Cameron belatedly looks at terror attacks against Muslims

30th Aug 2013

David Cameron Mosque visit

[PM David Cameron and Baroness Warsi meeting Imam Allama Qamaruz-Zaman Azmi at Jamia Mosque, Manchester]

Musa Naqvi in Manchester

Prime Minister, David Cameron, is looking at the growing problem of attacks against the Muslim community after initially remaining silent in the aftermath of a series of bombings targeting mosques last month.

“I condemn these attacks absolutely, but more important than condemnation is action,” Cameron said belatedly during a visit to Jamia Mosque in Manchester as the month of Ramadan drew to a close on August 8.

“I think we can say that this Government has taken action. The Police have acted very robustly in response to these attacks. Also the Government has changed the [counter terrorism] PREVENT Strategy to make sure that it was to combat all forms of extremism and violence, including extremism and violence against the Muslim communities.”

“I recognise the seriousness of this problem and that’s one of the reasons my extremism taskforce at its next meeting will be looking at the problem of violence against Muslim communities themselves,” he said after facing criticism by The Muslim News and Muslim community for not being strong enough in his response.

A series of attacks against Muslim targets included three terrorist bombings targeted at different mosques in West Midlands in July. When questioned at the time by The Muslim News Editor, Ahmed J Versi, why the Prime Minister had not condemned the attacks, his spokesperson simply said Cameron was “concerned by the recent events”.

“I did, I’ve condemned all of the bomb attacks against all the mosques and I condemn these attacks utterly,” Cameron insisted when challenged at Jamia Mosque. “I think it’s very important as I’ve said, the Police pursue those responsible, it’s completely and utterly unacceptable in our country,” he told The Muslim News.

“I would argue that this Government has done more than any previous government to combat Islamophobia in all its forms. We’ve changed the prevent strategy. We’ve empowered the police, we’ve worked with the community to monitor the outbreaks of Islamophobia and I don’t rule out taking more steps.”

His visit to the mosque was to engage with the Muslim community as festivities of Eid al-Fitr began. In attendance, Minister for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi, described the past month as “a difficult Ramadan for the British Muslim Community because of the incidents in Woolwich and the backlash” that followed.

“There’s been huge concern at the heart of Government about the attacks on the British Muslim Community. Immediately after Tipton within hours I issued a statement which was followed by a visit by the Police Minister (James Brokenshire) and of course comments by the PM as well,” Warsi said.

“Let me make one thing clear, that this Government has done more in relation to tackling the scourge of anti-Muslim hatred than any government. We were the first government to set up the cross government working group on Islamophobia.”

When challenged that Cameron should have been more forthcoming in his condemnation, the Baroness said: “Well I’m part of the PM’s Government, I’m part of his cabinet, we work incredibly closely on this issue of extremism. I sit on the extremism task force. Indeed as you’ve heard from the PM the next meeting at the start of September has been allocated to just deal with the issue of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia.”

During this visit, the mosque congregation spoke to Cameron on a number of different issues, sharing their personal experiences including the negativity experienced by children at school and women wearing head scarves.

A spokesperson for the mosque, Dr Waqar Azmi, added that “we spoke particularly around the security of the mosques, particularly following the Woolwich attacks, we asked if mosques could have CCTV Cameras just like Jewish schools and synagogues” –  reflective of the unease and the threat felt by the Muslim community of late.

The Prime Minster was praiseworthy of the mosque’s efforts in tackling extremism commending “the Imam for the work he’s done in the community”. He recognised that “Islam was a religion of peace” and of a need to “distinguish between that and the violent extremism of a very small minority of people”.

One Response to “Cameron belatedly looks at terror attacks against Muslims”

Iftikhar AhmadAugust 31, 2013

‘The government’s silence over attacks on Muslims is worrying, and divisive…’ Attacks on Islamic centres and mosques are “deplorable and disgusting”, Home Secretary Theresa May said today.
………..Addressing MPs during Home Office Questions in the Commons, she said there had been great cause for hope following the attack, with Far Right activists invited into one mosque to enjoy tea and football.
But there had been a rise in the number of attacks against Muslim communities, she said.
…………..”Sadly, in the aftermath of this horrific incident we have seen an increased number of attacks on mosques and Islamic centres. These are deplorable, disgusting acts. They found bomb debris near a mosque in Wolverhampton. When David Cameron’s office was pressed for comment they told Channel 4 journalist Fatima Manji to speak to the Home Office. You expect Cameron to come out and condemn this? I’d prefer if he took constructive steps to protect vulnerable sites from attack and to promote community cohesion rather than try to be a personal spokesman for the British people.

In these situations the government (and even the Police) tend to talk about such things as little as possible because they are aware that it will inspire stupid people to get ‘retaliation’ for whatever wrong may be carried out.

I know Cameron spoke about Lee Rigby’s murder but it is not every day that someone is beheaded in this country.

David Cameron was instead enjoying himself at Lord’s as England played Australia in the cricket.

Whilst it’s on an ongoing police matter, he has made no effort to condemn 3 separate bombs at mosques.

Through circumstance and good luck they have thankfully killed nobody. The silence is appalling. If you look at the FBI’s data from 1980-2006, domestic terrorism in the United States, only 6 per cent of attacks came from Islamic Extremists. In Europe, that figure is less than 1 per cent. Islamophobia is a serious problem in this country. The government’s silence on the issue simply creates more community anxiety. Places of worship are being attacked. Muslims are attacked in the street and online. People simply want to practise their faith without fear of violence or intimidation.

“British Muslims make a valuable contribution to our society. They are British citizens who are increasingly under more urgent and immediate risk of terrorist attack than others. Attacks on Muslims are a disgrace and the government should condemn them in the strongest terms. People must be free to practice whatever religion they want, and there is much in Islam that is valuable and important. The Muslim community starts getting vocal when they are attacked or have their rights impinged (and rightly so), but they don’t have the same volume when it happens to non-Muslims by fundamentalist Muslims. Perhaps the community needs to have a period of self-reflection and questioning. They [Muslims] are British citizens who are increasingly under more urgent and immediate risk of terrorist attack than others.

How do you expect politicians to react against this ongoing violence?”

I would expect them to change our foreign policy.

Ordinary, decent, law-abiding Muslims who have adopted Britain as their homeland, and make a considerable contribution to our society, also become victims when fundamentalist fanatics bring their religion into disrepute. Its hard being a Muslim trying to integrate into British society. On one hand you have brits complaining that Muslims are failing to integrate (that is partially true) but on the other hand some of those who do attempt to integrate are given stick for integrating. I’ve been to pubs where I’ve received remarks such as, ‘What the f*** are you doing here?’ and ‘ah you gonna take over this pub and turn it into a mosque?’ Then sometimes I can get confused because some of the abuse I’ve received borders both with racism and Islamophobia. You don’t get immune to that type of abuse, let me tell you. Im sure many other young British Muslims have gone through similar experiences but where are our voices? We don’t have extremist views, we don’t throw a bitch fit if an establishment doesn’t want to sell halal meat and we don’t protest for sharia law.

Me and my friends get angry a lot but mostly on two points:

1) People like Anjem Choudhury thinking he has some right to speak on behalf of all Muslims.
2) Non-Muslim brits thinking people like Anjem Choudhury speaks on behalf of all Muslims

Attributing to them guilt by association, as seems to be the current xenophobic trend among some politicians and members of the public, is not only insensitive but downright insulting.

The demonising of all Muslims in the wake of 911 and the subsequent attack on the London Underground is one of the saddest legacies of the the Bush/Blair axis of evil.

If a different ethnic group, say Hindus, had been blamed for these outrages, Indian temples and restaurants across the UK would be targets for hate and the sari and turban would have become despised symbols of an alien and unwanted culture. Have studied history by the way? Britain has been terrorising Muslims for the past 1000 years.

Propaganda is the politicians’ most powerful weapon and diverting public attention away from their own failings by naming and shaming vulnerable sections of society – usually immigrants – is the oldest trick in the book.

But we British are a mature and fair-minded race and know deep down that people the world over are much the same, irrespective of colour, culture, ethnic background or religion.

The vast majority of Muslims are as peace loving, decent and responsible as the rest of us. So let’s ignore the weasel words of unscrupulous politicians and and start listening to our hearts instead.

Why is it that when it’s about Muslims, it’s somehow boils own to immigration?

Secondly, not every Muslim in the UK is an immigrant and not all Muslims are dark skinned. Not all Muslims are “backwards”, despite what you may have heard.

Drinking alcohol, not practising my religion, Changed my name to Harry as I have very fair skin and blue eyes, playing cricket, watching football, eating pork, gambling, dating white girls, going to wild parties, you name it, 25 years of my life…but I’m still a Muslim (in their eyes), and Muslim means one of them…Terrorists….so I turn to my God.


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