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Muslim Council of Britain Responds to the Prime
Minister's Speech on Extremism
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July
In response to the Prime Minister’s speech in Birmingham, Dr
Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, issued the
"We support sound evidence-based measures that
confront terrorism effectively. Muslims across the world and in our country
in particular, find the conduct and values of Daesh to be abhorrent. We
agree with the Prime Minister that we must de-glamourise the Daesh cause. It
is neither revolutionary, nor cool, and it certainly is against the
basic teachings of Islam. We all have a part to play in this, including the
We worry, however, that these latest suggestions will set new
litmus tests which may brand us all as extremists, even though we uphold and
celebrate the rule of law, democracy and rights for all. Dissenting is a
proud tradition of ours that must not be driven underground.
Challenging extremist ideology is what we all want, but we need to define
tightly and closely what extremism is rather than perpetuate a deep
misunderstanding of Islam and rhetoric, which inevitably facilitates
extremists to thrive.
We have heard for too long now that Muslim
communities either condone, or are not doing enough to condemn the
extremists who act in their name. Yet, poll after poll indicates that this
is not the case.
Above all we must recognise that the paths to
extremism and terrorism are complex and varied. Of course Daesh is barbaric
and is based on a distortion of Islamic precepts but we must be careful
not to be over-dramatic and simplistic. There is no magic solution that will
make terrorism go away.
We urge the Prime Minister once again to
put his words into action - a one Nation Britain will emerge through
dialogue and engagement with all sections of the community including
mainstream Muslim organisations and those who have differing views.
The threat of Daesh is real, as is the appeal they hold on some young
people. We should not drive young people into the arms of extremist
recruiters by denying them a sense of dignity and self-worth. In this sense
we welcome the Prime Minister's call for better integration and for giving
young people better life outcomes. But these measures should be pursued in
spite of, not because of the terror threat we face.
Above all we
need to allow for real political issues to be discussed and debated robustly
and not drive our youth underground for fear of being cast extremist.
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body
500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations,
charities and schools.
See here a
Compendium of Muslim Condemnations of Terrorism
information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079
Stop the War Coalition
If you want Muslims to identify with Britain, don't demonise and bomb
David Cameron's 5-year plan, outlined today, represents yet
another government attack on British Muslims. It sidelines any serious
analysis of the root causes of terrorism.
Absent from his speech was
the vital role British foreign policy has played in the dramatic growth of
terrorism since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and subsequently the
bombing of Libya.
The speech denied a connection between 'radicalisation'
and Muslim's 'historic grievances'. The reason is simple; not content with
demonising domestic Muslim communities, he is trying to clear the way for
escalating the bombing campaign against Syria, a campaign he has already
started in secret and against the will of parliament.
vice-Chair of Stop the War, said "The attacks on the Muslim communities are
part of a concerted attempt to avoid a serious discussion about
consequences, causes or history. In place of rational debate, we are being
asked – told in fact – to believe instead that extremism is all about what
Muslims do and don't do."
1. The Stop
the War Coalition was founded in 2001 to stop the military intervention in
Afghanistan proposed by the United States and its allies against
‘terrorism’. In 2003 it brought together 2 million people - Britain’s
largest demonstration - to oppose intervention in Iraq. Since then it has
continued to oppose the so called war on terror, campaigning against
interventions in Libya and Syria.
Chamberlain Stop the War Coalition :
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