22 March 2007
One of Britain’s most controversial Muslim leaders has declared that there is 'an enormous amount' that Muslims could learn from the way Jews have integrated into the UK. He has also demanded an end to Islamic anti-Semitism, in what is being viewed as a remarkable move towards reconciliation between the two communities. Inayat Bunglawala made his claims in an exclusive interview with the 'European Jewish Press' (EJP) after becoming the first Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) representative to address a major Jewish movement. He spoke to the Jewish Community Center for London (JCC) on Monday. His remarks are seen as a turnaround following his controversial rhetoric that saw him accused of anti-Semitism in the past.
His new attitude has been described by UK Jewish community leaders as 'ground-breaking'. Bunglawala’s past comments have included allegations that the UK media was Jewish or Zionist-controlled. He also wrote to the BBC claiming the broadcaster had allowed "highly placed supporters of Israel" to "make capital out of the 07 July atrocities in London". However, in an interview with EJP, Bunglawala revealed that the MCB was in talks with the JCC about developing a grass-roots network of contacts between Jews and Muslims all over Britain to help end stereotyping and discrimination between the two faiths.
Bunglawala reiterated comments he made to the 'Jewish Chronicle' last week that Muslims had to face up to anti-Semitism within their ranks. "We have to be honest, and I think there has been a real danger – because passions are so heated around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – of genuine disputes over Israeli policies sliding to an easy, or casual, form of anti-Semitism," he said. "Muslims as well as others ought to be cautious about that. It would be absurd if, after being on the receiving end of prejudice, we ended up being prejudiced ourselves."