British minister hits back at ‘unacceptable’ Muslim council

Harun Khan from the Muslim Council of Britain. (Courtesy photo)
Updated 05 June 2018
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British minister hits back at ‘unacceptable’ Muslim council

  • The MCB is an umbrella group which says it represents around 500 smaller organizations in the UK
  • “The Muslim Council of Britain does not represent Muslims in this country

LONDON: The row between the UK government and the country’s biggest Muslim organization has intensified after the British home secretary said the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) did not represent Muslims in the UK.
The MCB last week called for an independent inquiry into alleged Islamophobia within the ruling Conservative Party, claiming that verbal attacks on Muslims were occurring “more than weekly” and listing a number of such attacks by Conservatives from the past two months.
But Home Secretary (interior minister) Sajid Javid has hit back, saying the government has no dealings with the MCB because some of its members express “unacceptable” views on extremism.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr weekly politics show, Javid said: “The Muslim Council of Britain does not represent Muslims in this country. You find me a group of Muslims that thinks they’re represented by the MCB. I would be suspicious of anything that they’ve got to say, not least because under the last Labour government and a policy continued by us, we don’t deal with the MCB because too many of their members have had, you know, comments on extremists and that’s not acceptable.”
But the MCB’s secretary-general, Harun Khan, said the home secretary’s response showed the British government’s unwillingness to confront the issue.
“If the response is to instead attack the Muslim Council of Britain, it sadly indicates that the [Conservative] party has no interest in dealing with this matter with the seriousness it deserves.
“We have long spoken out and proactively challenged terrorism and extremism, as have British Muslims across the country.”
The MCB is an umbrella group which says it represents around 500 smaller organizations in the UK, including schools and mosques.


Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

Updated 16 July 2019
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Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opened its airspace to civil aviation on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a so-called Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s website.
The move by Pakistan, which lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor, offers a welcome break for international airlines after the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.
India’s ministry of civil aviation said that after the lifting of the NOTAMS, there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.
“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an armed standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region during which an Indian fighter jet was shot down.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once the immediate crisis passed but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan’s announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct. 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.