Controversial plans to build Europe’s biggest mosque close to the London Olympics site have been halted.
Tablighi Jamaat, the Islamic sect behind the proposal, is to be evicted this week from the East London site, where it has been operating illegally a temporary mosque and had planned a complex that would accommodate 12,000 worshippers.
The Muslim organization Minhaj-ul-Quran welcomed the move.
Minhaj-ul-Quran advises the Government on how to combat youth radicalization, and said that a mosque should be a “community effort” and not the initiative of one group with extremist links.
However, Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We would hope that they will be able to work in cooperation with the local council if they wish to set up a mosque in the area. Tablighi Jamaat has no ties to terrorism. They have been subjected to some unfair coverage.”
Despite anti-racism legislation, Britain witnessed a 28 per cent increase in racially motivated crime in five years, according to figures by the Ministry of Justice. Between 2006 and 2007, there were 61,000 complaints. The figures are based on cases reported by police in England and Wales. Islamophobia -fuelled by the 9/11 attacks and 7/7 train bombings in London – is blamed for many of the incidents. We’re getting more British Muslims reporting to us that they feel anti-Muslim prejudice is increasing in society, said Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim council of Britain. There are incidents of attacks against mosques and Islamic schools. Last week, Shahid Malik, Britain’s first Muslim minister, criticised what he described as growing hostility to Muslims in the UK. But many others feel that more measures accepting demands of the community have been counter-productive. Vijay Dutt reports.
Boxer Amir Khan spoke out for the first time over the controversy surrounding his Union Flag shorts. Exiled radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammad launched a tirade against the Bolton-born Olympic silver medallist accusing him of setting a bad example to Muslims. “He wears shorts with the Union Jack. That is a sin,” Omar Bakri, who left London for Lebanon in 2005, was reported as saying. “He should not be wearing the flag because sovereignty is for God. His only allegiance should be to the Prophet Mohammed.” Politicians and senior British Muslims leapt to Khan’s defence, with Muslim Council of Britain general secretary Inayat Bunglawala describing Amir as “a wonderful role model”. Khan hit back at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s lightweight fight with Dane Martin Kristjansen at his Gloves gym in Prince Street, Halliwell. “I am not going to change,” he told reporters.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=E46FB273F0644330240102DB&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
A new group of secular-minded former Muslims in the UK has urged the government to cut funding to religious groups and to stop pandering to political Islam. The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, launched yesterday in London, opposes the interference of religion in public life. Its spokeswoman, Maryam Namazie, said the group provided an alternative voice to the “regressive, parasitical and self-appointed leaders” from organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Human Rights Commission. “We want to challenge the Islamic movement,” she said. “It does not surprise me people are afraid to criticise Islam. There has been too much appeasement. There are policies and initiatives aimed at Muslims and this approach divides society.” The council calls for the freedom to criticise all religions and the separation of religion from the state and legal system. Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We’re not taking them seriously. I don’t think Muslims will have time for this.”
BRITISH Muslims gave a hostile reception yesterday to suggestions that ethnic minorities should be identified by the country they emigrated from. Hazel Blears, the home office minister tasked with tackling Islamic extremism in Britain, said she would discuss with community leaders whether “British-Asian” or “Indian-British” may be preferable terms to simply “Muslim” or “British”. She compared the terminology to that used in America, where “Italian-American” and “Irish-American” are commonly used labels. Downing Street played down the significance of the move, which it said was intended as a point of discussion rather than a concrete proposal or policy position. But Mrs Blear’s comments provoked an outcry from Muslims. Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said the idea “simply makes no sense”. He added: “It’s quite misguided to try to emphasise ethnicity alongside Britishness. People’s ethnic background becomes less important over time. “For example, my own parents came from India to Bolton, in Lancashire, in the 1960s. “I have visited India once when I was five years old and can barely speak their first language, Gujarati. My son Adam is five and doesn’t know a single word of it. “It is absolutely absurd to discuss my being less than 100% British.” Mr Bunglawala added that he would be happy to be identified as a British Muslim and that he believed most of the Muslim community would feel happy with being labelled by their faith, rather than ethnicity. Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Muslim Forum, added: “What is being proposed is divisive . . . it would create a lower strata of British. It gives people labels and dilutes their citizenship compared to original, white British people. It is not helpful in creating the togetherness that they have been talking about.” However, Mona Siddiqui, a senior lecturer in Islamic studies at Glasgow University, claimed that “British-Asian” more accurately reflected the identity of first and second-generation British immigrants from the Indian sub-continent. She said: “I think people have over-reacted to this suggestion because of the current climate around labelling and ethnic profiling. “I think ‘ethnic minority’ is such a vague term that it should be binned, but I don’t see the problem with being identified as British-Asian. The term is broad enough to recognise that some people are British while not being white, Anglo-Saxon. “The issue over whether people should be identified as Muslim, Hindu or Sikh is a different debate. For some people, religious labelling could be seen as a new form of racism.” Ms Blears indicated that the idea was part a set of proposals to be floated at meetings that she is holding around the country to discuss how best to steer young Muslims away from radicalism. She said: “In America, they do seem to have the idea that you’re an Italian-American or you’re an Irish-American, and that’s quite interesting. “I am going to talk to people and ask how does that feel? It is about your identity and I think it’s really important.”