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UK: No place for Islamophobia in British society, says Prime Minister May in exclusive interview

2nd Jun 2017
UK: No place for Islamophobia in British society, says Prime Minister May in exclusive interview

By Ahmed J Versi

London, (The Musilm News): Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged her commitment to working with the Muslim community and remains adamant that there is “no place” for Islamophobia in British society.
In an exclusive interview with The Muslim News, the Conservative Party Leader also confirmed that she wants to extend the controversial Prevent Extremism programme through a new Commission for Counter Extremism that would examine at all types of extremism.

She also defended her party fielding fewer than half the number of Muslim candidates at this general election compared with 2015; she also stood behind her decision to back Zac Goldsmith campaign to regain Richmond after being accused of Islamophobia during his failed attempt to defeat Sadiq Khan in his historic victory to become London mayor last year.

Leader of Liberal Democrats, Tim Fallon, sacked his party’s candidate David Ward over his anti-Semitic views following May’s insistence at the PMQs to sack him. So why did she not sack Goldsmith for his Islamophobic attacks against Khan? May argued Goldsmith’s Islamophobic outbursts during the London mayoral elections were different.

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“When Zac was standing against Sadiq Khan, he raised some issues about some of the relationships that Sadiq had in the past. It is important that people are able to explore things when they are looking to elect somebody to a key role such as Mayor of London,” she said.

But she also insisted that her party needed to be “very clear that Islamophobia has no place in our society. Hate crime of any sort has no place in our society” she said, arguing that it was “important that we record it properly”.

Encouraging Muslims to report Islamophobic attacks, May said, “We need to work to ensure, particularly women from the Muslim community, are confident enough to come forward and report this.”

May denied that terror attacks like the recent Manchester Arena bombing has led the Government and politicians to see Muslims through the prism of extremism and terrorism.

The Conservative Leader said that it should be clear that “what has driven many of these attacks is Islamist ideology. This is not about Islam.”

“What we need to do is to work with the Muslim community to ensure that we are not just promoting British values but that the Muslim community feels able to play a full part in our society,” she said.

“The way I look at it is very simple. That actually people from the Muslim community living here in the UK are contributing to our economy, contributing to our society. And will have the same hopes and concerns about their children getting good school places, about ensuring NHS is there to support them if they need it, about wanting to see job being created, good opportunities for their children’s future. And that’s where we can work together to ensure that we all are part of one community that is the United Kingdom.”

May nonetheless pledged to examine “the integration strategy to help people in communities to be fully part of our society in the United Kingdom. We do need to deal with extremism that can lead to radicalisation but what we want to do is set up a Commission for Counter Extremism [which] would cover extremism of all sorts. That is absolutely crucial as we do at the moment. We don’t just look at one particular type of extremism, we deal [with] extremism of all sorts.”

Addressing the growing criticism of the Prevent strategy and calls for an independent review, as recommended by the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson and the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee, whose report concluded a growing reluctance by Muslim women “to engage with us for fear that our inquiry was part of the Prevent programme,” May said that the Government had already looked at the programme when she was Home Secretary. “Prevent is not targeting any particular community. Prevent is about dealing with extremism in all its forms. A proportion of the work that Prevent does is dealing with far right extremism.”

“What prevent is about is preventing targeting of vulnerable people by radicalisers. So it is aiming to support communities in that sense to ensure that vulnerable people are not targeted by radicalisers. The Channel stream of Prevent has worked for quite a number of people and helped them to be protected from that radicalisation.”

Under Cameron, the Conservatives had their first two Muslim MPs elected in 2010 and the number was increased to three in 2015 when the party fielded a total of 19 Muslim candidates. Only the three incumbent MPs seem likely to be re-elected from only nine Muslim candidates standing in the forthcoming General Election.

May accepted that there was “more” the party could do to reflect the Muslim population. “It is important for a party that we have a good spread of candidates, good diversity of candidates. We have some excellent Muslim MPs who would, as you said, be standing again. We have overall very good candidates from BME communities here in the UK.”

She herself had been “heavily involved in the party in encouraging more women to come forward to stand for the party and seeing more women elected as Conservative MPs,” she said. “I know as a party we want to look at the experience we have had there and see how we can encourage more candidates from various communities – Black and Minority Ethnic communities to come forward and stand as MPs for us too. And that includes the Muslim communityon

[Photo: Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi interviewing Prime MInister, Theresa May, at the Conservative HQ,  on 31 May 2017.]

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One Response to “UK: No place for Islamophobia in British society, says Prime Minister May in exclusive interview”

ShorifJune 22, 2017

It’s such a shame it took such as tragedy such as the recent attack on Finsbury Park that Islamophobia is put into the spotlight.

These Islamophobes have been created by bias media and politicians to serve their own purposes.

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