THE “Muslim Council of UK” have found themselves in the news after speaking out against Humza Yousaf – but who are the unknown “council”, and do they carry any weight at all?

Here's everything we know.

This paper first became aware of the “Muslim Council of UK” after some Unionist campaigners began sharing a story from the Express on the weekend of February 11.

The story – which the Express has since deleted – quoted one Wasif Ahmad, the "chair of the Muslim Council of UK", attacking the SNP-Green government.

The quote from Ahmad was wrongly attributed to the “chair of the Muslim Council of Britain” (MCB). The MCB is a real organisation led by secretary-general Zara Mohammed. In reality, it does not have a chair.

READ MORE: 10 things that changed my life: Zara Mohammed of the Muslim Council of Britain

Ahmad's quote originated from a Facebook post from the Indian Council of Scotland. This group is run by Neil Lal, who as this paper has formerly reported has links to the Conservatives, being the former chair and president of the Scottish Conservatives Friends of India group.

Contacted by The National at the time, the MCB said that not only is Ahmad not the chair of their organisation, he holds no position with them whatsoever, even in association.

A source with knowledge of the MCB and the Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) told The National that in a decade of involvement with such organisations they had never encountered the name Wasif Ahmad.

It seems they are not the only ones.

Naveed Asghar, a former Tory candidate who chairs the Conservative Muslim Forum in Scotland, said: “Can I ask who the Muslim Council UK are? Do they have a registered address and contact details? As I have never heard of them. I chair the Conservative Muslim Forum in Scotland."

Asghar claimed that the Muslim Council of the UK is not an organisation because it consists principly of one man, Ahmad. 

He said it was "a fake organisation with zero credentials. Simply brought about to advance the aims of one individual".

Days after this journalist raised similar concerns on Twitter on February 11, Lal got in touch and said the "Muslim Council of UK" was considering publicly levelling accusations of Islamophobia against him. 

So where did Wasif Ahmad, and the “Muslim Council of UK” come from?

The answer to that became clearer after this paper again encountered the “council”, after they released a comment attacking Yousaf alongside the Indian Council of Scotland.

Published on February 22, the comment made the Express once again, and was again promoted by Unionist stalwarts on social media.

Ahmad’s council has had a minor rebrand in the intervening days, now being called the “Muslim Council of the UK” and having a new logo. However, it is still not affiliated with the MCB or the MCS.

This paper contacted Lal (below left), and soon after was contacted in turn by Ahmad (below right).

The National:

Asked when the “Muslim Council of the UK” had been set up, he claimed it had existed for three years, having first been established in Manchester during the pandemic. He said it had since relocated to Scotland.

Asked what affiliated groups the council represented or worked with, Ahmad replied: “Mosques.”

Asked which Mosques, he refused to say.

Ahmad also refused to name anyone else on the board of the “Muslim Council of the UK”, or even say how many other people were involved.

However, he insisted that there were other board members and they had been elected at some point.

Asked who had elected them, he replied: “The community.”

Ahmad further said that the reason there was no trace of the Muslim Council of UK online – other than a Facebook page created on February 21 – is because they had deleted their presence due to Islamophobic attacks.

Asked how he had managed to expunge all mention of the council from the internet, Ahmad would not say.

Closing the conversation, he said: "Any attack on us we will treat it as Islamophobia."

Connections between Lal and Ahmad appear to go deeper, as the two each have businesses registered at the same address, according to UK Government records.

Companies House lists Lal as being a director of ASL and Co Scotland Ltd. This is registered at 64 Craig House, Darnley Street, Glasgow.

It also lists Ahmad as the director of Trade Link Consultancy Ltd, which is registered at the same address.

The two appear together in an image shared alongside the latest statement attacking Yousaf, which is the latest in a long line to come from Lal’s “Indian Council of Scotland”.

Muslim Council of Britain steps in

On Wednesday evening, the MCB issued an extraordinary statement about the "unknown entity" called the Muslim Council of UK. 

It said: "The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is a democratic body that represents a wide cross-section of British Muslim communities. The MCB has not issued any comment on any matters pertaining to the SNP leadership race.

"The organisation referring to itself as the ‘Muslim Council of the UK’, and Mr Wasif Ahmad, described as the chairman of this organisation, has no association with the MCB or our network of affiliates across the UK.

"It is of note that the only online trace pertaining to this entity is a Facebook page that seems to have been created yesterday, and the only name reported to be associated with it is that of the aforementioned Mr Wasif Ahmed. We would ask that media outlets examine the credentials of this organisation and on whose behalf it speaks as a matter of priority.

"For reference, the MCB does not endorse political parties, or individual candidates, and aims to work with elected representatives from all parties for the common good."