This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/6841
January 20, 2015
MIM: Note the constant praising of Islam and that the writers claim that the Islamist atrocities are "an affront to Islam " and that the UK " would be diminished without its strong Muslim communities" and the worry that Muslims will be victimized "by the thugs of the English Defence League and Britain first". Muslims are also advised to contact an "anti discrimination" group called "TELL MAMA" which is run by Fayiz Mughal himself a radical Islamist. The group was discredited and lost its financial backing for making false claims of Muslim victimization.
We have recently seen terrible atrocities committed in Paris. Finding the right response to these events is a challenge for everyone. The hijacking of a great faith to justify such heinous crimes sickens us all. As Muslims around the world have made clear, such actions are an affront to Islam.
And yet, amid the carnage, came a sign of hope – over three million people of all backgrounds, marching to defeat the gunmen and to protect our values: free speech, the rule of law, and democracy.
We are proud of the reaction of British communities to this attack. Muslims from across the country have spoken out to say: not in our name.
But there is more work to do. We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them. We must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement: that their right to do so is dependent on the very freedoms that extremists seek to destroy. We must show them the multitude of statements of condemnation from British Muslims; show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world.
Let us assure you that the Government will do all we can to defeat the voices of division, but ultimately the challenges of integration and radicalisation cannot be solved from Whitehall alone. Strong community-based leadership at a local level is needed.
You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity. We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today. There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country. We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam; but we need to show what is.
British values are Muslim values. Like all faiths, Islam and its message of peace and unity makes our country a better and stronger place, and Britain would be diminished without its strong Muslim communities. Every day, mosques and other faith institutions across the country are providing help for those in need, and acting as a centre for our communities. It is these positive contributions that are the true messages of faith and it is these contributions that need to be promoted.
We would also like to reassure you that in recent days we have met with police chiefs to make sure they are providing the support that mosques need, a concern that some of you have expressed in our recent discussions. We have also met with the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group to hear their concerns about responses to the recent attacks and what more can be done.
Anyone experiencing violence should report it to the police online on the True Vision website or to TELL MAMA, a service to provide support specifically to Muslim victims of hatred. The vitriol espoused by the thugs of the English Defence League and Britain First is just as much an affront to British values as the teachings of preachers of hate.
For organisations experiencing problems with such preachers, information about free legal advice is available from LawWorks at www.lawworks.org.uk/community-groups or the Bar Pro Bono Unit at www.barprobono.org.uk, and the Charity Commission has published a toolkit for charity leaders to help protect their organisations from abuse by extremists.
We welcome your thoughts, ideas and initiatives on how to ensure that Islam's true message of peace triumphs over those who seek to divide our communities.
Thank you for all the positive work you are doing, and we look forward to working with you further. We continue to appreciate all your insights.
THE RT HON ERIC PICKLES MP
LORD TARIQ AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2916346/Government-tells-UK-mosques-battle-extremists.html#ixzz3PJa0S6N9
"Bradford mosques leader demands apology over terror letter," by Jo Winrow, Telegraph & Argus, January 19, 2015 (thanks to Block Ness):
MUSLIM leaders in Bradford have called on a key Government minister to apologise over a letter written to mosques in England urging them to do more to root out extremists and prevent young people being radicalised.
Mohammed Rafiq Sehgal, president of the Bradford Council for Mosques, has called the letter from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles "highly objectionable on several grounds" and said it "blames and targets the Muslim community".
He said: "The statement incorrectly implies that Muslims are not part of the British society and are at unease with it, hence, they need to do more to be inclusive.
"We ask why the letter has only been sent to the Muslim leaders and not more widely to the leadership of other faiths and non-faith communities. This clearly suggests that in Mr Pickles' views Muslims are solely to be blamed for terrorists' activities. This is typical of the thinking among the Government ministers and the security agencies.
"Mr Eric Pickles and his partner in crime Lord Ahmad are guilty of overlooking the fact that for British Muslims Britain is their home and take the safety of their ‘home' very seriously. Therefore, for senior politicians to continuously pick on Muslims and blame them for the activities of terrorists who do not care for the faith of their victims, is unjustified and grossly out of context.
"We ask Mr Pickles to publicly apologise to the Muslim community for bringing this peaceful section of the British society into disrepute. "Blaming Muslims may win Mr Pickles and his party some support from the right wing voters but it does not help good community relations."
Dr Mohammed Iqbal, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association for Bradford North, also told the Telegraph & Argus: "I am a very firm believer that we should root out extremism wherever it is and I think we have a big part to play in that. But the timing of this letter is counter productive. It's going to create tensions which don't need to be created.
"Extremism is being driven by the internet and by developments totally outside this county. This letter puts immense pressure on the Muslim community."
Today, the Prime Minister sprang to Mr Pickles's defence.
Speaking at an event in Ipswich, David Cameron Mr Pickles had been "absolutely right" to write the letter and to make the point that everyone had a duty to fight extremism.
"Anyone, frankly, reading this letter, who has a problem with it, I think really has a problem. I think it is the most reasonable, sensible, moderate letter that Eric could possibly have written.
"Frankly, all of us have a responsibility to try to confront this radicalisation and make sure that we stop young people being drawn into this poisonous fanatical death cult that a very small minority of people have created."
Shipley MP Philip Davies also supported Mr Pickles.
"Clearly there is a problem with Islamic extremism, and the whole of the Muslim community need to play a full part in prevent this radicalisation from taking place and ensuring everyone integrates fully into a British way of life and British values," he said.
"The Government cannot do that alone and it is right for Eric Pickles to reach out to the Muslim community in this way to make sure that everyone works together to root out the cancer of terrorism, intolerance and Islamic extremism in this country which is clearly a threat to our country."…
Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway said: "While it might be well-intentioned it is actually crass and offensive and helps to further stigmatise and vilify Muslims.
"Would Eric Pickles send such a letter to all churches warning them to guard against EDL extremists and racists, or to synagogues over the bombings and killings of innocent civilians in Gaza? Of course he wouldn't.
"Muslims don't need to patronised and told that killing innocent people is wrong, they know it, as do those of all faiths and none.
"He should be looking at the policies of his Government and preceding ones which have caused murder, mayhem and created distress and hatred among 1.6 billion Muslims, in this country and worldwide, and address these rather than lecturing them about what is right and wrong."
MIM: The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK equivalent of CAIR. They took it upon themselves to take umbrage at a letter which they never received. Note the boilerplate statements regarding how all Muslims "have stood united at the condemnation of these horrific crimes" blatantly ignoring the fact that it was praised by many Muslims worldwide. They all claim that "the terrorists seek to divide us" thus casting themselves as victims. They also go on the offensive stating that they "reject suggestions that Muslims must prove their loyalty to this country of ours". A rather poor choice of words and inadvertent broadcasting of the MCB's true goal to turn the United Kingdom into the United Kaliphate.
The following is the Muslim Council of Britain's response to the letter from Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, to all mosques.
Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
19th January 2015
Dear Mr Pickles,
I hope this letter finds you well.
I am writing to you concerning our common objective to seek unity and cohesion between communities following the terrible attacks in France between 7 and 9 January.
It is critically important that all of us; politicians, civil society, and faith leaders stand together in unity and defy the terrorists who wish to divide us. These last ten days have been one of sorrow and heightened tensions following the attacks in Paris. It is one where Muslims from all backgrounds have stood united in condemnation at these horrific crimes.
Last night, we were asked by the BBC to comment on a letter you had sent to Imams and leaders around the country. Indeed, as one of the largest Muslim umbrella bodies in this country, we did not receive this letter.
We take the point that your letter was written in good faith, and we agree with your assertion that British values are indeed Islamic values. However, we do take issue with the implication that extremism takes place at mosques, and that Muslims have not done enough to challenge the terrorism that took place in our name.
This is why we responded to the media, and an assertion in some quarters, that you were somehow endorsing the idea that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society. We reject such notions.
We also reject suggestions that Muslims must go out of their way to prove their loyalty to this country of ours.
That is why we applaud your response, and that of our Home Secretary, when Mr Nigel Farage suggested that multiculturalism was to blame for terrorism and that there was a fifth column in this country.
The Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim communities around the country have redoubled their efforts to bring communities together and defy extremists of all kinds who want to divide societies. A few days ago, we took the responsible step of bringing together a diverse set of British imams to call for peace and calm ahead of the publication of the English version of Charlie Hebdo.
And on Friday we hosted a solidarity meeting with Jewish and Christian faith leaders and leaders from Civil society in Manchester and London. We have done this not out of apology, but because it was the right thing to do. These are positive acts that bring harmony between our communities. We have spoken out strongly against Islamophobia and anti-semitism on numerous occasions.
This week Muslims have experienced heightened tension when Mosques and Muslim institutions have been attacked and sent hate mail. Faith communities – Muslim, Jewish, Christian and others, are all playing their part in pushing back on this and fostering unity and hope across communities.
As evidenced by the media reporting in the last 24 hours, what you have to say matters too. That is why we feel your letter to Muslims, at this critical time, could have been worded differently.
While welcoming your desire to communicate with the leadership of the Muslim community, we are puzzled as to why this has not been received by the largest democratically-elected and representative Muslim organisation. Even though we have not had an opportunity to engage, I am extending our hand of friendship, dialogue and unity in the hope we can work together for the national interest.
As a Muslim body, our members expect us to remain independent and be critical friends while seeking the common good for all. We would welcome a meeting to discuss how we can work together to combat the threat of radicalisation.
Dr Shuja Shafi
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/6841