22 Nov 2005
The Muslim Council of Britain has submitted a response to the Government’s consultation paper ‘Preventing Extremism – Places of Worship’ in which it rejects the association between mosques and threats to the safety and well-being of society. The response is based on a consultation exercise within the community, including a one-day meeting of imams and Islamic scholars convened by the MCB. It was their unequivocal view that the legislative proposals would have an alienating effect and there was also concern that wrong conclusions were being drawn from the Finsbury Park Mosque episode.
The specific proposals to give ‘controllers’ of places of worship powers to exclude persons or groups, and for courts to have the power to order the closure of places of worship were also questioned and considered unnecessary. State interference in the running of mosques was deemed inappropriate.
‘One cannot understate the community’s concerns at the extreme measures envisaged in relation to mosques. I hope our submission will help you [the Home Secretary] appreciate the mood of serious apprehension that is felt throughout the Muslim community. There can be nothing more upsetting than the Government’s targeting of places of worship in any sweeping measures to combat terrorism’, wrote Sir Iqbal Sacranie, MCB Secretary General in a letter sent to the Home Secretary with the Council’s submission.
The absence of objective and accepted definitions of terms such as ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ used in the Consultation Paper was noted and it was felt that Britain was being pushed to become a society where the articulation of new, challenging, critical or innovative ideas will be inhibited.
Notes to Editors:
For the full text of the response see http://www.mcb.org.uk/uploads/pow.pdf