Welsh Tories are making an attempt to bring the country’s Muslims into their fold. In the past, these communities have mostly seen the Labour Party as their natural home but this is now changing, Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne told the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Conservative Forum in Cardiff. “Following our landslide defeat in 1997, the Conservative Party recognised that it had to change,” Mr Bourne said. “If we were to regain power, we had to become more representative of the people we wanted to serve in government. A party capable of representing all Britain and all Britons.
“On his election as Leader, David Cameron promised to reach out to minority ethnic communities and to recognise the contribution immigrants have made to our prosperity and culture. “And I am determined that we should do so in Wales as well. I believe the Welsh Conservative Muslim Forum marks an important milestone on the road to increasing Conservative engagement with the Muslim community. “In many ways, Muslim values are Conservative values. We all believe in strong families, in enterprise, in self reliance and in individual responsibility.
Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)
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.
A growing Muslim community is looking for a site for a mosque and cultural centre to replace the small, makeshift building currently used. At the moment worshippers in Wrexham use a portable building, which is part of the town’s Newi college. But it is unsuitable for women and children. The local Muslim association want a site where they could invite other people to learn more about Islam. Other faith groups have said it would be an asset for everyone in the town. The makeshift mosque in a corner of the North East Wales Institute (Newi) can only hold a small number of worshippers, and gets very full during festivals and Friday prayers. Dr Farookh Jishi, secretary of the Wrexham Muslim Association, said: “We started here about 20 years ago with only half a dozen people coming together to pray – then gradually the numbers have grown.” For women, the situation is even worse. Their prayer room is only 2m x 1.5m and has no windows or ventilation. One worshipper, Howida Elkhawad, said they wanted to repay the hospitality of others: “People, they invite us for Christmas and we can’t invite anyone to come celebrate with us that’s because we don’t have a proper place.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=67EB37FC79EBCABBA86D779F&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
The failure of the Muslims to integrate with British society has left their children open to the lure of extremism, a top Islamic scholar has said. Farhan Nizami, the director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which has links with Oxford University, accused British Muslim parents of keeping their children alienated from mainstream society, and exposing them to radical Islamic groups. Immigrant communities have to do more to get integrated, particularly on issues of language and education, said Nizami, a key adviser on Islam to the Prince of Wales. He appealed to Muslim parents to do more to avert the danger of their children becoming fanatics. Muslim families have to realise the importance of education for their children and make an effort to push them into achieving more, Nizami was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
A leading Welch university will conduct a two-year study on Muslim children’s attitudes towards culture and religion, the Western Mail daily reported. “We are interested in that younger age group and how they reconcile their multiple identities, such as being Somali, Pakistani, or Yemeni, with being Muslim and Welsh and so on,” said Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray, from the Islam UK Center at Cardiff University.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales risked a new clash with Muslims yesterday by questioning whether Turkey should be admitted to the European Union. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor echoed Pope Benedict XVI in saying that the predominantly Muslim state was not culturally part of Europe.
There has been a mixed response inside and outside Muslim circles in Britain to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s call for educationists and the media to recognise the _true face’ of Islam, and for Muslims themselves to speak out against extremism. Mr Blair, as part of his _farewell tour’, was on the programme alongside senior academic and faith leaders at a conference organised by the University of Cambridge (and held at Lancaster House, London) on the global role of Islam. The gathering opened with a video message from the Prince of Wales, and included a reception hosted by Gordon Brown. Tory leader David Cameron also spoke, having been asked to do so by Mr Blair, and so did the Anglican Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres. Also involved were Shaykh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, and Mufti Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, along with Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Glasgow, and Communities minister (and prominent Roman Catholic laywoman) Ruth Kelly.
The Anglican Church in Wales said it was recalling all copies of its Welsh-languge Y Llan (Church) magazine that features a French cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Taken from the France-Soir newspaper, the cartoon shows Mohammed on a heavenly cloud with Buddha, Moses, and God who tells him: “Don’t complain, Mohammed, we’ve all been caricatured here.” “The Church in Wales is thoroughly investigating how this cartoon came to be reproduced in Y Llan,” a spokesman for Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, said Tuesday. He added that Morgan had sent apologies to the Muslim Council of Wales for any offence caused. The cartoon was used to illustrate an article in Y Llan — which has a circulation of about 400 copies — about the shared ancestry of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It first appeared in France-Soir on February 2, a day after the Paris-based daily reproduced a collection of Danish cartoons which touched off a wave of sometimes violent protests by Muslims around the world. Last month, a Cardiff University student union newspaper was withdrawn after it printed one of the Danish cartoons.