Topic initiated on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 4:57 PM
|Muslim Community Response (NEWS)|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release: Unprecedented Muslim Community Response to Proposed
London, UK, August 16 - Leading Muslim groups and personalities in the
UK have come together in an unprecedented way, formulating and issuing a
six point statement in response to some of the recently proposed
anti-terrorism measures in the aftermath of the London bombings.
Signatories of the statement include Islamic Party of Britain, Islamic Human Rights Commission,
Muslim Association of Britain, FOSIS, Q News magazine, An-Nisa Society,
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, Yvonne Ridley and Islam Channel, Shaikh Haitham
Haddad, and Islamic Forum Europe amongst others. More organisations and
personalities within the community continued sending in their support
even after the deadline for release, and the signatories remain open to
many others endorsing the message.
The statement reiterates the Muslim community's unequivocal denunciation
of acts of terrorism and stresses that the Muslim community "has always
been a law-abiding community and all its endeavours to create a just
society have been entirely peaceful".
In brief, the six points of the statement are:
1. The term extremism has no tangible legal meaning or definition
and is therefore unhelpful and emotive.
2. The right of people anywhere in the world to resist invasion and
occupation is legitimate.
3. Questioning the legitimacy of the Israeli state is legitimate
4. The proposal to ban the non-violent organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir
is unwarranted, unjust and unwise.
5. Arbitrary closure of mosques may prevent legitimate political
discourse in mosques fuelling a radical sub-culture.
6. Deporting foreign nationals to countries known for gross human
rights abuses is abhorrent.
The signatories of the statement conclude by saying, "This list of
concerns is not conclusive, but we are putting these issues forward to
help prevent a knee-jerk reaction to recent events which would drive a
rift between communities in the UK and set the course of British
politics onto the slippery slope of intellectual censorship and
THE FULL TEXT OF THE STATEMENT AND SIGNATORIES FOLLOWS BELOW.
[ ENDS ]
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
A MUSLIM COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO SOME OF THE PROPOSED ANTI-
As members of the Muslim community the undersigned individuals and organisations
feel the need to communicate our view regarding some of the recently proposed antiterrorism measures in the aftermath of the London bombings, and address statements made by the Prime Minister in the past few weeks. The British Muslim community has always been a law-abiding community and all its endeavours to create a more just society have been entirely peaceful. We fear that recent events are being exploited by some sections in society to demonise legitimate Islamic values and beliefs and hence consider it appropriate to make the following observations:
1. The term “extremism”, frequently used in the public discourse about religion and
terrorism, has no tangible legal meaning or definition and is thus unhelpful and emotive. To equate ‘extremism’ with the aspirations of Muslims for Shariah laws in the Muslim world or the desire to see unification towards a Caliphate in the Muslim lands, as seemed to be misrepresented by the Prime Minister, is inaccurate and disingenuous. It indicates ignorance of what the Shariah is and what a Caliphate is and will alienate and victimise the Muslim community unnecessarily.
2. The Muslim community in Britain has unequivocally denounced acts of terrorism.
However, the right of people anywhere in the world to resist invasion and occupation is legitimate. Therefore the proposal to criminalise ‘justification’ or ‘validation’ of such self defence appears to be intended to stifle discussion about, and support for, such resistance. Thus anyone even verbally opposing the illegal invasion of Iraq, for example, could in future be made out to be justifying and supporting ‘acts of terrorism’ and prosecuted. We are concerned that these proposed measures are intended to prevent the popular opposition witnessed in the run- up to the Iraq war should the United States wish to attack Iran, Syria or any other sovereign nation in the near future.
3. It is natural for Muslims to feel sympathy with fellow Muslims elsewhere in the
world and to desire justice for those of them living under oppression. Many people compare the Israeli reality with South African apartheid and demand a similar solution. To denounce anybody who questions the legitimacy of Israel will be seen as an attempt to silence academic thought and legitimate political _expression. If the government hopes to pander to Zionist pressure by condemning and excluding from this country people who are critical of Israeli apartheid, it is in fact supporting apartheid.
4. The proposal to ban the non-violent organisation Hizb ut- Tahrir is, in our view, unwarranted, unjust and unwise, and runs counter to all the principles which Western democracies are currently trying to promote abroad. Any disagreement with a political organisation must be expressed through debate not censorship. Whatever objections one may have to someone else’s point of view, we must uphold their right to hold and articulate those views. If it is suggested that any laws have been broken by any individuals or groups then this must be proven by due legal process. Criminalising the mere possession of certain opinions is the hallmark of dictatorships, not democracies.
5. The same reasoning applies to the proposal to close mosques if they are arbitrarily defined as being ‘extremist’ or to try and politically influence what may or may not be said during a religious talk. This would amount to a collective punishment of the community and will be likely to create fear and prevent legitimate political discussion within mosques. This repression could lead to the very radical subculture which we all seek to prevent.
6. The proposal to deport and/or extradite foreign nationals to countries known for gross human rights abuses is abhorrent to a civilized nation, irrelevant of whether or not a diplomatic assurance that deportees will not be mistreated is obtained. This recent move comes across as a cynical attempt to resolve the problem of dealing with those currently under “control orders” after the judiciary found their continued detention without trial to be unlawful. Given that the alleged bombers on 7 July in London were British nationals, such an exploitation of the events to move against foreign nationals as well as unwanted asylum seekers is indeed shameful.
This list of concerns is not conclusive, but we are putting these issues forward to help
prevent a knee-jerk reaction to recent events which would drive a rift between communities in the UK and set the course of British politics onto the slippery slope of intellectual censorship and totalitarianism.
1. 1990 Trust
2. Al-Ikhlas Foundation
3. An-Nisa Society
4. Algerian Community in Britain – Supporters of FIS
5. Association of Muslim Lawyers
6. Bangla 2000
8. Centre of Muslim Affairs
9. Comparative Religious Centre Ltd
10. Crescent International
11. Dr Usama Hasan
12. Forum Against Islamophobia & Racism (FAIR)
13. Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS)
14. Friends of al-Aqsa
15. Hasan al-Thaqafi - Islam Channel
16. Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
17. Imam Shakeel Begg - Kent & Lewisham Islamic Centre
18. Innovative Minds
19. International Muslims Organisation
20. Islam Channel
21. Islamic Forum Europe
22. Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
23. Islamic Observatory Centre
24. Islamic Party of Britain
26. Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
27. Muslim Directory
28. New Civilization Foundation
29. Party for Islamic Renewal
30. Prisoners of the West
32. Racial Attacks & Harassment Monitoring Association (RAHMA)
33. Salam Magazine
34. Sheykh Haitham al-Haddad - Shariah Council UK
35. Sheykh Suliman Gani
36. Stop Political Terror
37. World Islamic Propagation Establishment UK
38. Yvonne Ridley – Political Editor, Islam Channel
15 August 2005
Islamic Party of Britain