The Telegraph highlights a number of recommendations from a recent report on security by the Conservative Muslim Forum. Having had a chance to look at the report (that appears to have been written last month) I fear that The Telegraph’s report is an accurate summary. I’ve also discovered other troubling recommendations.
The Forum, chaired by Lord Mohamed Sheikh, enobled in 2005 by Michael Howard, offers comfort to Iran and its ambition for nuclear weapons: "Given Iran’s position in the Middle East, facing a nuclear armed Israel, Iran appears to have legitimate reasons for seeking nuclear weapons for defensive purposes." Let us never forget that Iran’s President has spoken of wiping Israel off the face of the map. Last year Iran hosted a conference that gave comfort to Holocaust-deniers. There can be no equivalence between Israel and Iran. Although not without fault, Israel is a democratic nation – besieged by totalitarian states. Iran is a sponsor of global terror. It is a great shame that the CMF could not have begun to made this clear.
The Forum rejects Dame Pauline Neville-Jones’ suggestion that “foreign preachers and scholars advocating the rejection of the institutions and values of democracy” should be denied entry into Britain". The Forum suggests that "If a political party wishes to campaign, constitutionally, for the abolition of democracy in the UK and its replacement by a totalitarian system, why should it not be free to do so?"
The CMF then criticises David Cameron’s support for ‘Zionism’. On 12th June the Conservative leader, asked if he was a Zionist, said:
“If what you mean by Zionist, someone who believes that the Jews have a right to a homeland in Israel and a right to their country then yes I am a Zionist and I’m proud of the fact that Conservative politicians down the ages have played a huge role in helping to bring this about” and “There is something deep in our Party’s DNA that believes in Israel, the right of Israel to exist, the right of Israel to defend itself and that a deal should only happen if it means that Israel is really allowed to have peace within secure borders and real guarantees about its future”.
Nothing wrong with that but the CMF is displeased. "Pro-zionist statements only damage relationships with Muslims nationally and internationally," the Forum concludes.
The Forum concludes that "the Muslim Council of Britain is well-respected by many Muslims and non-Muslims" and encourages the Conservative Party to recognise that. Paul Goodman is just one of many Conservative MPs who worry about the MCB’s tolerance of extremist attitudes, including its unwillingness to support Holocaust Memorial Day.
The report then defends Yusuf al-Qaradawi – a Muslim scholar who has made unacceptable remarks about homosexuals. Conservatives have rightly criticised Ken Livingstone for having rolled out the red carpet for al-Qaradawi when he visited London. It is deeply troubling to learn of a group within the Conservative Party giving comfort to this extremist.
4.45pm update: LGF has now picked this up and is quite depressed about the state of Britain, as has "Islamophobia Watch" which has a rather revealing tongue-in-cheek headline: Conservative Muslims back Ahmadinejad shock!