12th July 2001
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) will press for a Commission of Inquiry, similar to the Scarman Commission, into the disturbances in the North of England when it meets with Home Office Minister Angela Eagle on Monday 16th July 2001 at 3.00pm.
“Now is the time to separate unacceptable, mindless violence from the festering causes of discontent that made such appalling events possible. We have to bring hope and build harmony in neglected communities by determined, clear sighted collective endeavour” says MCB Secretary General, Yousuf Bhailok.
A public inquiry will provide a framework whereby the frustrations of all sections of these communities can be expressed and investigated honestly and openly. There is a need to examine the failures and shortcomings of policies that have not advanced a genuine multicultural society, despite the willingness of the great majority of people to live together in harmony and work for the common good of our society.
The MCB is deeply troubled by attempts to turn racism into Islamophobia. “We have to get beyond generalities,” says Mr Bhailok. There are complex, local, particular and different contributory causes as well longstanding general conditions of social and economic deprivation. We need to understand how and why policy actually falls short or fails, or where it works. We need to address the specifics, including the role of criminal elements and fascist groups, so we can get the right help presented in the right way to get the best results. A public inquiry is the proper way to bring clarity and new purpose to the task.
“There is now a stronger case to outlaw Religious Discrimination and Incitement to Religious Hatred. What we have seen in recent weeks is the kind of Britain none of us want to live in. It is time to begin a new chapter by defining, making clear and bringing into existence the multicultural Britain we can genuinely share in security, with mutual respect, in fairness and equity for all” says Yousuf Bhailok The delegation will meet the Press after the meeting. [Ends]