19 Feb 2004
The Muslim Council of Britain welcomes Michael Howard’s strongly worded criticism of the racist British National Party during his speech in Burnley, this morning.
`For too long, the BNP have been left unchallenged by the political leaders in this country with the result that they have begun making poisonous inroads into several constituencies around the country. We hope that a clearly reinvigorated Conservative Party will now be able to win back some of their lost supporters who had abandoned ship during their party’s implosion over recent years and bring them back into the political mainstream. The cleverly refashioned BNP led by Nick Griffin are not a serious alternative they are the same violent and prejudiced characters, only now they have taken to wearing suits,’ said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
Speaking alongside Michael Howard, the former Secretary-General of the MCB, Yousuf Bhailok, said that the Conservative Leader, as a son of Russian and Romanian immigrants himself, was well placed to understand the fears and insecurities faced by immigrant communities in the UK. He urged the Conservative Party to give their full backing to support the comprehensive outlawing of religious discrimination in this country.
`The BNP have for the past few years been actively exploiting a legal loophole which while forbidding racial discrimination, does not outlaw religious discrimination. The main targets of BNP abuse and their disinformation campaign have been vulnerable Muslim communities. This has to be stopped,’ said Mr Bhailok.
At the same time, the MCB calls upon all political parties to work in a calm manner towards alleviating the genuine concerns of many of the British people concerns which provide the BNP with an opening to promote their bitter and divisive agenda.[Ends]
Note for Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain (www.mcb.org.uk) is the UK’s representative Muslim umbrella body with over 400 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
For further information please contact Tel: 07956 353 738[ENDS]