David Hogg TORY leadership candidate David Cameron yesterday warned his party to engage with Britain’s Muslim community but was immediately accused of offering little more for ethnic minorities than the Government. On a whistlestop tour of West Yorkshire, Mr Cameron met community leaders at the Leeds Islamic Centre to discuss the aftermath of the July bombings in London and their response to the South Asia earthquake. Offering a number of ideas designed to prevent alienation of British Muslims, but lacking any sweeping policy initiatives, the Witney MP failed to impress after he was challenged over his stance on the war in Iraq. When asked by Arshad Hanif, 45, whether he was in favour of the war Mr Cameron said: “I did support the war. I thought it was the right decision at the time. I don’t think there’s a link between 7/7 and the Iraq war.” He added: “Clearly some people make a link between the war in Iraq and the anger they feel but there is absolutely no justification for turning that anger into violence.” Mr Hanif, who sat with other Asian leaders in a semi-circle either side of the Tory leadership contender, said: “He wasn’t giving us a clear choice between himself and Mr Blair. It is troublesome that he is saying that the war in Iraq was not related to what happened in London.” Mr Cameron also said more could be done to encourage Muslims to join the Conservatives party and stand as MPs.
By Jeremy Seabrook The British National party is expected to make gains in the council elections in the former mill towns of Lancashire and West Yorkshire and in Black Country sites of industrial dereliction. But its “success” should be judged less in terms of seats won than in its disturbing ability to connect with an older story of the meaning of Britishness. For the BNP, Islam is the new Popery. The superstition and malevolence once projected on to Catholicism appear to be made manifest once more in the fanaticism and extremism which new holy warriors believe they have located in Islam. Folk memory is a powerful generator of fables for those who know how to manipulate them. The tale the BNP tells today, in the rundown streets of the fearful old and the disinherited young, is about the spread of an alien creed, aided by the fifth column of an enemy within, and of hordes of migrant strangers at our border. The detail – “islands of Islam in our communities”, “a race relations industry kowtowing to the apologists for terror”, even “the imminent extinction of the white man” – however ghoulish, is less significant than the narrative of the nation in danger; for this resonates strongly with earlier versions of these islands in jeopardy.