22 Nov 2003
The British Muslim community has reacted with shock and dismay at the comments made last night by the Foreign Office Minister, Denis MacShane in which he called on British Muslims to choose between the “British way” of political dialogue and non-violence and the “way of the terrorists”.
“The British Muslim community does not need to be lectured to in the ways of non-violence by a representative of a government that has just conducted an unlawful war against Iraq in the face of worldwide opposition. Indeed, UK Muslims have shown tremendous restraint over the past year and have participated actively in large numbers in the huge and peaceful anti-war demonstrations that have taken place in this country alongside their fellow British citizens. Mr MacShane’s ill-informed and insulting remarks show no understanding of this reality,” said Mr Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The MCB has already unequivocally condemned the recent bombings in Istanbul and expressed sympathy for the families of the bereaved, both Turkish and British.
“Furthermore, if Mr MacShane is serious about wanting to reduce the dreadful phenomenon of terrorism in the world – a phenomenon that has clearly gained added impetus as a result of the ill-conceived war against Iraq – then he can begin by urging our government to work in a serious manner towards reducing some of the causes behind terrorism. He could start by urging the US government to place real diplomatic, financial and military pressure on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories and stop repressing the Palestinian people. That would be a practical step that would undoubtedly help stem the flood of recruits to radical groups,” said Mr Sacranie.[Ends]
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