20 December 2018

The MEND connection

Despite being mentioned only once in the main body of the report (p. 51), it is clear that MEND, an organisation with a tarnished reputation in Government circles, has exerted an important intellectual influence on the APPG. Indeed, the group has long been pushing for the same kind of expansive definition of Islamophobia – as reflected in its own lengthy report on the subject earlier this year.

The connection between the APPG report and the MEND agenda is not simply intellectual. As mentioned above, Dr. Perra was, until recently, also a member of MEND but no mention is made of this affiliation. In a similar vein, the APPG makes reference to evidence it took from the “Islamophobia Response Unit” (IRU). But it fails to mention that the IRU was created in April 2017 by MEND.

MEND has long been surrounded by controversy. Earlier this year, a senior MEND representative asserted that Muslims in the UK face a situation analogous to that of Jews in Nazi Germany before the Holocaust. Its former director of engagement, Azad Ali, is reported to have said in March 2017 that that month’s attack on Parliament, which killed five people, was “not terrorism”. In February 2018, Sir Mark Rowley, the outgoing Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and former head of Counter-Terrorism Command, stated that MEND was “seeking to undermine the state’s considerable efforts to tackle all hate crime”. [Policy Exchange] Read more