Should the Home Office “engage” with the lobby group Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend)? It is a question that often preoccupies counterextremism officials. My investigation into Mend should convince them: not yet.
The dilemma arises because Mend increasingly has reach within Muslim communities and is now the dominant campaigning voice against government programmes to counter violent and non-violent extremism. Islamophobia is probably increasing, but Mend’s claim that Britain might “already be close” to creating the same conditions for Muslims that led to the Holocaust is preposterous. Its statistical projections are based on questionable methodology and the unspoken message from its videos about Islamophobia is: “You do know the state hates you, don’t you?”
Nor does Mend’s claim that the government’s Prevent programme is “state-sponsored Islamophobia” survive scrutiny. There are legitimate concerns, but when critics are asked what should replace Prevent, something very like Prevent is often the answer. The state also now firmly confronts Islamophobia, as it should.
[TOP RATED COMMENT 131 votes] …. please explain why they wish to live here at all? Their creed teaches the perfect way to organise society (not a good way, the perfect way).
So why do they not wish to live in one of the many countries organised in this perfect way? Those countries must be absolutely terrific. Unlike our country which is run on quite different lines, with no polygamy, capital punishment, death for apostatesetc.`
[2ND 93] I do not see either Mend or Cage cleaning up their acts and they will continue to promote their devisive influence on integration of Muslims into British society and undermining British values.
[3RD 85] …. integrated Muslims don’t need a MEND. Radical Muslim groups, however, are very happy to jump on any bandwagon that will fill their coffers, especially from public funds. Naive politicians created this problem and naive politicians are nurturing its expansion.
[4TH 70] The problem is surely in part the mendacious attitudes shown by too many of these groups – this was an issue with Tell Mama back in 2013; they have since been ‘rehabilitated’ and seem to be viewed as a credible source by the media and government once again.
Arguably the greatest problem is the desire in certain quarters to Balkanize our society – why should there (and how could there) be a single group to represent a bloc of society?
Who is the authentic Muslim voice? Who speaks for Chinese British? Do Black British people simply become an amorphous blob and cease to identify as being from Africa or the Caribbean? Which group represents me as an early thirties white male from the West Country?
The notion of ‘community’ spokesmen should by now have been utterly discredited and yet the press and authorities seem to persist with this noxious fantasy which serves to empower odious individuals who too often should never have been given a platform. [The Times (£)] Read more