The focus this week has been on the advocacy group MEND and how they are allegedly cosying up to ‘extremist’ views.

Channel Four's Dispatches tonight (March 26) looked to paint MEND as an organisation which publicly claims to promote community cohesion but has volunteers who do quite the opposite in meetings and on social media.

It didn’t take long for all those groups not particularly happy with MEND and for that matter CAGE lining up to comment about what a 'nasty bunch' they are.

This is constantly backed up by sections of the media keen to single out groups like MEND who they feel are not truly representative of the views of Muslims.

It is a battle for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims. So, one must try to discredit these groups as much as we can.

But here lies the conundrum. The more you try to discredit MEND and their supporters the more attractive they become.

And whilst they may well be discredited in the mainstream, privately their reputation amongst Muslims will remain intact. And this is all that matters when you are trying to reach a hard to reach population.

This is why we are in a complex situation where countless groups are popping up in different guises all with the aim of ‘wanting to tackle issues within the Muslim community’.

Many of these are created like those in our forefathers days – on the back of projects that sound good on paper but have very limited affect on grassroots populations.

I’m going to be honest I’m not the greatest fan of MEND. The campaign to target the primary school earlier this year and their supposed hijab ban felt wrong after the initial point had been raised.

Which I wrote about here.

But I have respect for them as they will endeavour NOT to sell us out to the highest bidder for exposure on some TV channel or a national newspaper.

I am seriously sick of seeing the same faces rolled out to comment on Muslim issues just because they tend to say what the white middle classes want to hear.

Groups like MEND are also likely to make it known what is bothering Muslims rather than dress it up to fit a particular narrative.

I do agree these issues should be raised and on these very pages I always been proud to be able to write what I want want without interference about what Muslims may or may not want to hear.

Muslims have a whole load of political and ideological grievances and if MEND in some way are helping to channel those emotions through political action then what on earth is the problem?

The group describes itself as an ‘Anti-Islamophobia NGO aiming to empower and encourage Muslims to be more engaged in media and politics’. 

I thought this is what we were being encouraged to do? Get political – get active  and get out and vote? Apparently not.

It seems we aren’t allowed to let these views be known because we are still viewed as our parent’s generation were by the powers that be. We need suitable intermediaries who can translate policies and issues.

We, it seems, need to know our place.

Things have moved on yet the Home Office is still stuck in a very much 1980s modus operandi.

Moreover, the fact is that Muslims essentially don’t want to be represented by anyone and to be constantly told that we should be adhering to the principles one group or ‘spokesperson’ is espousing is clearly patronising.

We are more than intelligent enough and well versed enough to represent ourselves.

Pity, no-one seems to see that.