“After a difficult time for all communities, I take this opportunity to praise the Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP, for recognising that extremism requires a multitude of voices to challenge. Unity against the voices of division is a potent and powerful message.
We agree that Britain is diminished without its Muslim communities but we would extend that sentiment to all faith groups. Indeed, many Muslims up and down the country demonstrate the positives of their faith – be it handing out flowers of peace in places like Trafalgar Square or assisting the needy at food banks – we know the positives are out there but more is needed to highlight these altruistic and Islamic-inspired values.
Some mosques will find the letter of use if they require legal assistance on this matter but we must also acknowledge that the online world (and social media) act as key recruitment tools.
Many British Muslims already demonstrate a sense of pride in this country. In recent years polls found 77% Muslims in Britain strongly identify with Britain (higher than the general population) and 86.4% of Muslims feel they belong in this country (slightly above 85.9% of Christians.)
Clearly, British and Islamic values are not dissimilar and many already share a pride of what Britain offers them. Positive stories will help reinforce this message and it is up to all of us to meet these challenges.
Following an alarming anti-Muslim backlash in France following the Paris atrocities, ensuring police chiefs take mosque security seriously in Britain is most helpful. Yet, we must not lose sight of the potential problems. The recent graffiti at the University of Birmingham hints at far-right involvement – multiple swastikas were spray painted alongside the statement ‘Islam must die’ – it is now subject to a police investigation and reminds us all of another challenge we face. But we make the same call for unity in the face of far-right anti-Muslim extremism.”
Statement from the former Director of TELL MAMA, Fiyaz Mughal OBE