Islamic Party of Britain suspends activities with immediate effect
A decision by the Islamic Party of Britain to suspend its activities until further notice brings to an end almost 15 years of independent British Muslim political involvement. The party was founded in 1989 amidst the “Rushdie Affair”, and party leader David Musa Pidcock’s book “Satanic Voices” remains one of the most comprehensive rebuttals of what the party perceived to be a concerted effort to discredit Islam. The party first contested council elections in 1990 and a by-election in Bradford in the same year, but it never managed to gain the undivided support of Muslims in those constituencies. When it became increasingly clear that the chances of electoral success remained slim, the party developed into more of a think tank, contributing analysis and alternative policies through its quarterly publication “Common Sense” edited by its general secretary Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher. The decision to suspend active political campaigning was taken on the basis of an assessment that whilst the party had succeeded in kick-starting a political debate amongst Muslims in Britain, shifting the focus of the Muslim community from cultural and minority issues to dealing with the social and political realities of modern Britain, the British Muslim community remained too divided to present a united political challenge to the existing political establishment. Whilst strategic and tactical voting might have assisted in changing the political landscape at the time of the party’s foundation, the patronising nanny state of new Labour, brought into power with the support of the majority of Muslims in the UK, holds little such promise for the foreseeable future.
“Muslims who complain about Islamophobia and demonstrate against the present government’s anti-Muslim policies, including the war on Afghanistan and Iraq, need to examine their own complicity”, said Dr Bleher. “British Muslims were too busy competing with each other for acceptance by the establishment to realise the increasingly totalitarian nature of all-pervasive government.” “The open hostility of our current government against Islam, the hysteria against asylum seekers and would-be terrorists, coupled with the ongoing allegiance of major Muslim organisations to Muslim movements abroad, has resulted in a community made up of intolerant and frustrated extremists on the one hand, career-opportunistic stooges on the other, and an ever growing political apathy and cynicism amongst the greater majority of Muslims living in the UK”, he added.
The party will retain its internet presence at for the time being and does not rule out a come-back, should the political climate change substantially.