Inayat Bunglawala ‘Shows His True Colours’ re: Satanic Verses Affair

Earlier today, I received a copy of the following email which has evidently been sent to some senior UK Muslim figures from an organisation called Hizbul Ulama UK. It is about the short piece I wrote for the Guardian yesterday about Salman Rushdie’s book the Satanic Verses:

To: [removed]
CC: [removed]
Subject: The member of MCB who used MCB platform for his name and fame
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2012 13:20:32 +0100

Dear All

Assalamu Alaikum WW

This so called leader of British Muslims again shows his true colours.  Many innocent Muslims lost their lives campaigning against Rushdie’s book, we in the UK spent valuable time, money and put huge effort into mobilising the Muslims of the UK into acting against slander of the Prophet SAW and his companions.  One of our lasting achievements from the Rushdie affair was the establishment of the UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs, through this we eventually established the MCB.  

When we read Bunglawala’s views about our campaign, the most depressing point is that it was this very MCB that promoted Mr Bunglawala, gave him a platform and made him famous by appointing him as the MCB spokesman.  Now that very same person calls our work, “…totally over the top and very embarrassing.”  How did it come to this?  How is it possible for us to be so callous and irresponsible that we could actively promote a person who held such nefarious views and allow him to use the MCB platform to promote himself, a platform directly built upon the very foundations of the anti-Rushdie campaign? 

And what about the timing, his views were given in the very week when Muslim protesters have again sacrificed their lives campaigning to defend their faith, this time against the disgusting American film denigrating Prophet Muhammad SAW.  It is clear that Banglawala is more concerned with pleasing his liberal friends than representing British Muslims.  This man is seriously lost and Muslim groups have to disassociate themselves from this opportunist once and for all.  This is a huge lesson for the MCB and he cannot be allowed to associate himself with the MCB or take part in or be a member of its activities.  Unlike last time his apologies cannot be accepted.


Please forward this message to other eminent UKACIA & MCB colleagues.


I don’t really know a lot about Hizbul Ulama (Lit: ‘The Party of Scholars’). I used to see a couple of figures from their organisation from time to time when I was active in the MCB.  I think they were from the Bradford area or thereabouts.

What is unfortunate about their email is that they do not seem to be able to grasp the fact that other Muslims might legitimately be able to have a different opinion from theirs about how to deal with Salman Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses. They do not offer any arguments about why they think I am wrong – it seems to be enough to upset them that I just disagree with their approach!

Over the years I have become increasingly concerned about the poor state of Muslim scholarship. Many of our ‘scholars’ are not particularly learned outside a very narrow field indeed. If Hizbul Ulama are so horrified by my views on the Satanic Verses just think what they will make of my views on Gay Rights, Evolution, etc.

I really do think it is important that we Muslims broaden our understanding of who constitutes the ‘ulama (scholars). A number of years back, during a visit to the Sudan I recall the extremely learned Muslim thinker Dr Hasan al-Turabi saying that an experienced doctor was an ‘alim (scholar) in his field, as was an engineer, a scientist etc.

We should develop and strengthen a culture of life-long education and be willing to learn from others. There is a heck of a lot of good in Europe and the West generally, and we should be willing to learn from the good in everyone.

I am a bit puzzled by the last sentence from Hizbul Ulama: ‘Unlike last time his apologies cannot be accepted.‘I am assuming that the ‘unlike last time’ bit refers to the fact that I have aired my views on Salman Rushdie’s book previously, but what do they mean by implying that ‘last time’ I ‘apologised’ for my views? I have never made an apology to them or anyone else.

Perhaps whoever from Hizbul Ulama wrote that email might want to come here and clarify what he (or more implausibly she) meant.

Anyway, I am hopeful that a newer younger generation of Muslims in the UK will agree that calling for a book to be pulped and withdrawn from sale is perhaps not the most intelligent way of dealing with a similar situation.

This entry was posted in Books, Extremism, Islam and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Inayat Bunglawala ‘Shows His True Colours’ re: Satanic Verses Affair

  1. cobalt11r says:

    It is letters such as this that make me wonder if it is possible for the West and Islam to communicate or value eachother. To my eyes this reads as a form of social blackmail, similar to the old ways of threatening excommunication or throwing someone outside of the city walls.

    The West chose freedom of speech a long time ago, to replace unswerving adherence to a single religion, in some ways this idea is a form of religion. Given this, how is it possible..?

    • cobalt11r: I don’t think it would be accurate to equate a group like Hizbul Ulama with the global faith and civilisation of Islam! As I said, many Muslim ‘scholars’ are in fact not well educated and have been unable to adequately respond to issues like gay rights, Darwin’s revolutionary theory and of course, the issue presently under discussion, the concept of free speech. However, as I said in my final paragraph, I am more hopeful that a newer and younger generation of Muslims – at least in the West – will better appreciate the fact that free speech means that we have to tolerate the ugly as well as the good (provided of course that the speech in question does not fall foul of our laws on inciting hatred). It is that very same freedom that allows Muslims to criticise the core beliefs of others eg, the Christian Trinity.

      • cobalt11r says:

        Thanks 🙂 yes, had a look into them after the protests the other day. i hope you are right. I’ve read a little of Christain history to know that the trinity becoming enshrined as an idea was as a response to Greek thought. Religion evolves in this way.
        And yet the beauty of what lies behind our human religions dwarfs us, really 🙂
        For me, a belief is made sacred by ones own adherence, not by anothers. So, another cannot destroy what is there between you and your god, or faith.
        Though I see how the need to defend may be strong at times.

        Anyway, your response cheered me 🙂

  2. Ijaz Chaudry says:

    Salaam Inayat,

    I saw you on The Big Question on 13/01/2013.

    I am Muslim who does not believe in Sharia law, Hadith or Sunna, because they are all man made!!!

    I follow the Quran alone to Worship God alone. I have done over 20 years of research on the Quran. I have find out from the Quran that Evolution only happened to animals and plants based on this verse;
    The Origin of Man

    [32:7] He is the One who perfected everything He created, and started the creation of the human from clay.

    What (32:7) is saying is that all creation (animals & plants) were created and perfected before God ventured into creating humans from clay!!

    I have written an article called “Evolution fact or fiction”, this article confirms the scientic age of the earth with Quran, the age of when Adam came which coincides with the first Homo Sepiens who arrived on earth. And I have done this using the Miracle of 19 (74:30-35) and the Quran. If you are interested in this article, I will be pleased to send it to you.

    Kind regards


  3. Inayat Ganduwala says:

    Inayat is a disgrace. I believe he is a homosexual himself hence his position. Therefore he should just be removed from the public platform and saved from the abuse. He shall perish in his mind.

  4. Ahmed says:

    Very disingenuous Inayat, you should do the decent thing and make it loud and clear that you are no longer a member of MCB or any other Muslim organisation and the time from which you left the Muslim community body, it has not gone un-noticed that you never explicitly state that you have nothing to do with them anymore, one can only presume that this because you still require some reflected glory, as being a loner in the wilderness does nothing for your credibility and because Muslims4uk has only one elected member and one self-appointed leader…yourself.

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