
The move comes amid allegations that the council is failing mainstream Muslims and has its roots in extremist politics. Sir Iqbal dismissed the reports of alleged extremist links as “absolute nonsense”.
Sir Iqbal, who was knighted this year and is regarded by the government as the voice of moderate Islam, said the efforts to discredit the organisation were born from an “Islamophobic agenda”. A report in The Observer claimed yesterday that Sir Iqbal and the council’s spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, had expressed admiration for the late Maulana Maududi, the founder of the Jamaat-i-Islami party, which is an elected religious party in Pakistan.
Sir Iqbal defended Mawdudi, saying he had a huge following among the Muslim intelligentsia. “We agree with many of his views and disagree with some. The Jamaat-i-Islami party happens to be a perfectly legitimate and democratic party, which through an alliance with other parties, is in power in the North-west Frontier province of Pakistan,” he said.
I’d like to see him specify on exactly which points he agrees, and on which he disagrees, with Maududi.