A coalition of imams and organisations representing British Muslims call on David Cameron and others to stop using phrase which they say gives credibility to a terrorist organisation. They argue that the prime minister and media should stop legitimising the terror group rampaging through Syria and Iraq by describing it as Islamic State. Use of the jihadis’ preferred title, they argue, gives credibility to the Sunni militants and slurs the Islamic faith.
Signatories to a letter to David Cameron, including Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, admit that UK Muslims need to do more to dissuade their young men from being misled into taking part in the group’s “hatred and poison”. “We shall take every opportunity to continue to say clearly and loudly ‘not in our name’ and ‘not for our faith,’ ” they write. In a letter seen by the Observer, the signatories add: “We believe that it would send a powerful message in Britain and around the world if you would join us, as our prime minister, in leading a national debate to seek a suitable alternative way to refer to this group and further challenge its legitimacy and influence.”
Demonstrators calling for shari’a law to be imposed in Britain cancelled a march on October 31 in central London amid security fears. Anjem Choudary, leader of the radical Islamic sect Al Muhajiroun, said organizers Islam4UK had been forced to cancel the planned “March for Shari’a” from the Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square because of security concerns.
The Islamic Society of Britain, which was planning to join other organizations in staging a “dignified, non-violent” counter-demonstration, hailed the cancellation as a “great success”. A spokesman said: “Pressure from all sections of the community, including Muslims, has resulted in the Muhajiroun and the hot-heads rethinking their position. They realized very few people would turn up to support them and they would attract only very negative publicity.”
In central London, only about 30 protesters gathered at the base of the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus. They were holding placards which read: “Islam will not dominate”, “Free speech will dominate the world”, and “March for England”. Tehmini Kazi, director of British Muslims For Secular Democracy, said the protesters wanted to “reclaim the public spaces for British Muslims”. The group was against everything that Mr. Choudary stood for, she said.
The planned march by radicals from Islam4UK had provoked massive debate among many representatives of society, Muslim and non-Muslim, and also caused right-wing racist groups to plan demonstrations.