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Open Letter to the Jewish Community Leadership: “Is the Jewish Community Talking to the Right Kind of Muslims?”

As people of all faiths and beliefs united against extremism, we are writing to commend the outstanding article by Professor Geoffrey Alderman in the The Jewish Chronicle on 3 May 2013, “It’s not necessarily good to talk”.  Professor Alderman is right to question whether Jewish interfaith representatives are talking to the “right kind of Muslims”.

The “wrong kind of Muslims” are associated with the extremist Jamaat-e-Islami, expressed in the UK through institutions such as the Islamic Foundation (IF), Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) andEast London Mosque (ELM).  All three are currently being endorsed by Jewish interfaith involvement (see here and here and here).

One of the most prominent Jamaat-e-Islami figures in Britain is the anti-Rushdie campaigner,Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, who was formerly Vice Chairman of the ELM and Deputy Director of the IF; he is also one of the founders of the MCB.  Mueen Uddin has now been indicted for his role in the Al-Badr Islamist death squads in the genocide of some 3 million civilians during the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence – most of the victims being Hindu and Christian religious minorities, as well as Muslim intellectuals.

The Islamic Foundation has Jewish interfaith leaders on its Advisory Board (see here and here andhere).

Imam Abdul Qayyum leads the ELM’s official collaboration with the “National Council of Imams and Rabbis” (a registered operating name of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation – not to be confused with other imams and rabbis groups) which was cited by Professor Alderman.  Qayyum is a signatory to the unambiguously anti-Jewish and pro-Hamas Istanbul Declaration.

We are committed to truthful and honest Jewish-Muslim co-operation and a genuine stand against extremism.  Reaching out to extremists amounts to the marginalisation and even betrayal of liberal Muslims.  Therefore, in the light of our concerns, we most urgently request the Board of Deputies of British Jews to clarify publicly the Board’s position and/or support for interfaith projects endorsed by the MCB, IF and ELM.

Yours faithfully

Dr B B Chaudhuri, “Nirmul Committee” – Bangladesh War Crimes Committee
Nooruddin Ahmed, “Muktijuddho O Gono Mukti Andolon” – Bangladesh Liberation War and War Crimes Campaign
Ansar Ahmed Ullah, “Swadhinata Trust”
Ralph Assor
Farida Begum, “Secular Voice of Bangladesh”
Geoffrey Ben-Nathan
Margaret Ben-Nathan
Janet Clifford
Samir Das, “Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council Europe”
Dhiren Halder, “Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council UK”
Ms R L Hart
Jonathan Hoffman
Michelle Huberman
Laurence Julius
Denis MacEoin
Nadia Nathan
Golam Rabbani, “East London Bangladesh Community”
Nina Rahel, Community Activist in Islington, London
Waliur Rahman, “Soytten Sen School of Performing Arts”
Mohammed Moslahur Reza, Forest Gate, London
Mala Sarkar, “Bangladeshi Community of Newham”
Mihir Sarkar, “Jagannath Alumni Association”
Sharon Theodore
Niran Timan