MCB instructed on engaging with Muslims

UK’s largest Muslim Umbrella body has welcomed Sadiq Khan MP’s “incisive and thoughtful analysis” of the Muslim community in his Fabian Society pamphlet Fairness not Favours: How to reconnect with British Muslims. Mr Khan proposed a number of recommendations for The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) in the pamphlet published on Wednesday. “Some may be challenging, and will require debate – and the Muslim Council of Britain seeks a dispassionate discourse devoid of the usual rhetoric that comes with discussion about Muslims. MCB supports Mr Khan’s proposal that government should deal with Muslims on the basis of ‘engagement’ rather than ‘endorsement’, on a fair and equal footing,” it said in response. Khurshid Drabu, Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the MCB, said: “This is an insightful and candid contribution to a challenging and much misunderstood agenda. Sadiq Khan’s experience, intellect and standing can be trusted to voice the legitimate expectations of the political establishment from Muslims as citizens and of Muslims for fair and equal treatment. “His analysis of relevant issues is courageous and his recommendations require positive action from all sides. The MCB welcomes this excellent intervention. We are very pleased to note that Sadiq Khan asks for introduction of positive duty in the legislative framework for elimination of discrimination on grounds of religion in the areas of the provision of goods, facilities and services. The MCB has for many years been campaigning for this pressing need. Muslims do not seek favours. We seek fairness.”

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Muslim MP calls for religious equality law

A minister has called for the Government to introduce a new religious discrimination law which would require public bodies to have a legal duty to promote equality between faiths, to reassure Britain’s Muslims that they are not second-class citizens. Sadiq Khan, a government whip, wants a forthcoming Single Equality Bill aimed at stamping out discrimination on grounds of sex, race, gender and disability to include religion. He also calls for “Islamophobia in the workplace” to be tackled. Under his proposal, public bodies would have to be proactive in tackling religious discrimination. The Equality and Human Rights Commission, chaired by Trevor Phillips, would issue guidance and codes of practice. “This would not apply exclusively to British Muslims, but it would make a significant difference to the experience of members of this community who, because of socio-economic status, are particularly reliant on public services,” Mr Khan says. The Tooting MP, one of four Muslim Labour MPs, makes his controversial call in a Fabian Society pamphlet, Fairness not Favours, published today. He says a proactive approach to prevent religious discrimination would balance “harder edged” measures such as “clampdowns” on immigration and security and undercut attempts by Muslim extremists to exploit social disadvantage.