British Muslims are abandoning their traditional support for Gordon Brown’s Labour party and instead look set to back Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats in this week’s election, community organizers have found.
A poll of British Muslims conducted last week found that almost three-quarters of respondents believed the Liberal Democrats offered fairer policies than either the Labour or Conservative parties.
YouElect, a non-partisan grass-roots campaign aimed at persuading British Muslims to vote, polled 940 Muslims from four cities over the days running up to the country’s final televised leaders’ debate last Thursday.
Previously loyal backbench Muslim MP Mohammed Sarwar turned against Gordon Brown’s counter-terrorism plans and prepared to deliver the first parliamentary defeat of his premiership. Sarwar warned that tension in Muslim communities was rising as a result of the plans. Opponents said they were “reasonably optimistic” they would be able to throw out plans to extend the time terror suspects can be held without charge from 28 to 42 days. Their case has been strengthened by around a dozen MPs who voted in favour of similar laws in 2005, including Sarwar, who have changed their minds. Speaking about his decision for the first time, Sarwar reportedly said that he regretted supporting a 90-day limit and was concerned the legislation would unfairly target the Muslim community. The Glasgow Central MP said: “Last time I voted out of loyalty with the Government. “But since then there has not been a single case where prosecutors or the police have asked for an extension beyond 28 days. Only six people have been held for 28 days – three of whom were released without charge. The Government should think twice about doing this.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=D38ED310950F262F352E2733&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
An inquiry was launched today after it was claimed high-profile Muslim MP Sadiq Khan was secretly bugged twice by Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist unit while he visited a prisoner in jail – and that Prime Minister Gordon Brown knew about it. Shadow home secretary David Davis has claimed he wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown several weeks ago warning him that a Labour MP was being bugged. However in a statement today, Gordon Brown said he “knew nothing” about Mr Davis’ claims.
The National Muslim Women’s Advisory group (NMWAG) was formally launched today by the Prime Minister. The group attended the Prime Minister’s Eid reception at Downing Street. NMWAG will be led by 19 Muslim women representing a wide spectrum of communities, professions and traditions. They will discuss issues and concerns that affect Muslim women, for example education, employment, access for women to mosques and their management committees and cultural barriers including issues around forced marriages. NMWAG comprises of a group of women who are in positions of leadership or are working with communities. They will meet several times a year and are an independent informal group advising on issues to empower Muslim women and increase their participation in civic, economic and social life. NMWAG has been set up by Communities and Local Government as part of its work to prevent violent extremism.
Britain’s first Muslim minister Shahid Malik was stopped and searched by airport security officials in the United States yesterday, it has emerged. Mr Malik, appointed as minister for international development by Gordon Brown earlier this year, was prevented from boarding a UK-bound flight for 40 minutes at Washington’s Dulles airport on Sunday.
From 12-16 October, Muslims in Britain have been celebrating Eid-al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Both the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury were among those sending greetings – suggesting that such festivals are an important opportunity for people to find common ground. In his message, PM Gordon Brown talked of the Ramadan fast as “an opportunity for self-reflection”, and added of the feasting marking its conclusion: “This celebration is also important for everyone in our country as it reminds us all of our shared obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Britain’s new security chief warned the battle against terrorism could take up to 15 years, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in an interview broadcast Sunday he wanted an expanded European system to share information on potential threats. “I want the system that we are trying to expand between Europe a system whereby we know who are potential terrorist suspects,” Brown told Sky News television. “It is very important that we tighten this up and it is something we are looking at as a matter of urgency.” Adm. Sir Alan West, the former navy chief who was recently named Brown’s security minister, said Britain faced an unprecedented threat and a new approach was critical. One of those approaches included challenges to the British psyche, he said. “Britishness does not normally involve snitching or talking about someone,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “I’m afraid, in this situation, anyone who’s got any information should say something because the people we are talking about are trying to destroy our entire way of life.”
It is the debate on everybody’s lips – just how British are we? Last week came plans for a British Day. Then Gordon Brown spoke of ‘British jobs for British people’. As a new study demands we celebrate ‘where we live’ to combat social division, is there any way to define a nation’s values? Report by Ned Temko, Jo Revill and Amelia Hill Luton yesterday morning was bathed in early summer sunshine. A Women’s Institute stall peddled home-made cakes outside the Arndale Shopping Centre. Giggling Asian schoolgirls in full veils, or niqabs, shared benches with African immigrants and eastern Europeans. It was, on the face of it, an advert for happy multi-culturalism. But it is precisely places like this ancient English market town, now more famous for its airport, which Gordon Brown and other politicians have in mind in their fevered efforts to bind an increasingly diverse nation together with some shared sense of ‘Britishness’. Luton, by all appearances a tranquil mix of its estimated 140 different nationalities, gained unwanted notoriety after the cars used by the British-born 7/7 suicide bombers turned up in a local car park. One recent African Muslim immigrant yesterday remarked: ‘Britishness is a hazy thing. Even if we want to adopt the culture of this country, the dictates of religion remain a far clearer and more precise identity. This isn’t immigrants’ fault. It doesn’t mean anything sinister about loyalty to Britain. It’s human nature.’