Inayat Bunglawala

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Inayat Bunglawala is media secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain. He has written articles for The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Daily Express, The Observer and The Sun focusing on Islam and current affairs. He is an activist for Islamist concerns and joined The Young Muslims UK in 1987. He is also a co-presenter of the weekly 'Politics and Media Show' on the Islam Channel (SKY 813).[1] In October 2009 he registered the domain name Muslims4UK.org.uk,[2] so launching a group which is described as "set up to celebrate the UK's democratic traditions and promote active Muslim engagement in our society".[3] His sister is Shenaz Bunglawala, an Islamic media advocate and researcher.

Work[edit]

Bunglawala's views as media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain are often quoted in the press. He often discusses matters of religion as well as politics.[4]

Tackling Extremism Together[edit]

Despite accusations of anti-Semitism, he was selected as one of seven "conveners" for a Home Office task force with responsibilities for tackling extremism among young Muslims.[5] He rejects these accusations as a "traditional Zionist tactic" aimed to "silence critics of Israel", as he is an outspoken defender of what he considers to be Israeli oppression of Palestinians.[6] Their proposals included:

  • A national Advisory Council of Imams and Mosques: This would: advise mosques on how to prevent them being used by extremists; on how to reduce their reliance on using ministers of religion from abroad; set standards; and increase the cohesion and leadership skills of imams.
  • A national forum against extremism and Islamophobia: This independent initiative would: provide a regular forum for a diverse range of members of the British Muslim community to discuss issues relating to tackling Islamophobia and extremism that impacts on the Muslim community; involve both respected scholars and community activists in addition to others; and have access to Government in order to share outcomes and understandings.
  • A country-wide ‘roadshow’ of influential, populist religious scholars: This would: expound the concept of Islam in the West and condemning extremism.

Bunglawala said: "“Extremism in all of its manifestations is a dangerous affliction that has to be tackled in a forthright manner. We believe that this proposal of a National Forum against Extremism and Islamophobia will provide a platform for Muslim communities around the country to openly discuss their concerns about the activities of extremists and Islamophobes and to also work in partnership with the authorities in helping build a safer society for all of us. One of our additional key objectives is to make it easier for young Muslims to obtain access to mainstream Islamic teachings in the English language which robustly oppose extremist ideology and their malignant misinterpretation of Islam”.[citation needed]

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said in response: "I am grateful to the working groups for drawing up such constructive ideas. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with Muslim communities and supporting the work that they are undertaking.”[7]

Political Views[edit]

  • Bunglawala has commented that many Muslims believed the UK's involvement in wars against Afghanistan and Iraq were a "key contributory factor in the radicalisation" of some young Muslims, but added: "extremists often paint a very unfair picture of the West. We all benefit from freedoms and opportunities here that are not exactly plentiful in many Muslim countries."[8]
  • He has been a strong critic of U.S. foreign policy, saying: "The US government needs to demonstrate that it is prepared to be more even-handed in its relations with Muslims and Muslim countries."[9] Regarding the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib by U.S. soldiers, he said: "I think this type of activity by U.S. forces will only further anger the Muslim population of Iraq."[10]

Controversies[edit]

He opposes the banning of Hizb ut-Tahrir under the new UK anti-terror laws.[11] Bunglawala considers Ahmed Yassin to be an important Islamic scholar and he opposes the Muslim Association of Britain's removal from the Muslim Council.[12]

In January 1993, Bunglawala wrote a letter to Private Eye, a satirical magazine, in which he called Omar Abdel-Rahman "courageous".[citation needed] After Rahman's arrest on charges of masterminding the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in July that year, Mr Bunglawala guessed that it was only because of his "calling on Muslims to fulfil their duty to Allah and to fight against oppression and oppressors everywhere". Five months before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bunglawala also circulated writings of Osama bin Laden, whom he called a "freedom fighter", to hundreds of Muslims in Britain, but stated later on that he no longer views him this way. [5][13] He strongly objects to the use of the phrase "Islamic terrorism," and prefers that Osama bin Laden is described not as an "Islamic" or "Islamist" terrorist, but as an "international" one.[14]

On December 13, 2008, Bunglawala was taken into custody following a violent confrontation at his home with an intruder, who was stabbed during the early-morning scuffle. On March 17, 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service said they would not take any action against Bunglawala.[15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bunglawala, Inayat (27 March 2008). "Comment is free profile". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Bunglawala, Inayat (21 October 2009). "Stand tall against the extremists". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Inayat Bunglawala Profile". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Reflections on Ramadan". BBC. November 25, 2003. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Alasdair Palmer (2005-08-21). "Top job fighting extremism for Muslim who praised bomber". London: The Daily Telegraph,. 
  6. ^ New sources inflame an old hatred, The Age, January 3, 2004
  7. ^ "Tackling Extremism Together: Working groups report back to Home Secretary". The Home Office. 
  8. ^ "Politics | Muslims 'must root out extremism'". BBC News. 2006-07-04. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  9. ^ ThinkExist.com Quotations. "Inayat Bunglawala quotes". Thinkexist.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  10. ^ ThinkExist.com Quotations. "Inayat Bunglawala quotes". Thinkexist.com. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  11. ^ Banned Groups Unpopular, Move Ineffective: UK Activist, by Ahmad Maher, IOL Staff, Islamonline.net, July 18, 2006
  12. ^ John Ware on Muslim Council of Britain, transcript of an interview with Mr Ware on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC News, July 14, 2005
  13. ^ Muslim leaders accuse BBC of witch hunt, by Martin Bright, The Observer, August 21, 2005
  14. ^ Terror & Denial[dead link], Book Review by Daniel Johnson, Commentary Magazine, 2006
  15. ^ Crown Prosecution Service Says There is No Case Against Inayat!, Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, 17th March 2009
  16. ^ Mail smears Inayat Bunglawala, Islamophobia Watch, 15th March 2009