James Forsyth

The government caves in to the Muslim Council of Britain

The government caves in to the Muslim Council of Britain
Text settings

The government has caved in its dispute with the Muslim Council of Britain. The government broke off relations with the group over its deputy director-general Daud Abdullah signing the Istanbul Declaration. Indeed, Daud Abdullah even instigated legal action against the then Communities Secretary Hazel Blears over her statements about what the declaration called for.

But now Stephen Pollard is reporting that the government is bringing the MCB back in. A DCLG spokesperson tells Pollard that an MCB commitment to examine “their internal processes and ensure that the personal actions of all members, including senior leaders, remain true to the organisation's agreed policies, avoiding a repeat of the issues which arose after one member signed the Istanbul Declaration...has led to the Government lifting the suspension of its formal relationship with that organisation.” Crucially, though, Daud Abdullah’s signature does not appear to have been taken off the document.

Pollard is reporting that the return of the MCB is part of a deal over changes to the law on universal jurisdiction aimed at preventing a repeat of the situation which occurred late last year where an arrest warrant was issued for the former Israeli foreign minister and leader of Kadima Tzipi Livni ahead of a planned visit to the UK.

There is as yet no word from the Tories on this decision. But Paul Goodman, who was until the end of this year the Tory spokesman on these issues, has slammed the decision as “appeasement of extremists by a bunch of politicians scared witless of losing their seats.”

One thing to watch for is whether the MCB attends Holocaust Memorial Day this year. If it doesn’t, it will highlight just how wrong-headed the government’s decision is.