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Row over MPs' rejection of Islamophobia group

    A war of words has broken out over the decision to drop the anti-Zionist organisaton i-Engage (also known as Engage) as the secretariat to the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on Islamophobia.

    MPs voted last month to dispense with its services of after efforts by Conservative MPs Nick Boles and Robert Halfon along with Labour's Hazel Blears and John Spellar.

    The founder of Muslims4UK, Inayat Bunglawala, condemned the MPs' decision on his blog under the headline: "Israel lobby gloats over removal of Engage from APPG on Islamophobia".He continued: "Around six months ago, I wrote that pro-Israeli activists were involved in strenuous efforts to try and hobble a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia... And lo! It came to pass."

    Islamophobia Watch editor Bob Pitt used his website to attack Chris Allen, a Birmingham University academic, whose report, commissioned by the group's chair, Simon Hughes, was highly critical of i-Engage. Writing of the MPs involved, Mr Pitt called the report "stupid". He then linked to the following comment posted by "Bob" on Dr Allen's blog: "You've happily provided scum like Robert Halfon and Hazel Blears with the ammunition they needed to remove Engage."

    ● In the issue of 18 February we reported that a decision had been made by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia to retain iEngage as its secretariat.

    We have now been informed that there was no vote specifically on this point, and the decision made was to adjourn the meeting until further enquiries about iEngage could be made.

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