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Muslim Association of Britain

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) is a British Sunni Muslim organisation founded in 1997. MAB has been well known for its participation in the protests opposing the Iraq war. More recently, it has been known for promoting Muslim participation in Britain.[1][2]

Muslim Association of Britain
AbbreviationMAB
FormationNovember 1997, UK
TypeNon-profit organisation
HeadquartersLondon, England
Location
  • United Kingdom
Parent organization
Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe
Websitewww.mabonline.net

It is a member organisation of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE).[3]

The newly elected president in 2018 is Anas Altikriti, who is the CEO and founder of The Cordoba Foundation.[4] Prior to him, Dr Omer El-Hamdoon headed the organisation for six and a half years.

VisionEdit

The vision of the Muslim Association of Britain is: "Muslims At Their Best."[5]

Anti-war activitiesEdit

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'.[6] 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’.[7]

Muslim Brotherhood tiesEdit

The group is reported to have had direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a proscribed terrorist group in the UK. In the past, MAB openly identified itself as an Islamist movement. In MAB's Inspire newspaper, produced for the 28 September 2002 anti-war demonstration, an article on the MAB's “Historical Roots and Background” links it explicitly to the Islamist tradition of the Muslim Brotherhood. At the UK Stop the War Coalition conference in January 2003, the Alliance for Workers Liberty moved a motion to dissociate from MAB. A MAB speaker, replying, said that MAB was proud to be associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.[8] Anas Altikriti replying in The Times (17 August 2004) to allegations that MAB is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood described MAB as “an independent British organisation” but admitted “links” with the Brotherhood, which he described as follows: “Links with others extend simply to shared ideas, values and expertise, in which the Brotherhood is indeed rich, with around eight decades of experience.”[9]

According to Paul Goodman in The Telegraph, MAB's founder Dr Kamal Helbawy admitted in 2005 “to still being a member of the Brotherhood and has been denied entry to America. It has also been alleged that Dr Azzam Tamimi, its leader, issued communiqués on behalf of Hamas during the 1990s. His views on suicide bombing are unambiguous. Asked if he would carry out such an attack in Israel, he said: ‘Sacrificing myself for Palestine is a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.’”[10]

Political endorsementsEdit

It encourages its members to vote certain ways in elections—it supported Labour's Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London,[11] Respect in London[12] 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.[13] He was not elected.

Reaction to 2005 London bombingsEdit

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.[14]

Other activitiesEdit

In late 2002, the Muslim Association of Britain organised a speaking tour in the UK for Anwar al-Awlaki, including events at the London School of Economics, Imperial College, King’s College and the School of Oriental and African Studies.[15] Al-Awlaki was later killed in a drone strike by the United States.

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".[16]

The MAB opposed the US extradition request for Babar Ahmad, a UK IT specialist[17] who was accused of operating websites which offered support to the then Taliban government in Afghanistan.[18]

In May 2014, MAB condemned the kidnappings of school girls by Boko Haram.[19]

In November 2014, the organisation was listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates.[20] MAB expressed "total and utter condemnation" at this action.[21] It further challenged the UAE government to produce any evidence to support its claim, which it has yet[when?] to do.

In early 2015, MAB’s vice president, Mohammed Kozbar, urged the government to acknowledge that British foreign policy is a contributing factor to radicalism and that marginalising and criminalising young British Muslims is actually more likely to push them towards terrorist groups like ISIS.[22]

On 27 February 2016 MAB joined the CND rally against Trident.[23][24]

2015 Government reportEdit

In 2014, a classified UK Government Review into the Muslim Brotherhood commissioned by then Prime Minister David Cameron concluded that while the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred “non-violent incremental change” this is largely “on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamisation is complete.” The Review found that the Brotherhood “are prepared to countenance violence – including, from time to time, terrorism - where gradualism is ineffective” and have “deliberately, wittingly and openly incubated and sustained an organisation - Hamas - whose military wing has been proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation... Some leading Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters have endorsed attacks on western forces.”[25]

The report concluded that "for some years the Muslim Brotherhood... dominated the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)... MAB became politically active, notably in connection with Palestine and Iraq, and promoted candidates in national and local elections..." The report acknowledges that MAB have publicly distanced themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood, but that privately the group seems to remain sympathetic to the Brotherhood: "The MAB appears much less active than it was between 2002 and 2006. It has little political profile and no obvious connection with groups which have recently arrived from Egypt or the UAE. In 2014 MAB claimed a membership of just 600 people and maintains eight welfare houses (first established here in the 1960s) and associated mosques. It has nine UK branches. MAB has links to the Cordoba Foundation, a think tank which is associated with the Brotherhood (though claiming to be neither affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood nor a lobby organisation for it)...." The government report criticises MAB for failing to significantly revise its internal literature to disassociate and disavow Islamist ideology: "In their written submission to the review MAB stated that it supported social integration and encouraged young people to be active and responsible citizens. There is some evidence that MAB have tried to do so in specific areas of the country. But as of July 2014 neither MAB nor other organisations related to the Muslim Brotherhood had clearly and publicly promoted a vision of Muslims living in this country as integrated British citizens; indeed, in the course of the preparation of this review MAB accepted that their teaching material has not been updated to reflect their claimed objectives. Literature in the Muslim Brotherhood movement in this country continues to reflect some of the concerns of the foundational Muslim Brotherhood ideology, notably that western society is inherently hostile to Muslim faith and interests and that Muslims must respond by maintaining their distance and autonomy."[26]

In 2015, the UK government published an extract from a report on the Brotherhood commissioned by the UK Cabinet Office by Dr Lorenzo Vidini, Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. Vidini's report claimed that the Brotherhood conducted "entryist" tactics to influence host societies. The report described MAB as an affiliate of the Brotherhood and described the Brotherhood's entryist tactics as follows:

  • "Spread their religious and political views to British Muslim communities"
  • "Become official or de facto representatives of British Muslim communities in the eyes of the government and the media"
  • "Support domestic and international Islamist causes with local Muslim communities and British policy-makers and public"[27]

Muslim Association of Britain president Omer El-Hamdoon said that the MAB had no links to the Brotherhood. El-Hamdoon claimed that the government's accusations were politically motivated, as his organization had criticised Cameron's foreign policy on Iraq.[28]

Other activitiesEdit

During February 2016 and 2017, the Muslim Association of Britain joined FOSIS in a nationwide campaign called "Believe and Do Good". The campaign was carried out with over 60 Islamic societies throughout the UK.[29]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ bestofbritishmuslims.com
  2. ^ Muslim Association of Britain (18 November 2016). "Best Of British Muslims 2016". Retrieved 5 June 2017 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "400 groups sign charter for European Muslims". euobserver.com. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  4. ^ Foundation, The Cordoba. "The Cordoba Foundation - Cultures in Dialogue". www.TheCordobaFoundation.com. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  5. ^ http://www.mabonline.net/about-mab/
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ 2008 Institute of Race Relations Vol. 50(2): 101–113
  8. ^ "What is the Muslim Association of Britain? | Workers' Liberty". www.workersliberty.org.
  9. ^ https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-muslim-association-of-britain-f2hkvcl7srp
  10. ^ "MINAB's mosques may not be so moderate". 30 November 2007 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Muslims vote smart for Mayoral Elections". mabonline.net. Muslim Association of Britain. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Galloway's East End street fight". BBC. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Full profile: Anas Altikriti". The Guardian. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  14. ^ Anti-war vigil attracts hundreds, BBC, 17 July 2005
  15. ^ "Al-Qaeda leader's tour of Britain revealed". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  16. ^ Casciani, Dominic (7 February 2006). "UK | The battle for the mosque". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  17. ^ "MAB Publication" (PDF). MABOnline.info. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  18. ^ Verkaik, Robert (12 March 2016). "The trials of Babar Ahmad: from jihad in Bosnia to a US prison via Met brutality". The Observer. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  19. ^ http://www.mabonline.net/images/docs/1399542946Press%20Release%20-%20Nigeria%20Kidnapping.pdf
  20. ^ "UAE Cabinet approves list of designated terrorist organisations, groups". WAM Emirates News Agency. 15 November 2014. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Anger as UAE puts Nordic, UK Muslim groups on terror list". World Bulletin. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  22. ^ Crowcroft, Orlando (10 June 2015). "UK Isis jihadis: Who are the British fighters waging war in Iraq and Syria for Islamic State?". IBTimes.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Who's speaking at today's Stop Trident rally?". www.CNDUK.org. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  24. ^ Fourman Films (29 February 2016). "Raghad Tikriti Muslim Association of Britain Stop Trident Demonstration Campaign Nuclear Disarmament". Retrieved 5 June 2017 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486932/Muslim_Brotherhood_Review_Main_Findings.pdf
  26. ^ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486932/Muslim_Brotherhood_Review_Main_Findings.pdf
  27. ^ https://extremism.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2191/f/downloads/MB%20in%20the%20UK.pdf
  28. ^ "UK groups deny government claims they are linked to possible terrorists".
  29. ^ "BADG 2017". BelieveAndDoGood.com. Retrieved 5 June 2017.

External linksEdit