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This is not to minimise the trauma to individual Muslims from vile baiting, being spat at, called names or having a garment ripped off. But the danger of talking up Islamophobia in such an alarmist way is that it risks creating a siege mentality among Muslims. Day in, day out, Mend feeds Muslims a relentless diet of news and dramatised videos of Islamophobic attacks (not always accurate) as if to emphasise: “You do know your fellow non-Muslim citizens hate you, don’t you?” Its leader Sufyan Ismail has himself told Muslims that “society hates us.”

Still, Mend seems to have persuaded several MPs from all parties and some police forces that it is an appropriate organisation to advise on how to tackle Islamophobia. In Manchester, it has partnered with the police and the council on a joint “Ending Islamophobia Action Plan” which includes advising schools on how to “identify the difference between free speech and cyber-hate”; it has provided research to Manchester’s Mayor, Andy Burnham, about policing Muslim communities; in Cardiff it has trained the British Transport Police on Islamophobia; in Leeds they’ve trained NHS staff on Islamophobia; in London Mend says it is an official partner of the Electoral Commission; it claims to be the only Muslim group to have given oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture and practices of the press; and across the country it has held events with police and crime commissioners. Mend representatives even sit on the odd local authority committee advising them how to implement the government’s counter-terrorism Prevent programme, aimed at preventing vulnerable individuals from being drawn into Islamist and far-right extremism. This, despite Mend campaigning for Prevent’s abolition as part of “state-sponsored Islamophobia”.

These well-intentioned politicians and public servants have been less than curious about the rebranding of iEngage to Mend. Some Mend staff and volunteers have promoted ideas that meet the government’s definition of extremism contained in its Counter-Extremism Strategy: support for organisations proscribed as terrorist, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and visceral attacks on fellow Muslims who have dared to suggest that Mend has not always practised the anti-hate principles it preaches. Some of the organisations Mend lists as its “strategic partners” are regarded by the Home Office Extremism Analysis Unit as being “extremist”. For example, Cage, the Islamist group that has campaigned to free convicted terrorists, famously described Jihadi John as a “beautiful young man”, and defended the right of a British jihadi to carry out a suicide bombing on a jail in Syria in which many are said to have been killed in order to free prisoners. Indeed, Sufyan Ismail says he has “personally donated to Cage over the years, and I continue to do so. Let’s get that on the record, and I don’t know how many people have donated as much as I have, but it’s not a small amount.” Like Cage, Mend wants “counter-terrorism legislation which is unnecessary abolished”.

In the immediate future Ismail says he wants Mend to focus on schools by hiring “schools content officers”, presumably to try to persuade schools to present Islam the way he views his faith. And if Ofsted does indeed launch an inquiry into the rise of the hijab among primary school girls, we can expect hostilities to resume. Mosques in Manchester, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Bolton have advised parents not to allow their daughters to be questioned by school inspectors.
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Trevor
July 14th, 2018
3:07 PM
I would like to apologize if my comment on 12/07/18 caused any offense to Muslims. On reflection, I think that my comments were a bit harsh although I still hold the view that Muslims do make it hard for themselves to integrate into British society even by the clothes that they wear. Logic suggests to me that if Allah is one god and faith in him is fundamental then why should gowns and veils suddenly become an integral part of worship? Also, the rapid growth in crimes being committed by Muslims of all ages and genders suggests to me that the Muslim community is becoming ever more divided and there will come a point where being a British Muslim will be something to ashamed of rather than proud.

Trevor
July 12th, 2018
10:07 AM
I really believe that Muslims are their own worst enemies because of the fact that they complain about (for want of a better phrase) ''being left out'' by wider society but the fact is their form of religion and even their style of clothing creates a barrier between themselves and wider society. Muslim's form of clothing effectively says to non-muslim society, ''we are religiously pious'' and we want to stand out from the rest. When you take into account the anti-social acts being carried out by Muslim extremists, alongside the ones who walk around all day dressed in headscarves and gowns it becomes clear that these people are not only misguided but they are also divided among themselves and this has created a situation in which the gown-wearing Muslims attempt to convince the wider society that we are genuine but the Muslim terrorists are not. I personally believe that it is too late to even try to build bridges because the fact is the damage is done and I believe that a growing number of people are fed up with these Muslims coming to our country and causing problems while putting on a poor show of religious piety.

amcdonald
June 22nd, 2018
10:06 PM
Anonymous believes Tommy Robinson is in jail for contempt of court. At least the BBC gives us 5 meanings to the graffiti on the back of Melania`s jacket! Anonymous can read some truth about the attempt to silence Robinson in Douglas Murray`s book The Strange Death of Europe. In Russia they threw Pussy Riot in jail. The only feminist to speak in solidarity with Robinson is Anne Marie Waters. Theresa May is too busy doing a grovelling curtsy to Royalty on tour. She prefers listening to people with nothing to say. How cheaply decadent can you get ? She tells us there`s a Brexit dividend for the NHS. But absolutely nothing about a dividend for council house building. Where are all our muslims with several wives (registered as single mothers) going to live ?

amcdonald
June 22nd, 2018
5:06 PM
Can you get more culturally disgusting than Shane Allen who runs BBC comedy output? He describes Monty Python as `six Oxbridge white blokes` and John Cleese (twitter) has started kicking him up the arse (metaphorically). Allen cites the disgusting `diversity` argument.. Surely the Muslim Council of Not Great Britain can make a case here too. Like Allen they have no sense of humour either. The `islamisation` of the BBC is well underway. And the BBC is using taxpayers money to fund it! How very `Muslim Brotherhood` of them. There`s no civilisation/free speech where there`s no sense of humour. Islam has no sense of humour and cannot appreciate anyone who has one. Halal Capone Inshallah,innit. Islam thinks it has the equivalent of the `divine right of kings`. Type in `contradictions in the koran` and see what superior intelligence our AI reveals. The hyperobject that is the internet is the ninth wonder of the world.

amcdonald
June 21st, 2018
4:06 PM
ForBritain is my new favourite political party. Anne Marie Waters is in Norwich on 21 July. The fascist `anti-fascists` who protested outside her public meetings are increasing her support. ForBritain is getting my vote. And it`s 100% pro-Brexit. Islam has no intention to integrate. Quite the reverse. Fortunately Brexit has made a politics of truth and intelligence possible. Anne Marie Waters deserves a statue next to Churchill and another one next to the new feminist one.

Anonymous
June 21st, 2018
8:06 AM
Actually Tommy Robinson is in jail for being in contempt of court whilst serving a suspended sentence for - yes, you guessed it! - being in contempt of court

amcdonald
June 17th, 2018
10:06 PM
Would the abolition of the death penalty for apostasy in Islam lead to it`s total collapse, empty mosques and no signs or symbols of Islam anywhere in the world ?

amcdonald
June 12th, 2018
4:06 PM
Zeeshan Ali is free to speak. Unlike Tommy Robinson who`s in jail for speaking his truth. Only Morrissey and Mary Anne Waters dare to speak the truth to and about Islam (see her YouTube vid Dangerous Words,Stockholm etc). The book Beyond Terror by Mary Anne Waters is now available. She`s as good as Camille Paglia and Douglas Murray. It`s also true that the marvellous muslim,feminist artisr Sarah Maple is exhibiting in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It`s essentially an exhibition of `Remainia` retro-aesthetica.

Zeeshan Ali, MEND
June 11th, 2018
10:06 AM
Mend (Muslim Engagement and Development) is dismayed by yet another attack by John Ware (“The battle for British Muslims’ integration”, May) and concerned that his misrepresentation of Mend’s actions and intentions is based on cherry-picked facts and is a biased and inaccurate representation of the totality of our work, in line with a preconceived critical narrative. In particular, there is a singular absence of any of the positive work we have undertaken over the past four years. Mend works tirelessly not to make, in Ware’s words, “alarmist claims” but rather to shine a light on an issue routinely dismissed by politicians, newspaper editors and self-proclaimed experts. Ware fails to mention the numerous documents produced by us (all available on our website for anyone, without needing an investigation) that detail presentations, briefing documents, fact-sheets and easy-read guides on numerous topics affecting the British Muslim community. These have been produced for the sole benefit of educating Muslims and non-Muslims on contentious issues, and not to “position conservative Islam in the mainstream”. The only conclusion we can come to as to why he fails to mention them is that considering them would be dissonant with his negative narrative and thus fail his subjective test for “suitable evidence”. Ware also failed to mention the work our volunteers have done and regularly do in fighting Islamophobia. In February, Paul Moore was convicted of attempted murder after he ran over a Muslim woman in Leicester. As reported by both BBC and ITV, it was Mend volunteers who supported her family, pushed for the police to pursue the case and raised media awareness of it. This was a case that attracted national media attention, and we have to ask why Ware did not report this as an example of Mend’s commendable work. Another notable absence was the “Love a Muslim day” originated by Mend’s regional manager that brought together faith and non-faith communities in numerous events across the country. This was in response to a letter calling for violence against the Muslim community. Mend’s “Love a Muslim day” was reported by all mainstream newspapers and a number of independent journalists but seemingly missed by Ware. Aside from Mend’s work, Ware also ignores the many accolades that we have received recognising our work. The World Economic Forum ranked our work as “best practice” in human rights “protection and promotion”; the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights rated our work as “best example for civil society organisations”; and the EU Parliament magazine stated: “The EU could learn a lot from Mend’s work on counter-radicalisation through engagement.” The WEF, ODIHR and the EU are highly-respected international institutions and it is remarkable that Ware has not cited their considered views on the quality of our work. Tackling all forms of Islamophobia is and will remain Mend’s main objective, and we will keep striving to ensure that racial and religious discrimination is eradicated from society undeterred by sensationalistic accusations. If Ware wishes to criticise Mend’s operation then we do not discourage him. This is to be expected in a healthy democracy, and every organisation is continually evolving and learning from its mistakes. However, biased criticism is rarely informative or useful, and we would expect higher journalistic standards from someone as experienced as Mr Ware. Zeeshan Ali, Media and Policy Analyst, Mend, London E3

Greg Aniol
May 23rd, 2018
4:05 PM
Iftikhar Ahmad - i got your point - to the certain extend .... Why not boys? Boys' problems should be also approached. If they grow up with unhealthy perception of women then definitely should be also educated. I am NOT trying to say that young girls should dress up whatever way. They (as well as boys) should be educated by family and school to respect themselves. However my (and not only my) perception of girls dressed in the cloth bags is not necessary built up on their self respect rather than religion based oppression - tell me if I am wrong. If you are calling few year old girl in the school skirt sexually marked but the other one wrapped with the cloth bag not you must have very disfigured perception of reality and sexuality. Again - religion plays here massive part. Education - to be honest - is a huge problem in the UK. Not schools but parents and overall society is guilty of actions dragging it down. Kids arent encouraged to learn; teachers are scared of pushing them, parents (many of them, not all) do not give a damn, expecting the state to look after their own children. Underachievement ethos guides far too many families. Those families transfer down generation sickening attitude. To summarise - Muslims, Christians or any other imaginary friend followers - as long as not trying to enforce religious rules making others to obey them - let them pray at home to whichever of gods they want. Human decency hasn't been built on sacred books but on common experience built over the thousands of years. Remove religion from the arguments and then not much would be left to argue about. Work hard and don't rely on others to think on your behalf, respect people and have own ambitions. This should cover the most

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