January 30, 2014
Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the liberal Democrats) has said he will not drop a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who sparked widespread protests among some Muslims by tweeting a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed. Maajid Nawaz says he has received death threats since posting the image earlier this month, while a petition calling for him to be ditched as Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn in next year’s general election has gathered more than 20,000 signatures, and a rival petition in his defence has more than 7,000.
Mr Clegg told LBC 97.3 radio that he would not personally have tweeted the controversial cartoon of a stick figure of Jesus saying “Hi” to a stick figure called Mo, who replies “How you doin’?”But it is important to show respect to people of all faiths, beliefs and religious persuasions when discussing religious matters. But the Lib Dem leader said: “He is not going to be dropped as a Liberal Democrat candidate. He has the right – as any Muslim, non-Muslim or anyone of any faith or none in this country has – to say things even if that causes offence to other people.
Mr Nawaz, the co-founder of counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, posted the image after appearing in a BBC television debate about religious tolerance which featured two students wearing it on T-shirts. He said that he was sending out the “bland” cartoon to show that, as a Muslim, he did not feel it was a threat to his faith and to demonstrate that “Muslims are able to see things we don’t like, yet remain calm and pluralist. My intention was not to speak for any Muslim but myself – rather, it was to defend my religion from those who have hijacked it just because they shout the loudest”.
The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-clegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-maajid-nawaz-who-tweeted-a-cartoon-of-the-prophet-mohammed-and-jesusclegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-9095691.html
The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/28/speaking-islam-loudmouths-hijacked
25 November 2010
An All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has been launched in the House of Commons. At its inaugural Annual General Meeting, members elected Keighley and Ilkley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins to serve as its Chair with Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes and Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone as Vice-Chairs. The Group has so far attracted the interest of more than 20 MPs and peers from across both Houses of Parliament.
Mr Hopkins thanked attendees for being part of what he described as a “momentous occasion.” He said: “Whilst challenges will undoubtedly arise in the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I are hugely committed to the task in hand. I believe there is already a very strong resolve amongst members to better understand the complex issues involved, and to propose considered, evidence-based policies to tackle Islamophobia wherever it exists.”
21 August 2010
The German state of Hesse is unlikely to introduce religious education for Muslim school children any time soon. The Liberal Democrat Party (FDP) insists on Muslim associations to comply with the guidelines by the Central Council of Muslims, such as to ensure the full equal status of women, the acknowledgement of religious freedom and full commitment to pluralism and democracy. The state however wants to introduce a Muslim option for school children from 2013/14, but with no teachers training in place as yet and these issues unresolved, this might at first be a course about Islam rather than Islamic instruction by a religious teacher.
This article advocates the best possible option for Muslims when voting in the General Election, which the author claims to be the Liberal Democrats, for reasons of fairness. “I believe the Liberal Democrats are the only party that will truly make Britain fair, not just for Muslims, but for everyone in Britain today.” The author Farid Ahmed is a Muslim and a Liberal candidate himself for Walthamstow, London.
The author further summarizes how Labour has failed in the past 13 years to make Britain more just, and how the Conservatives are not to be trusted to move the country in any such direction. Also Britain’s policies towards the Middle East play a large role in the author’s preference for the Liberal Democrat Party.
Plans to extend Harehills Cemetery to provide more Muslim burial spaces have been rejected by Liberal Democrat councillors as too costly. They are now calling for spaces for Muslim burials to be provided at a new cemetery planned for Whinmoor Grange. An extension at Harehills would cost an estimated _2,000 per burial plot compared to just _20 per plot at Whinmoor Grange, say the Liberal Democrats. Coun Richard Brett (Lib Dem, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill), Liberal Democrat group leader, said the idea of extending Harehills should be scrapped. He said: “We have already rejected the previous administration’s plans for a massive 46 acre site at Whinmoor as we believe that a series of smaller sites for a all faiths around the city would better suit the city’s needs. “I am proposing that the best way forward for all parties is for a new multi-faith site at Whinmoor Grange. A specific area of this ought to be reserved for the Muslim community.” The need to find more burial space in Leeds has been a growing issue in recent years and a lack of burial provision for Muslims is a particularly pressing aspect of the problem.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=E998C97AFB69483D270CB929&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
By Patrick Wintour The west’s strategy to defeat international terrorism will be attacked today as historically illiterate and counter-productive by Paddy Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader and chair of a new commission on terrorism. In what will be seen as a wholesale rejection of the American-led war against terrorism, he will say: “Our problem is that we have chosen the wrong mindset, the wrong battlefield, the wrong weapons and the wrong strategies to win this campaign. We have chosen to fight an idea, primarily with force.”