Ajmal Masroor: I was perhaps too radical for MCB

The defeated candidate in the election to be the new Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General has said that he was perhaps too radical for the organisation.

Ajmal Masroor lost out by 107 votes to 60 to Zara Mohammad in yesterday’s vote to lead Britain’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation.

In a Facebook post Masroor said: “May God bless Zara to deliver on this trust, May God bless MCB so that it can be a true representative body of the diverse Muslim community in the UK and may God bless those who have taken part in the election.”

But he went onto say that he “won the hearts and minds of the campaign” by offering MCB affiliates a choice for the first time in its 23 year history as in the past one predetermined candidate had been rubber stamped.

He said: “But this time there were two candidates actively campaigning and reaching out to the affiliates. For the first time in the MCB’s 23 year history there was a buzz and excitement in the wider community about the MCB and its leadership. In many WhatsApp groups, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts people were actively discussing and debating the merits of voting for me or for Zara…

“For the first time in the MCB’s 23 year history MCB could be proud of its claim to democratic process – there was an election for the Secretary General, there were candidates, there were hustings, people engaging and debating with and about the candidates, there was a different buzz in the air. No election is ever flawless, when I noticed any election process anomaly I brought it to the election commissioner’s attention with the sole intention to improve the democratic system. I am certainly praying for improvements and change for the future elections.”

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Masroor concluded by saying that the “affiliates felt reassured and secure by Zara as a continuity candidate and perhaps felt I was too radical for the organisation. They voted and the election result is clear. I am very content that I stood and I am very respectful of the affiliates choice.”

In a recent debate on Islam Channel, the only clear difference between the two candidates emerged when the they were asked about their stances on the Prevent counter-terrorism programme.

Zara Mohammed recommended a pragmatic approach, working with the government to reduce the impact of counter-terrorism policies on Muslim communities which she said “hits home and hits hard.” She said she would aim to establish a relationship where the MCB can advise the government against what she referred to as “abusive” acts committed in the name of counter-terrorism.

Meanwhile, Ajmal Masroor pitched for a more drastic change, claiming that “the government got away with murder.” He went on to say that the government has “created a draconian policy” and that he supports the scrapping of the Prevent agenda. He suggested introducing a bottom-up model via educational programs and empowering families instead of “spying against one another.”

Up until now the MCB has not called for the scrapping of Prevent, unlike many other Muslim and non-Muslim organisations.

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