Elham Asaad Buaras
Muslim MPs and community leaders have voiced their anger at the “insulting” and “ignorant” suggestion by a senior UKIP politician who suggested “moderate Muslims” sign a code of conduct charter to prove they reject violence.
Speaking to The Guardian on February 4, Gerard Batten, a London MEP and the party’s spokesman on immigration and former candidate for London mayor, said it was a big mistake for Europe to allow “an explosion of mosques across their land”.
Batten said he stood by his call for a “charter of Muslim understanding”, which he first suggested in 2006.
The document asks Muslims to sign a declaration rejecting violence and says that certain parts of the Qur’an that promote “violent physical Jihad” should be regarded as “inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic.”
Batten said he had written it with the help of former Shari’a lawyer and Islamic scholar Sam Solomon and could not see why “any reasonable, normal person” would object to signing it.
Batten told The Muslim News the “self-explanatory” Charter was “not and was never intended to be UKIP Party policy.”
“It is open to anyone to endorse the contents, or not, as they wish. The article in The Guardian was a misrepresentation and a distortion of the document itself, done for political purposes.”
He added: “It was a suggested way of supporting moderate Muslims against extremists and fundamentalists.”
MP for Bolton South East, Yasmin Qureshi, dismissed Batten rationale insisting the charter is
“nothing more than a delusional charter which seeks to draw attention and popularity from the most far-right elements in society.”
“To suggest that a particular community should sign a pledge against violence is both appalling and offensive,” she told The Muslim News.
Asked why Muslims have been singled out, rather than followers of other faiths like Christians or Jews, Batten said: “Christians aren’t blowing people up at the moment, are they? Are there any bombs going off round the world which are claimed by Christian organisations? I don’t think so.”
Batten also proposed a ban on new mosques across Europe, suggesting Muslim countries should not be “appeased”.
In the 2010 interview, Batten suggested a ban on new mosques in ‘our cities’ and warns it was wrong to have allowed so many already.
Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood and Shadow Exchequer Secretary, Shabana Mahmood described Batten idea an “insulting proposition”.
Speaking to The Muslim News she said, “This is a wholly ignorant and insulting proposition put forward by someone who obviously has no understanding of Islam. The fact that he singles out one particular faith over all others can only be explained by a deep seated prejudice against British Muslims.”
She added, “He clearly believes that all Muslims are intrinsically predisposed to commit acts of violence and that his pledge would remind us not to do so. What a load of rubbish.”