onislam.net/Scottish Muslims Praise Civic Participation

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SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence, demanding more power to be delivered by unionist parties.

The referendum result demonstrates “the importance of unity and civic participation,” Dr Shuja Shafi, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, was quoted by The Telegraph on Friday, September 19.

“We can all learn from our fellow citizens in Scotland who have placed so much faith in the democratic process.”

He added: “For the sake of all of our young people, I hope our political leaders make good their promise to reform our democracy and ensure that politics is not left to a privileged few in the Westminster village.”

With the results in from all 32 council areas, the “No” side won with 2,001,926 votes over 1,617,989 for “Yes”.

The participation percentage scores more than %84.

“Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country,” Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond told a rally of his supporters in Edinburgh, Reuters reported on Friday.

“I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland,” the nationalist leader added.

Salmond called for unity and urged the unionist parties to deliver on more powers promised by unionist parties during the final leg of the campaign.

“The unionist parties made vows late in the campaign to devolve more powers to Scotland,” he said.

“Scotland will expect these to be honored in rapid course – as a reminder, we have been promised a second reading of a Scotland Bill by March 27 next year.

The First Minister added: “Whatever else we can say about this referendum campaign, we have touched sections of the community who have never before been touched by politics, these sections of the community have touched us and touched the political process.”

In a rallying call to his supporters, Salmond urged the Yes voters to reflect on how far they had come.

“I don’t think any of us, whenever we entered politics, would have thought such a thing to be either credible or possible,” he said.

“Over the last few weeks we have seen a scare and a fear of enormous proportions – not a scaremongering directed at the Scottish people but the scare and the fear at the heart of the Westminster establishment as they realize the mass movement of people that was going forward in Scotland.

“Today of all days as we bring Scotland together, let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short, let us dwell on the distance we have travelled and have confidence the movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward and we shall go forward as one nation.”

Promises

Speaking in Downing Street, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the result was decisive.

“Now the debate has been settled for a generation, or as Alex Salmond has said: ‘Perhaps for a lifetime’,” he said.

“So there can be no disputes, no re-runs; we have heard the will of the Scottish people.”

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Cameron said the result was decisive.

He said: “Now the debate has been settled for a generation, or as Alex Salmond has said: ‘Perhaps for a lifetime’.

“So there can be no disputes, no re-runs; we have heard the will of the Scottish people.”

The prime minister also acknowledged that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over their affairs.

“In Wales there are proposals to give the Welsh Government and Assembly more powers and I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate on how to make the United Kingdom work for all our nations,” he said.

“In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure that the devolved institutions function effectively.”

Cameron said “millions of voices of England must also be heard”.

“The question of English votes for English laws, the so-called West Lothian question, requires a decisive answer so just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues on tax, spending and welfare, so too England as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues.

“And all this must take place in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland.”

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