Muslim Council of Britain Responds to Boris Johnson’s Allegation

*Update*
24th March 2015

The Daily Telegraph has now published a correction to the article written by Boris Johnson on 2nd March 2015, in which he incorrectly accused the MCB of critising him on his statements made about ‘terrorists being obsessed with pornography’. The MCB made no such criticism and this has been corrected online on the Daily Telegraph’s website. It reads as follows:

“An earlier version of this article stated that Boris Johnson had been ‘denounced’ by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) for ‘attacking Muslims’ following his earlier remarks about young jihadists’ use of pornography. The MCB in fact made no such comment, and we apologise for the error. The article has been amended accordingly.”

They have also published this on page 2 of the newspaper today (24.03.15) under ‘comments and clarifications’  with the following:

“In an article of 2 March (“We must debunk the myths that glorify these sick jihadists”), Boris Johnson stated that he had been ‘denounced’ by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) for ‘attacking Muslims’ following his earlier remarks about young jihadists’ use of pornography. The MCB in fact made no such comment, and we apologise for the error.”

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3rd March 2015

The Muslim Council of Britain has written to the Daily Telegraph to set the record straight following criticism made of the organisation by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

In his column for the paper, Mr Johnson alleges that he was criticised by the MCB last month when he highlighted claims by the Security Service that terrorists were obsessed with pornography. He claims that a ‘spokeswoman [of the Muslim Council of Britain] said that I was somehow attacking Muslims as a whole’. Mr Johnson alleges that this criticism was on the front page of The Guardian.

Having investigated the matter, and checked with The Guardian, we can confirm that no such criticism was made. At the time, media outlets other than The Guardian did ask the Muslim Council of Britain to comment on Mr Johnson’s remarks, and we simply issued the following line: “We have not got sight of the MI5 report cited by Boris Johnson, so we cannot comment on his interpretation of its contents.”

We are saddened that a politician of the influence and stature of Mr Johnson can so easily make this assertion without checking his facts. We hope this was a genuine error of research and we trust that Mr Johnson will set the record straight. The serious error, which has been quoted by other news agencies, once again underscores the need for our political leaders to take care in commenting on such important issues.

For the record, let us be very clear where we stand: the murders carried by this so-called ‘Jihadi John’ are barbaric, wrong, and to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We must all re-double our efforts and look again as to why a tiny band of people resort to such extreme actions, all of which are abhorred by the vast majority of Muslims.

Established in 1997, the Muslim Council of Britain is a broad-based organisation representing a diversity of traditions. Though it was not set-up to be a counter-terrorist or ‘counter-extremism’ organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain nevertheless has a long record of speaking out against terrorism and engaging with meaningful solutions to tackle the issue. Further information can be found at: http://www.mcb.org.uk/tag/terrorism/