A new parliamentary group set up to tackle Islamophobia has been forced to end its partnership with a controversial Muslim organisation which has campaigned against "Zionist" teachings at Jewish schools. It has also defended radical Islamist preachers and targeted moderate Muslim groups which raised concerns about the rise of Islamist politics in Britain.
Eyebrows were raised last month when the new group, chaired by Conservative MP Kris Hopkins, announced that Engage would provide its administrative secretariat. However, Mr Hopkins was this week persuaded to ask the organisation, (not to be confused with the identically-named antisemitism monitoring group), to withdraw its offer of support. The change of heart followed a detailed online attack on the organisation by former Tory MP and communities spokesman Paul Goodman, who is now executive editor of the Conservative Home website.
According to its publicity, Engage is "dedicated to promoting greater media awareness, political participation and civic engagement amongst Muslims." However, the organisation also has an explicit anti-Zionist agenda with regular posts on its website about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The organisation argues that the injustice of the treatment of Palestinians feeds global Islamophobia.