Board of Deputies distances itself from controversial Muslim group

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Board of Deputies distances itself from controversial Muslim group

The Jewish representative body said the Islamic organisation MEND risks increasing hostility and suspicion between Jews and Muslims

Jonathan Arkush
Jonathan Arkush

The Board of Deputies has distanced itself from controversial Muslim advocacy group MEND, after past meetings with the Board were used as evidence of MEND’s inter-communal engagement.

In the latest spat in a long-running war of words, Jewish representatives sided instead with Tell Mama, led by Fiyaz Mughal, whose organisation works to counter anti-Muslim extremism.

In December, at a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing, Mughal accused MEND and others of “attacking” Tell Mama for “being too Jew-friendly, for being the friends of Zionists, because our chair is Jewish, [and] for being in the pay of Mossad”.

MEND denied the accusations, accusing Mughal of making “defamatory and libellous allegations” while under the protection of parliamentary privilege, and defended itself by saying it works with Jewish groups such as the Board of Deputies.

This week the Board sided with Tell Mama, saying: “The approach taken by MEND risks increasing hostility and suspicion between the Jewish and Muslim communities, rather than building trust and empathy.”

It added: “While we have met representatives of MEND in the past, we would not intentionally meet with the organisation again until we are confident that it intends to promote a positive relationship towards Jews, the Jewish community and communal bodies and stands unequivocally opposed to extremism.”

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