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Telegraph | News | Muslim chiefs do not vet groups for extremism
: "he most powerful Islamic body in Britain admitted yesterday that it had failed to carry out even basic checks for extremism among its affiliated groups.
The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents more than 400 organisations across the country, said it 'assumed' that potential members were moderates and therefore did not investigate their literature or views.
It was responding to reports in a BBC Panorama programme broadcast last night that affiliated members had aired extremist views.
A council spokesman attacked the programme as 'manifestly dishonest' in its editing and accused the reporter of pursuing a 'vicious vendetta' against Muslims.
Ahl-e-Hadith, a Birmingham-based affiliated group with 41 branches across the country, has an article on its website telling followers to 'be different from Jews and Christians' whose 'ways are based on sick or deviant views'.
Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the council, told The Daily Telegraph that affiliates were not asked if they had renounced extremism. Neither their membership nor literature was investigated.
However, there is no suggestion that the council is not genuine in its condemnation of extremism and terrorism.
'We do not have time to check the websites of every organisation,' Mr Bunglawala said. 'As long as they sign a statement saying they agree to abide by the constitution and pay the £25, they are free to join. We can't control what our affiliates say; we are not a policing organisation.'
Panorama suggested that the council was 'in denial' about sectarianism in the Muslim community."