The government has announced that it is lifting its ban on official contact with the Muslim Council of Britain, imposed after the group’s Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah, was revealed to have been a signatory to the Istanbul Declaration, which called for violence against Israel and was widely interpreted as condoning attacks on British troops.
There is speculation that the lifting of the ban is a quid pro quo for next week’s announcement that legislation will be introduced on universal jurisdiction for war crimes.
John Denham, the Communities Secretary, and Jack Straw, Justice Secretary, are long standing supporters of the MCB’s role in Whitehall, and both were thought to be opposed to amending the war crimes arrest warrant legislation.
In the statement released on Friday, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:
"The Muslim Council of Britain has made a commitment to Government to examine their internal processes and ensure that the personal actions of all members, including senior leaders, remain true to the organisation's agreed policies, avoiding a repeat of the issues which arose after one member signed the Istanbul Declaration.
"The MCB has stated its categorical opposition to attacks on British defence interests and confirmed its unwavering support for British troops across the world. It has also made clear that it stands firmly against Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.
"The significance of these actions on the part of the MCB has led to the Government lifting the suspension of its formal relationship with that organisation. The MCB will now contribute to ongoing dialogue with Government as one amongst a wide range of Muslim organisations.
"We will closely monitor how the internal processes progress over the coming months."