Muslim Association of Britain

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Muslim Association of Britain
Abbreviation MAB
Formation November 1997, UK
Type Non-profit organization
Purpose 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 Muslim 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". It also states "MAB works to build and sustain hope by encouraging Muslims to participate proactively in the British Society, to make the most of the many legitimate avenues available and to function positively to become fruitful citizens of the UK."

The current president is Dr Omer El-Hamdoon and the vice-president is Mohammad Kozbar.

Aims of MAB

The Muslim Association of Britain has eleven aims. These are:

1) To promote knowledge of Islam, and invite to Islam with wisdom and good counsel.

2) To spread Islamic knowledge, and deepen Islamic understanding among the Muslim minority.

3) To work to tend to the welfare of the Muslim minority in issues of concern like worship, education and others.

4) To defend human rights in general, and rights of Muslims in particular.

5) to cultivate awareness among Muslims of their responsibilities towards the society in which they live.

6) To empower the Muslim minority to take a role in solving the different problems of society.

7) To coordinate and cooperate with other bodies without contravening the aims of the Association.

8) To widen the dialogue with other cultures and faiths, in the service of society and humanity.

9) to achieve comprehensive formation of members according to the curriculum of the Association.

10) To make the role of the Muslim woman effective in the family and society.

11) To be concerned with teaching the Arabic language.

MAB's Vision, Slogan and Motto

The Muslim Association of Britain's Vision is an extension of their acronym: MAB

Muslims At their Best.

Their slogan: Building Society...Creating Hope.

And their motto: “I want not but betterment and reform to the best of my ability; and my success is but from Allah.” [1] (Words of Prophet Shuaib)[2] Recently, MAB have been using the tag Muslims At their Best to reflect what it sees is 'a drive for excellence.'[3]

Anti-war activities

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'.[4] 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’.[5] This reassured MAB that it would not ‘melt into that big coalition’ [6] 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.[7] 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).[8]

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.

Anwar al-Awlaki

In late 2002, Muslim Association of Britain organized a speaking tour in the UK for Anwar al-Awlaki,[9] This was part of a tour of Britain, from London to Aberdeen, as part of a campaign by the Muslim Association of Britain in which one lecture was held in conjunction with the London School of Economics, Imperial College, King’s College and the School of Oriental and African Studies – all part of the University of London. MAB organised this tour prior to Anwar Al-Awlaki's being linked directly to any terror group. In fact, Anwar Al-Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon for lunch. [10] [11]

Political endorsements

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, in the 2015 elections.

Reaction to 2005 London bombings

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.[12]

'Who is Muhammad?' Campaign

MAB launched a campaign of 'Who is Muhammad?'. This initiative came in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo affair with terrorist acts committed in Paris in January 2015, which sparked the consequent re-emergence of the discussion on freedom of speech and satirical depictions, especially religious-affiliated ones of for example Jesus, Muhammad and the Pope. The campaign was set out to inform British society about why Muslims generally find inspiration in Muhammad and discusses misconceptions about him. One of MAB's aims were to invite people of all backgrounds to ask questions and have a reasoned debate in a multicultural society that chooses to peacefully and respectfully live with each other.

MAB in Press - Example of the Charlie Hebdo Affair

Since the 7th of January 2015, MAB was at the forefront commenting on affairs related to Charlie Hebdo; extremism, freedom of speech and the satirical depiction of Mohammad.

First, it condemned the attacks in France and quickly published a Press Release. To read it, click here.

In the awakening of the debate of free speech, the President of the Muslim Association of Britain, Dr Omer El-Hamdoon wrote his personal reflections in the article 'Je Ne Suis Pas Un Hyprocite' (I Am Not A Hyprocrite). You can read his contributions here.

In the 'Battle for British Islam', Panorama drew a picture of Muslim communities in the UK and explored different views on the link of freedom of speech and extremism. Beside free speech and extremism, President Omer El-Hamdoon commented on democracy, apostasy and more. Please watch the clip here.

In response to Panorama's show and sharing his ideas on the diversity of Muslims, Khalil Charles, wrote the article 'The Battle for British Islam - Who Speaks for British Muslims and Is There a Crisis of Leadership.'

MAB appeared on different radio stations and spoken out against the concept of 'absolute' freedom of speech. "What should prevail here is considerations for others...", was the statement of President Omer El-Hamdoon.

BBC 5 LIVE - 7th of January 2015

BBC 5 LIVE - 13th of January 2015

MAB also made some television appearances and presented its views.

BBC Arabic - Paris Shooting.

Al-Jazeera English - Paris Peace March.

London Live - Dr Omer El-Hamdoon does not support the distribution of Charlie Hebdo's images of Mohammad.

CNN NEWS - Prophet Mohammad now on 'Charlie Hebdo' cover

BBC News Channel - Discussion on Charlie Hebdo publishing offensive cartoons.

Event with Tariq Ramadan and Anas Altikriti: The Future for Muslims in Britain

On 11 March 2015, MAB lead a successful event, a discussion with Professor Tariq Ramadan and Dr Anas Altikriti. The topic was on 'The Future for Muslims in Britain' and there was an opportunity for people to engage in conversations with the speakers.

Some interesting points were raised, such as: "I would suggest on the political level we are suffering a deep, deep crisis. Whether it be in democracy as an idea or as a practice, a vehicle to deliver that particular idea, or whether it be within the system itself. It is the nitty, gritty - the mechanics of how politics work. We are now in the midst of governments or our own governments; they cannot bring itself to think beyond the next General Election. Political short-termism is a chronic problem that we need to resolve. How is it possible to create, to invent, bring to the light, courageous and brave politicians who do not care about whether that will cost them with that particular stand, a principled statement; whether it will cost them votes in the next General Election or not. That's the challenge." - Dr Anas Altikriti

"...but in order to be positive within society, you will have to be clear on your principles...however one thing is important, we have to prioritise and not to let some of the details take, in the name of some of the details, [referring to following religious law as he answers someone from the audience about shaking hands with the opposite sex]; we end up doing nothing. So first, understand your religion - take a position. You don't want to do it [shake hands], don't do it but don't forget the prioritise. So try to find a way where you are protecting yourself but you get to do the job. But at the end; because you don't shake hands, to disappear from the society, that is wrong. This is forgetting the priorities in the name of the details." - Professor Tariq Ramadan


There was a lot of media presence and the event was among some others filmed by Al-Jazeera. You can find the video soon on MAB's YouTube Channel. [13]

Other

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".[14]

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".[12][15][16][17]

In May 2014, MAB condemned the kidnappings of school girls by Boko Haram. [18]The Association produces a monthly video cast which outlines the activities of the Association in the previous 30 days. The videocasts are screened on the dedicated YouTube Channel [19] and linked to the Association's website. [20]

Footnotes

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

References

External links