I know this is repetitive, but I do think it is important that each time disingenuous clap-trap is put out by these so-called "leaders", we do need to expose it for what it is. The MCB is, IMHO, one of the bigger enemies to harmony.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), thinks the Government is stoking the tension.
"There is a disproportionate amount of discussion surrounding us," he says. "The air is thick with suspicion and unease. It is not good for the Muslim community, it is not good for society."
Unfortunately, the MCB is significantly to blame for the level of discussion, creating a "muslim" angle to things that are just not there and constantly seeing the world via the prism of belief.
The 53-year-old special needs teacher has a gentle manner and a quiet voice - he describes himself as a "community spokesman" rather than a "religious leader" - but he does not mince his words.An unelected one, too. If he is not a "religious leader", then why was he at the Cenotaph yesterday?
"Every society has to be really careful so the situation doesn't lead us to a time when people's minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s. If your community is perceived in a very negative manner, and poll after poll says that we are alienated, then Muslims begin to feel very vulnerable. We are seen as creating problems, not as bringing anything and that is not good for any society."
Surely Dr Bari should also consider those within the Muslim community who are poisoning minds to make people consider the general British and wider Western society in a negative manner? Most of the alienation is by so-called religious leaders having an attitude of separatism, of talking up difference. Unfortunately, almost all the good things that could be said to be about Islam are already in British society and culture, so it is not surprising all the differences appear negative.
There is, in his view, no such thing as Islamic terrorism.
"Terrorists are terrorists, they may use religion but we shouldn't say Muslim terrorists, it stigmatises the whole community. We never called the IRA Catholic terrorists." Dr Bari thinks Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, made the extremists' job easier by giving a bleak picture of the threat on the eve of the Queen's Speech.
The DT is being a bit confusing here. I agree that it is not good to use the term "Muslim terrorists", for, although almost all terrorists are Muslim, you cannot reverse the logic. However, the term "Islamic Terrorism" is not invalid. Dr Bari is blame-shifting (again). The point about the IRA is a dud, however, and has been fisked and will be fisked elsewhere.
"I think it is creating a scare in the community and wider society. It probably helps some people who try to recruit the young to terrorism. Muslim young people are as vulnerable as any others. Under this climate of fear they will begin to feel victimised."
Islam in itself does not help - the more someone learns about Islam, the worse it gets. It teaches blind faith, obedience. It makes matters worse. It is extraordinary that Dr Bari can complain about the effects while pushing all the requests for action and most of the blame outside his "community". Another example where Dr Bari might be advised to silence his own dogs, yet systematically fails to do so.
The Prime Minister's plan to increase the length of time terrorist suspects can be detained without trial is also, he believes, misguided.
"Even the police haven't asked for more than 28 days. As far as we know there is no clear evidence of the need for more time."
In this I agree.
Control orders and stop and search powers are further increasing the sense of alienation among Muslims, Dr Bari says, and the Metropolitan Police are not helping matters either.
"There was institutional racism and institutions as massive as the Met find it hard to change. They need more Muslim police officers. I'm not going to use the term trigger happy - sometimes the police can make mistakes - but they need to do their job in a better way."
Dr Bari should look to people in his own community who do alot to create alienation. Another blame shift is in operation here. The Islamic "scholar" world might do well to see how they can change to root out institutional prejudice, but again Dr Bari wants everyone else to change. The Police needs good policemen, not a quota system. It is for Muslims to come forward, not for the Police to proactively pull in more tokenistic Muslims. If you talk to the MCB "leaders", you might also realise that many would consider a good policeman "unislamic" and some may also say they were not really Muslim at all, given the oath they swear and the values they pursue - equality before the law being one!
Sir Salman Rushdie should never have been knighted, he says. "He caused a huge amount of distress and discordance with his book, it should have been pulped."
Apart from this being an outrageous statement of intolerance in itself, it is also hypocracy, was we shall see in a moment. The only "distress and discordance appears to have been caused by the Muslim community whipped up by various "leaders" and factions wanting to exploit the situation for their own ends. Shame on them.
Dr Bari insists he is simply trying to unite disparate communities. "On the one hand we are accused of not engaging, being insular, and on the other hand of being too political. We can't win."
False dichotomy, Dr Bari. You are right about one thing, though, if you keep up your stance you will not win.
The MCB was criticised for boycotting Holocaust Day but he says he did not mean to offend Jewish people: "It should be inclusive, commemorating all massacres."
AFAICT, it does, but that is not what Dr Bari and the MCB want, I suspect.
According to a recent report by the Policy Exchange think-tank, the bookshop at the east London Mosque, which Dr Bari chairs, stocks extremist literature.
"The bookshops are independent businesses," he says. "We can't just go in and tell them what to sell … I will see what books they keep, if they have one book which looks like it is inciting hatred, do they have counter books on the same shelf?"
Here is the hypocracy. On one hand he wants Rushdie's book "pulped", but here he wants books actually inciting hatred left on the shelf. Dr Bari: Hypocrite.
He is more careful about who is allowed to preach in the mosque. "If I hear of a specific preacher who is inciting hatred I will ban him from preaching but I cannot disallow him from praying."
Ban him where? I understood the MCB had no powers over who can preach or speak. Maybe I am wrong. Banning is not just the issue, naming and shaming should help to promote a more sincere stance. I will not hold my breath.
In Dr Bari's view, suicide bombers are victims as well as aggressors. "I deal with emotionally damaged children," he explains. "Children come to hate when they don't get enough care and love. They are probably bullied, it makes a young person angry and vulnerable.
"The extreme case could be suicide bombers, it is all they have … The people who become suicide bombers are really vulnerable."
Islam is a bullying doctrine - submission, "forbidden", "must", but yes, Islamists and such are indeed victims - victims of Islam, and in that Dr Bari is right.
Although he stresses there is no justification for suicide bombing - "killing innocent people is completely forbidden, Islam is very emphatic on that" - he says British foreign policy has driven Muslims into the arms of the extremists.
DING! Here we have it again "killing innocents". The Daily Telegraph should be ashamed to let that one pass. Shame on them and shame on Dr Bari for repeating that meme YET AGAIN. As far as Islamists are concerned, all Westerners are not innocent.
"Criminal people have used that as a weapon to encourage young people, those who don't have any anchor in themselves, [to become suicide bombers]. Iraq has been a disaster, the country has been destroyed for no reason, that had an impact on the Muslim psyche."
Iraq is no excuse, and the damage was already done - the issue of Iraq is just a recent situation. More light could be shed if the topic of US forces on Saudi soil was raised. It will allow more understanding of the issues, if you ask me. Pandering to the meme of Iraq causing terrorism is just lame, Dr Bari.
His passion is to integrate Muslim and British cultures - he says integration must go both ways.
"Everybody can learn from everyone. Some of the Muslim principles can help social cohesion - family, marriage, raising children with boundaries, giving to the poor, not being too greedy."
What is uniquely "Muslim" about "family, marriage, raising children with boundaries, giving to the poor and not being greedy" for heavens sake? I'll tell you: nothing. It is absurd to talk of such things via the prism of Islam. I mean what on EARTH does this guy think he is saying? The ARROGANCE that Islam has ANYTHING to add in terms of such things to British culture is astonishing, laughable. Dr Bari is not stupid, but as we know intelligence + ignorance = arrogance. Just because people forget or lose their culture and history (no thanks to the Sociofascists, who love the idea of a feckless, rootless, ignorant rabble to control like clay) does not mean that such values are not part of the culture or generally held. It certainly does not mean that Islam can "teach" the British anything of value.
British people could, in his view, benefit from arranged marriages. "I prefer to call them assisted marriages," he says.
Dr Bari seems a bit demented. Maybe it is a cry for an "assisted suicide"? Stop your disingenuous words, Dr Bari - many people have "assisted marriages" via friends, relatives, social groups and all manner of ways, but this is not what is being discussed when many people talk pejoratively about "arranged marriage", now is it?
"Marriage should not be forced on people but parents can be a catalyst … Young people are emotional, they want idealism. Older people have gone through all sorts of things and become a bit more experienced. A child will always want to eat chocolate but if he does then he will become fat. He needs to be given things that are good for him too."
If it should not be forced, maybe you could speak out about the hothousing, whisking away in isolation, deadlines etc. etc. and especially of the practice of marrying cousins. No, all you want to do is selectively talk of the benefits and quietly ignore the brutal and unforgivable aspects. Shame on you Dr Bari - some "leader" you are!
"Alcohol is the worst drug long-term," he says, and adds that the Government should consider banning drinking in public places, as it has done with smoking.
Dr Bari wonders why many people consider "muslim community leaders" irritating and damaging to our culture, wanting to impose their hatstand views on us all. Here it is. I have news for you Dr Bari, two pieces, actually. 1- the worst drug is religion, with Islam being at the Crack end of the market. 2- even the Koran does not say alcohol is "haram"/forbidden, but lets not let a good chance to control the population slip by, eh? He'll be calling for a banning of dogs around Mosques, next.
Dr Bari believes Britain would benefit from a little more morality: "Religion has principles that can help society … Sex before marriage is unacceptable in Islam … On adultery and living together we should try to go back to the religiously informed style of life that helps society"
Religion does not have a monopoly on morality. All it did, if anything, was codify existing morals. Further, any "morality" of benefit that Islam contains already exists in British culture. Islam and Islamists are past masters and trying to "brand" things as being "Islamic", as if it only exists because of Islamic teaching. The meme needs to be fought constantly and exposed for the poisonous, self-serving lie that it is.
Abortion should also be made more difficult. "By the time a foetus is 12 weeks old our religion says that the child has got a spirit." Homosexuality is "unacceptable from the religious point of view".
Dr Bari is being vague - just how "more difficult"? Having seen my own son at 13 weeks, it is difficult to consider the little mite as being without spirit - he sure gave the Sonographer the runaround, the little monkey. However, I will not stand for a medaeval made-up religion to rule or influence the law on such things. On Homosexuality, Dr Bari slithers away. It must be understood that in Islam, little, if at all, about ones entire existence can be considered as not "religious" - it is totalitarian. Such a view put forward by Dr Bari might seem "ok" to many with a secular/pluralist and CoE outlook, but Dr Bari is just fobbing off those people here, taking them for fools and he knows it. I know it too. Disingenuous, Dr Bari.
Is stoning ever justified? "It depends what sort of stoning and what circumstances," he replies. "When our prophet talked about stoning for adultery he said there should be four [witnesses] - in realistic terms that's impossible. It's a metaphor for disapproval."
Dr Bari tries to hop around the truth table hoping nobody sees the glaring holes in his attempt at logic. Dr Bari fails miserably, and we now have the leader of the MCB clearly accepting, if not condoning, the concept of stoning as a valid form of punishment. He wonders why the community is regarded with negativity when he comes out with medaeval, barbaric viewpoints such as this. From your own mouth, Dr Bari.
There should be more modesty too. "You shouldn't be revealing your body so much that it can be tempting to other people. I hope my daughter wouldn't wear a bikini but I also hope she wouldn't wear a burka."
If Dr Bari is not attempting to excuse molestation, assault and rape then I am unlikely to get a cigarette paper between his position and that stance. What is this "shouldn't"? Who is he to dictate to women and simultaneously imply excuse. A woman in revealing clothing is no excuse for the disgraceful behaviour of men. Dr Bari clearly accepts and justifies that all men are adolescents in mens bodies - beyond self control. Dr Bari does not mention hijab - I suspect he will want, no, demand his daughter cover her head...like he does...only with a scarf and not a hunk of coconut matting.
Dr Bari runs guidance courses for parents of all faiths. "Children are like plants, if you don't look after them they will grow wild and weeds can come in." The same is true of Britain, he says. "There is plenty of freedom in Western society but boundaries are sometimes hard to see."If you treat people like vegetables, then of course problems occur. The solution is for people to be responsible for their actions and not be infantilised or treated like plants - with regular doses of manure from above.
Dr Bari, as ever, disappointing and his own community's enemy.