A 12 July 2021 virtual Srebrenica Genocide commemoration event hosted by the East London Mosque featured two British MPs and leaders of Muslim Brotherhood groups, including the new Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain. According to a post on the East London Mosque (ELM) website about the event:
The Chairman of the East London Mosque Trust, Muhammad Habibur Rahman, welcomed the audience, who had joined together to remember the victims of Srebrenica genocide 26 years on, the single greatest atrocity in Europe since the Second World War: “This commemoration is an opportunity for reflection, to ask ourselves what lessons we have learned from such a terrible crime that occurred in the heart of Europe.”
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The event, which also included Quran recitals and video screenings, was co-hosted by the ELM and the Bosnia Heritage Foundation, a group co-founded by ELM trustee Abdullah Faliq that organizes Bosnian Genocide memorial gatherings as well as “halal-conscious” trips to Bosnia. The event was also supported by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and London-based charity The Bosnia Trust. The MCB is among the most influential Muslim organizations in Britain and has historically been dominated by the Jamaat-e-Islami movement in the UK. The MCB usually acts in concert with the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB).
One of the commemoration’s speakers was Zara Mohammed, who in January 2017 was elected as the new MCB Secretary-General, the first female SG in its history. From 2014–2017, Mohammed held several leading positions in the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), a national umbrella organization representing Islamic societies at universities throughout the UK and that has numerous ties to the GMB network in the UK. In October 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that British Conservative Ex-Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt had been criticized by members of the British Home Office for meeting with Zara Mohammed despite an existing “non-engagement” policy with the group.
Another event speaker was Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN, a US think-tank whose board of directors includes numerous individuals tied to the GMB. As the GIOR has reported, Whitson is known for making misleading statements about the Muslim Brotherhood;
Other notable speakers at the event included:
- Dževada Šuško, Chief-of-Office, Foreign Affairs & Diaspora Department, Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Catherine West MP, Shadow Foreign Minister (Europe & Americas); MP for Hornsey & Wood Green
- Rushanara Ali MP, Former Shadow Minister for International Development and Further Education, Chair of All-Party Parliamentary Groups on the Rohingya, and Burma
Prior reporting by the GIOR about the MCB and its leadership has also included:
- A March 2021 report on new elections held by a prominent Hamas support group mainly sponsored by an MCB affiliate.
- A May 2021 report that Zara Mohammed participated in a “Virtual Iftar” hosted by the UK Labour Muslim Network featuring a prominent British pro-Hamas activist.
- A May 2021 report that the MCB released a statement condemning Israel in the recent violence with Palestinian militant groups, leaving out any criticism of Hamas.