The Islamist-linked Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is calling on imams to mobilise their congregations and for British Muslims to vote in the general election to promote Islamic interests.The MCB, the largest Muslim umbrella group in the country, has published a “list of 8 key issues affecting Muslim communities” to consider when voting and a draft sermon for imams to give in mosques.
“Muslims need to be more politically active”, declares the sermon, to be read at Friday prayers across the country. IpsosMORI research suggests that 53 per cent of eligible Muslims did not vote at the 2010 general election.
The ‘Fairness Not Favours: British Muslim Perspectives at the 2015 General Election’ list covers issues such as: “Defend the right of Muslims – and people of all faiths – to live their faith be that in religious clothing, food and reasonable accommodation of religious observance.”
In 2015, the MCB even produced a website cross-referencing issues Muslims are interested in, allowing voters to compare political parties’ stances on topics such as Palestine, tackling crime and terrorism, and “action to combat Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism”.
Voting can be a contentious issue within some Muslim communities, as more hard-line interpretations of the faith only recognise sharia law rather than “man-made laws” made in democratic states.
The MCB sermon seeks to justify voting by referencing sayings and stories from the Quran. In one story mentioned Mohammed ordered early Muslims to “actively contribute in constructing the Madinian society, which was quickly changing with the arrival of the new migrants”.
The sermon also claims that “many things threaten this for us now, whether the rise of the Right Wing in Europe, bans of hijab and niqab in neighbouring countries, a constant threat to halal food, the demonizing of our Islamic practice, and so much more”.
Adding: “If we do not vote carefully in our local areas and ensure that those who are not suitable to govern or be MPs are removed from power, then we will suffer even more harm. Voting is our key tool to safeguard our rights.”
Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, called on British Muslims to engage with their local prospective parliamentary candidates, saying:
“As the election approaches, we hope that all the main parties engage with Muslim communities and Muslim communities themselves engage in the democratic process.
“We have seen many arrange hustings, Q&A sessions and even go out campaigning for their local candidate – it is an important election – make your voice heard.”
In 2015, a Government report revealed the MCB had undeclared links to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which agitates for a global Islamic Caliphate and is banned as a terrorist organisation in many countries.