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Press release

Dr Siddiqui highlights mishandling of Muslim alienation given Irish experience

Responding to Irish World’s leader ‘Does history teach us nothing?’ (Feb 10) following recent police raids in Birmingham in connection with an alleged terror plot, Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament has welcomed expression of solidarity from the Irish community, providing background to how Muslim alienation has been mishandled. Text of his email to Frank Murphy, the Editor, is as follows:

I write to thank you for your excellent editorial, Does history teach us nothing?, on 10 Feb.

When the debate began back in 1998 on whether to extend anti-terror laws from Northern Ireland to mainland Britain I said, “No evidence exists to link British Muslims to any act of terrorism at home or abroad…. British Muslims are at the bottom of all socio-economic piles. They suffer not only from racial, but also religious discrimination in jobs, housing and education.

The Government should introduce policies to help lift them from the disadvantaged position in society and bring them back into the mainstream. Going down the road that this Bill proposes will marginalise and further alienate disillusioned, young, British Muslims who will simply lose faith in the system.

The ghettos in which they live will become breeding grounds for radicals and extremists who will wreak havoc in the community in five to 10 years’ time,” (The Guardian, 2 Sept. 1998).

Instead, the government chose to bring in a series of anti-terror laws that have had the affect of demonising and criminalising an entire community.

After 7/7 we asked the government to hold an independent inquiry to find out what led some Muslim young men to commit such atrocities, as we owe it to the relatives of the victims and to the Muslim community to find out where we have gone wrong. The excuse Tony Blair gave for not holding an inquiry is that it would be a waste of resources and valuable time. But tax payers' money is being spent on numerous futile anti-terror raids which receive sensationalist media coverage demonising the Muslim community.

We know that our intelligence services have used jihadist salafism (a Saudi promoted ideology which preaches hatred for the unbelievers) in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosova to pursue their foreign policy objectives. During the ‘Afghan jihad’, young Muslim volunteers were trained by British intelligence and the CIA to make explosives from household items, among other things. Now having created the Franksteinean monster they don’t want others to know what role they played in creating it. After all they were dealing with the ex-colonials.

An independent inquiry would have helped isolate jihadists but by criminalizing the entire community we have provided them with a support base.

We thank the Irish community for their solidarity. We value greatly the Irish experience and look forward to working with Dr. Mary Tilki, Chair of the Federation of Irish Societies.

For further information, please contact:

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, 020 8563 1995/ 07860 259289




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