Sunday, August 13, 2006

UK Muslim leaders face backlash wave over comments.

UK: I have been saying this for months, playing the victim card so many times will turn people against you and it looks like its starting in earnest.

That is not to say that the government is not right to try to win over Muslim opinion. If terror is to be defeated, you have first to drain the swamp. Muslims have to be persuaded that we are on the same side, that there is no witch-hunt against Islam and that the wars involving British troops are about stopping Islamists and the corruption of their religion. This means Muslims being alert to extremists in their ranks and being prepared to identify them to the police. It means Muslims becoming intolerant of radical mullahs and hounding them out of their mosques. Equally the authorities have a responsibility to crack down on extremists in universities and in prisons, to close internet sites and bookshops that spread hatred and violence, and to take all reasonable measures to protect their citizens. At times this may seem unjust. Muslims who visit Pakistan will have to be more closely scrutinised and it may seem that they are being systematically targeted. But Muslims will have to understand that it is their co-religionists who are bent on bombing trains and planes and that requires extraordinary measures. A mature Muslim response will be to co-operate and help to eradicate extremists in their midst. It requires the vast majority of Muslims to believe that their future is tied to Britain, a country in which their religion can be respected and freely practised. If the radicals succeed, it will foster only hatred and intolerance.
The Age:
AS LEADERS of Britain's Muslims appealed to Prime Minister Tony Blair to reduce tensions after last week's terror alert, a former London police chief has inflamed the debate by blaming Muslims for terrorist networks in the country. "When will the Muslim community in this country accept an absolute, undeniable, total truth: that Islamic terrorism is their problem?" wrote Lord Stevens, former commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police, in an opinion column for the News of the World. In their open letter to Mr Blair on Saturday, Muslim leaders urged him to alter his political stance on the Middle East, which they said provided "ammunition to extremists who threaten us all". Lord Stevens, whose continuing responsibilities include the inquiry into Princess Diana's death, called on Muslims to "stop the denial, endless fudging and constant wailing that somehow it is everyone else's problem and, if Islamic terrorism exists at all, they are somehow the main victims". He also defended racial profiling at airports and other hotspots, saying resources were being wasted on searching everybody out of a sense of fairness. "I'm a white, 62-year-old, suit-wearing ex-cop — I fly often, but do I really fit the profile of a suicide bomber?" Lord Stevens wrote. His comments clash with a speech delivered last week, before the latest arrests, by Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who said profiling had discriminated against Muslims and added to racial tensions in Britain. "Of course, there'll be instant squealings that this is racism. It's not," Lord Stevens insisted.
From the Independent:
Muslim leaders will today face Government demands to take tougher steps to root our extremists in their midst. The demand follows a furious reaction by ministers to an open letter signed by Muslim organisations and politicians protesting that Tony Blair's stance on Iraq and the Middle East provided "ammunition" to terrorists. Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities, will today hold talks with prominent Muslims. The talks have been hastily arranged since the alleged transatlantic bomb plot was exposed. A spokesman said she would "call for greater action to tackle terrorism". She also wanted to "hear what more the Government should do to support them". Ms Kelly will stress that communities of all ethnic backgrounds and faiths were potential victims and that terrorists could only be defeated by national unity. Relations between Ministers and Muslim leaders have soured after their open letter called for a shift in foreign policy "to show the world we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion". John Reid, Home Secretary, retorted that foreign policy could never be dictated by terrorists.

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