The BBC Radio 4 Today programme has really excelled itself today. I've already posted about their intervew with the Right Reverend Bishop Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, on the Bishops' proposal for the Church of England to apologise to Muslims for the Iraq War.
At 8:48 they featured a discussion on whether the Liberal Democrat Party should be adjusting its policies to take more account of Muslim views. The advocate invited on, presumably to represent Muslim views, was a Mr Zulfi Bukhari. He is a member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK).
As this link from Harry's Place shows, the MPACUK is not just an Islamist organization. It has a long standing track record of using far right anti-semitic materials on its web site. These include:
open support for Holocaust denier David Irving, accusations of Zionist media and political control, lists of Jewish donors to New Labour and an investigation into whether the Talmud is "the most Powerful and Racist book in the world". In one example which neatly illustrates the growing commonalities between political extremes, the Islamist Muslim Public Affairs Committee published an article by Professor Kevin MacDonald - who appeared as a witness for David Irving in his failed libel action against Professor Deborah Lipstadt - on the subject which is currently of so much interest to the far left and the anti-war movement: the "International Jewish Origins of Neoconservatism".
Mr Bukhari claimed that many British Muslims are unhappy about the Iraq war and feel alienated by the government's anti-terror legislation. He advocated the Liberal Democrat Party altering its policies to accommodate these supposed views. Mr Bukhari also advocated the Liberal Democrat Party change its policies to accommodate what he claims are Muslim demands around Palestine. These were not discussed in detail
Whilst a Liberal Democrat Party spokesperson invited on did not support Mr Bukhari's views, neither she nor the programme's presenters said anything at all about the disreputable anti-semitic track record of MPACUK. No-one challenged Mr Bukhari about the basis on which he was making his claims or what right he had to speak for all Muslims in the UK.
But it's best to get the measure of the MPACUK from its own web site. This link shows you the way they sought to influence the May 2005 General Election, including targeting the constituencies of MPs they deemed pro-Israel. You need to read some of the examples to get a flavour of their tactics.
There was a Channel 4 programme on May 16th called Operation Muslim Vote. The link shows how proud MPACUK was of its achievements as portrayed in the programme. It particularly featured evident collusion between a northern Liberal Democrat candidate and MPACUK activists from London which helped to swing the vote against a sitting Labour pro Iraq War MP. The methods used by the MPACUK activists included a great deal of hectoring and pressuring of bemused local Muslims, by stressing that they needed to vote the way MPACUK thought they should in order to demonstrate they were good Muslims. Where the local Labour party activists including Muslim activists were well organized, MPACUK made relatively little impact. Where they were not, MPACUK clearly made more headway, especially given direct assistance by a particular Liberal Democrat candidate who was seen to be helping with accommodation for the group.
And here's how the MPACUK covered the recent Panorama "A Question of Leadership" programme which showed the presence of extremist attitudes amongst some of the leadership of the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain. This is the chilling approach taken to "persuading" mosque leaders to support their campaign to defend one of those exposed in the programme:
MPACUK Comment: The well known MCB Spokesman was today under attack from Zionist MP's trying to stop the Pro Palestinian activist from getting a job in Government. MPACUK has been making calls on behalf of Inayat and demanding Muslim Leaders defend him openly and publicly. Any Muslim Leader that refuses will be named on this website so the public are aware of who these men are. Over the weekend Inayat defended Mosque Leaders who were affiliates of the MCB in the MPAC Talk in
London , we hope he now realises that the very leaders who he defended are now in his time of need the very Leaders who are so silent. Not a single one of the MCB Mosques have issued an ALERT to their congregation, less then a handful have issued a press release, and none have demanded a meeting with the BBC. Defending the men who run our Mosques today is failing to hold to account and thus improve those who will betray you tomorrow.
But of course the real disgrace is that the flagship BBC Radio 4 Today programme should present a representative of this unrepresentative and nasty pressure group unchallenged and unexplained as if it spoke for all Muslims.
HAT TIP: AC