The dispute has now moved to a new level with Daud Abdullah threatening legal action against Blears as Secretary of State. Blear’s department is not backing down, it has released this statement:
“We have received correspondence from Dr Daud Abdullah’s solicitors.
“We have been in dialogue with the MCB since the 6 March seeking clarification of the actions taken by Dr Abdullah in relation to the serious issues raised by the articles in the Istanbul Declaration. We are concerned with those articles which appear to call for violence and Dr Abdullah’s repeated unwillingness to distance himself from those articles specifically.
“The legal route that Dr Abdullah has chosen to take despite our offer of further private dialogue with the MCB to resolve the matter means this will now be taken forward by solicitors.” It is all too easy to be cynical about politicians. But when it comes to the issue of Islamism, Hazel Blears has consistently taken a principled line even when it costs her politically. She is the embodiment of the decent left. It is just a pity she has so few allies on her side of the political divide.