Muslim Association of Britain

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Muslim Association of Britain
Abbreviation MAB
Formation November 1997, UK
Type Non-profit organization
Purpose/focus dedicated to serving society through promoting Islam in its spiritual teachings, ideological and civilising concepts, and moral and human values—all placed in the service of humanity
Headquarters London, England
Location United Kingdom
Website Muslim Association of Britain

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) is a British Islamic organisation founded in 1997. MAB has been well known for its participation in the protests opposing the Iraq war.

According to its website, it is "dedicated to serving society through promoting the correct understanding of Islam with its spiritual teachings, ideological and civil concepts, and moral and human values—all placed in the service of humanity". The current president is Dr Omer El-Hamdoon. It is inspired by Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna.[1]

Anti-war activities[edit]

Along with Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, it has co-sponsored various demonstrations against the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. MAB first started working with the StWC in 2002 when they agreed to join together a demonstration they had planned to mark the anniversary of the Second Palestinian Intifada with a demonstration StWC had planned against the looming Iraq war at the opening of the Labour party. The march took place under the dual slogans 'Don't attack Iraq' and 'Freedom for Palestine'.[2] According to Altikriti, MAB ‘spoke to Stop the War and we said to them, we will join you; however we will not become part of your coalition, we will be a separate and independent entity but we will work together with you on a national basis as part of the anti-war movement’.[3] This reassured MAB that it would not ‘melt into that big coalition’ [4] that was known to be led by the Left. They would remain a distinct and autonomous bloc, able to shape the agenda. Altikriti and others in the MAB leadership were working to persuade members that collaboration with non-Muslim anti-war activists was halal (religiously permissible) and that it was within the remit of their organisation. Their argument was that, if gender-segregated spaces and halal food could be provided at meetings, demonstrations and other events, then Muslims could participate in the anti-war movements without being assimilated.[5] Moreover, they defined limits to joint action: making it clear that, while they could overcome misgivings about sharing platforms with some groups (such as socialists and atheists), they could never do so with others (Zionists and Israelis in particular).[6]

In the end, the fatal blow to MAB’s partnership with StW did not come from a fear that political or religious identity would be diluted. Rather, some within MAB felt that the organisation’s anti-war activities had pitted it too publicly and forcefully against the British establishment, taking it away from what they considered its primary purposes—religious and cultural.

Political endorsements[edit]

It encourages its members to vote certain ways in elections—it supported Labour's Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London, Respect in London and the Green Party of England and Wales in South East England. In 2004, its president Anas al-Tikriti stood down to become a European election candidate for Respect in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. He was not elected.

Since Muslims currently make up more than 10% of the local population in 40 political seats, the Muslim Association of Britain believes Muslim voters can influence the results in 40 seats.

Political views[edit]

Though Muslims with British Citizenship have increasingly politicised their religious identities, there remain many different ways to be a political Muslim. Some prefer to keep their religion private, others to work primarily through other identities and/or organisations – approaching politics as socialists, Asians or Bangladeshis, for instance, and/or as British citizens, Welsh or Scottish nationals, Londoners or Liverpudlians.[7]

The MAB expresses its deep concerns about the proposed shift in counter terrorism policy as revealed by Vikram Dodd in the Guardian on Tuesday.[8] The Contest 2 proposals seem to herald a shift in the definition of extremists away from those who are intent on breaking the law of this land to those who hold views that clash with ideas of ‘shared British values’.[9]

"We call upon the Muslims in Britain to stick to their authentic belief and value systems with its richness and its many diverse schools of thoughts and denominations, and to recognise the need to be vigilant towards the following:

  • To ensure that all Muslims in Britain remain proud of their faith, and to recognise that according to Islamic values it is our obligation, indeed our duty to protect Britain from terrorism and extremism irrespective of its source of origin.
  • To ensure that Muslims in Britain abide by the rules and the laws of the land. This does not mean that we should allow bullying from any source to target our faith or its recognised school of thoughts. Thus, every individual of the Muslim community in Britain must cherish its school of thought whether it is conservative or not, with the provision that there must always be respect for the laws and rules of the land.
  • The Muslim community in Britain should be in the forefront of the fight against terrorist action irrespective of the position of the government of the day. However zealots come in all shapes; sizes – they are people of faith and no faith – Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, without faith, nationalists, liberals etc…..

We categorically denounce any attempt to bully or to stigmatise the Muslim community in Britain or any attempt at alienating British Muslims who have not breached the law of the land".

Said Ferjani – Head of Policy & PR[9]

Reaction to 2005 London bombings[edit]

MAB condemned the 7 July 2005 London bombings and joined the StWC in holding a vigil for the victims at the Peace Garden in Euston, London on Saturday, 9 July 2005 and a further solidarity gathering at Russell Square, close to one of the Underground stations targeted, on Sunday, 17 July 2005.[10]

Other[edit]

In 2005, the MAB took control of Finsbury Park Mosque and expelled followers of the extremist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri whom they accused of "promoting hatred".[11]

The MAB opposed the US extradition request for Babar Ahmad, a UK IT specialist who has been accused of setting up websites which urged Muslims to "kill the Americans and their allies-civilians".[10][12][13][14]

Footnotes[edit]

MAB Responds To Vile Attack, Islamic Human Rights Commission, 13 August 2004

References[edit]

  1. ^ M. Kortmann, K. Rosenow-Williams (ed.), Islamic Organizations in Europe and the USA A multidiciplinary perspective, (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), p. 206
  2. ^ Unity with MAB, in Stop the War: The story of Britain's biggest mass movement, Andrew Murray and Lindsey German, ISBN 1-905192-00-2 P. 81-89
  3. ^ 2008 Institute of Race Relations Vol. 50(2): 101–113
  4. ^ Alladin Fida, MAB, NB, 16/5/07.
  5. ^ Shahed Yunus, founding member of Bangla 2000, JI, 08/03 2007.
  6. ^ Osama Saeed, MAB/SNP, NB, 23 February 2007.
  7. ^ J. Eade, T. Vamplew and C. Peach, ‘Bangladeshis: the encapsulated community’, in C. Peach (ed.), The Ethnic Minority Populations of Britain, Vol. 2: ethnicity in the 1991 census (London, HMSO, 1996), pp. 150–160.
  8. ^ Anti-terror code ‘would alienate most Muslims’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/feb/17/counterterrorism-strategy-muslims).
  9. ^ a b "MAB denounce alienation of the Muslim Community in UK | MAB – Muslim Association Of Britain". Mabonline.net. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Anti-war vigil attracts hundreds, BBC, 17 July 2005
  11. ^ Casciani, Dominic (7 February 2006). "UK | The battle for the mosque". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  12. ^ MAB Publication
  13. ^ US DOJ indictment[dead link]
  14. ^ Whitlock, Craig (8 August 2005). "Washington Post". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 

External links[edit]