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Press release

7/7: One year on, many challenges remain – says Siddiqui

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament and Director of the Muslim Institute, speaking on ‘The state of British Islam – one year after the London bombings’, organised by Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, yesterday told the audience that the police must engage with the Muslim community in a meaningful way if we are to succeed in dealing with extremism and terrorism. The Muslim community is as much sick and tired of fundamentalism as everyone else. ‘Our security services helped to promote this madness during 80’s and 90’s for short-term gains but now refusing to recognise their role’, he remarked.

In his view there were lessons for the Muslim community to be learned as well in what happened in Forest Gate early last month.

"After 9/11 and 7/7, Muslims have lost their credibility and their innocence with law enforcement agencies and decision–makers. No longer are Muslims given the benefit of the doubt because they are no longer assumed to be a reliable, trustworthy, law-abiding and rational people. Muslims must wake up to this new reality and accept the challenge of winning hearts and minds of ordinary people within wider society.

"Events of 9/11 and 7/7 have also raised new questions about identity, citizenship and multi-culturalism, and the Muslims' ability to integrate and live in harmony with others. A major debate on these issues is yet to take place within the Muslim community. By insisting on living a 7th century life-style in a 21st century society they cannot expect a welcoming response. Their use of oriental dress, the way they want to run their educational institutions, their traditions of marrying their children abroad and, above all, their belief that their main reason for coming to Europe was to convert the heathen to their faith, require a major re-thinking. Today Muslim communities are segregated on the basis of culture, cast, colour and dogma. This gap could be bridged if we collectively decide not to marry our children abroad. Our integration in wider society will improve if we were to say loudly and clearly that we prefer to live here because this society is more just and fair and by promoting shared values we want to make it even more compassionate and caring society. This change of attitude would remove much misconception".

Dr Siddiqui went on to say, the influence of the intolerant ideology of militant salafism that espouses the virtues of a military interpretation of jihad, that caused 9/11 and 7/7 atrocities, is still thriving. One simply has to watch or read some of the Muslim-owned media in this country to recognise the depth of its influence. One sad fact is that mosques and madrasas have remained immune to the change. No significant effort has been made to involve youth and women in their management.

Concluding his remarks Dr Siddiqui said, "we need to study the history of migration to this country and how other communities have managed to become part of the mainstream. Jewish and Irish communities provide good examples. Engagement and pursuance of excellence are roots to acceptability and respectability. Engagement wins new friends who open new doors and excellence makes the new migrant community a part of the national furniture. They should change their attitude, abandon believing in conspiracy theories and come out as confident people".

Dr Siddiqui ended on an up-beat note: "One year after 7/7 things are not all gloomy. Major efforts have been made to improve relations between Jewish and Muslim communities, for example. Alif-Alef and the Commission for Muslims in Britain and Islamophobia are good examples of this cooperation. Muslim professional group, the City Circle, has emerged as a role model for youth organisation and community service. Equally important is emergence of ‘Muslims for Secular Democracy’ as a forum to confront obscurantism."

For more information, please contact:

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui – 020 8563 1995/ 07860 259289




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