The government’s attempts to placate Muslims will cause long-term damage to communities, a charity said yesterday. The warning came from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, chair and co-founder of the British Muslims for Secular Democracy, a new organisation claiming to represent the “silent majority who feel no conflict between their faith and democracy”. Speaking before the launch, attended by Baroness Kishwer Faulkner and former Islamist Ed Husain, the journalist said the government was pandering to Muslims by granting too many concessions, fuelling their separation from the rest of society. “The government has found a way of placating Muslims in a way that will only damage us in the long term, Muslims wanting separate schools or different measures. There must be one law for all. “This differential accommodation leads to us being pushed to the edges. How is it that the Sikhs and Hindus can live in democracy but not Muslims?” Riazat Butt reports.
Former Islamist Ed Husain felt the denial of a visa by the United Kingdom to Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the well-known Islamic scholar based in Doha, was absolutely justified. Speaking to The Peninsula at the Four Seasons Hotel yesterday, Husain said: “He is a man who speaks two languages. There should be no exceptions in condemning the deaths of innocent people. When it comes to Jews, he thinks it is favourable to kill. It was right to refuse him a visa to the UK because his views have an audience there.” Husain, along with Maajid Nawaz, has just launched the Quilliam Foundation. It is named after Sheikh William Henry Abdullah Quilliam, an English solicitor and convert to Islam who founded the UK’s first mosque in Liverpool in the 19th century. The aim of the Foundation is to present Islam’s moderate viewpoint as opposed to the venom spewed out by radical elements. “On Muslim-related issues, it is jihadists and Islamists who dominate the airwaves (in the UK). We will give these a counter-balance,” said Husain. This could be done by use of the scriptures, which presents the true meanings and beliefs.