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Mend proclaims an exemplary ambition to “enhance civic engagement” by Muslims and to “foster social cohesion and community resilience to all forms of extremism”. There is no suggestion that Mend orchestrated the flood of poison against the Chief Inspector of Schools or Neena Lall, head teacher of St Stephen’s primary school. However, Mend activists were busy on the ground and their boss Sufyan Ismail has boasted privately that Lall “felt the wrath of the local Mend group and the parents”. I have yet to see Mend publicly condemn the cruder manifestations of this wrath, inflamed by unwarranted claims from them and fellow activists that Islamophobia had motivated Lall’s decision to ban the hijab for 4-7-year olds.

Ismail is a wealthy 42-year-old entrepreneur from Blackburn who travels in a chauffeur-driven Bentley. Common to all his companies is the letter E, which he says stands for “ethical” because “at the heart of our operations” is a “core value . . . integrity.” One subsidiary was OneE Tax Ltd, which was involved in what he describes as “tax planning” rather than “tax avoidance”, which went into voluntary liquidation shortly after launching Mend.

Since 2010, Ismail has been trying to persuade politicians to engage with organisations like Mend because, he says, its values are representative of his fellow British Muslims. In November that year he briefly succeeded after an organisation he created called “iEngage” was appointed secretariat to the newly-launched All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia (APPG). However, reports emerged of iEngage defending Islamists regarded by the government as extremists. According to the Community Security Trust, which protects British Jews from anti-Semitism, iEngage displayed a “troubling attitude to anti-Semitism”. In July 2011, MPs voted 60-2 to remove iEngage from the APPG.

Three years later Ismail rebranded iEngage as Mend. Again its main focus was tackling Islamophobia. While Islamophobic incidents recorded by the police have been growing, Mend’s claims are alarmist. A 2014 Mend prayer urged British Muslims to “make sure that the threat of Islamophobia doesn’t reach a state where neighbours start murdering one another, such as what we saw in Bosnia, or even in the Central African Republic today”. In January this year Mend’s Head of Policy, Isobel Ingham-Barrow, said she was “sorry to say” that when it came to Islamophobia, “we may already be close” to creating the same “conditions” that led to the extermination of more than six million Jews and other minorities in Nazi Germany.

The notion that Islamophobia here is inching towards genocide on the scale of Bosnia, let alone the Holocaust, is patently absurd. Mend presents statistics for anti-Muslim hate crime by adding religiously-inspired attacks against Muslims to racially-inspired attacks, whether or not the perpetrator knew the victim was a Muslim — despite the Metropolitan Police warning that “the two figures should not be summed”. Anecdotally, the actual instances of Islamophobic hate crime — as distinct from those reported to the police — would appear to be growing. However, the police do not consider the reality is anything like as bleak as Mend suggests. “Sometimes the outside world internationally can look in and think, ‘Goodness me; there is all that hate crime’,” says the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. “‘Have they got gangs of armed thugs going around with shaved heads attacking people?’ No, we haven’t. We have a base level of two or three crimes per borough per day online and off, the vast majority of which are at the less serious end of the spectrum, and I do not believe the problem is getting worse. But I am not complacent about that.”
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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

amcdonald
May 17th, 2018
7:05 PM
Iftikhar Ahmad`s comment is a perfect example of unreasoning.

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