London, 13 Jumadil Awwal 1436/4 March 2015 (MINA) – London mayor Boris Johnson has been facing criticism over claims he made about a leading British Muslim organization, following his allegation that the group said jihadists were part of “mainstream Islam”.
“In his column for the Guardian, Johnson alleges that he was criticized by the MCB last month when he highlighted claims by the Security Service that terrorists were obsessed with pornography,” the Muslim Council of Britain said in a letter published on its website on March 3, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“He claims that a ‘spokeswoman [of the Muslim Council of Britain] said that I was somehow attacking Muslims as a whole’. Johnson alleges that this criticism was on the front page of The Guardian.
“We have investigated this and cannot find any such remark made to the Guardian,” the letter reads.
The controversy started when Johnson accused MCB in his column in the Telegraph of “eliding anti-jihadism with Islamophobia” and attributed criticism of recent comments he had made about Islam to a “spokeswoman” of the Muslim Council of Britain.
“I was astounded to be denounced, on the front page of the Guardian, by the Muslim Council of Britain,” he wrote.
“A spokeswoman said that I was somehow attacking Muslims as a whole. Why on earth would she say that? Why is the MCB effectively claiming these porn freak jihadists for mainstream Islam?”
The website version of the Guardian story to which Johnson appears to be referring, dated 30 January 2014, does not mention the Muslim Council of Britain.
It cites criticism from Quilliam, an organization set up to challenge extremism, which refers to Johnson’s claims regarding jihadists being sexually repressed as “ludicrous” and “a generalization”.
In the MCB letter, sent to the Daily Telegraph as well, the Council accused the Mayor of inventing the allegations. “So while he was ‘astounded to be denounced’ allegedly by the MCB, we are equally astounded that such a serious false accusation can be published without fully checking the facts,” the letter read.
The source at the Muslim Council of Britain said they were not sure why Johnson had attributed the comments to them. “The only comment we made at the time was ‘We have not got sight of the MI5 report cited by Boris Johnson, so we cannot comment on his interpretation of its contents,’” the MCB’s letter said.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million. In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British. (T/P011/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)