SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – UK media reported that, the Muslim Council of Britain has raised objections to a letter from the British government. communities secretary, In a letter by Eric Pickles, communities secretary, UK government asked Muslim leaders to “explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity”. Muslim peer Lord Ahmad, also signed the letter.
Harun Khan, deputy secretary of the council, said: “Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?”
In the letter Pickles wrote: “You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility, in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity.
“We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today. There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country. We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam, but we need to show what is.
“We must show our young people, who may be targeted, that extremists have nothing to offer them. We must show them that there are other ways to express disagreement, that their right to do so is dependent on the very freedoms that extremists seek to destroy.
“We must show them the multitude of statements of condemnation from British Muslims, show them these men of hate have no place in our mosques or any place of worship, and that they do not speak for Muslims in Britain or anywhere in the world.
“Let us assure you that the government will do all we can to defeat the voices of division, but ultimately the challenges of integration and radicalisation cannot be solved from Whitehall alone. Strong community-based leadership at a local level is needed.”
The letter said: “British values are Muslim values”, and the country would be “diminished” without Islam and its “message of peace and unity”.
“Every day, mosques and other faith institutions across the country are providing help for those in need, and acting as a centre for our communities.
“It is these positive contributions that are the true messages of faith and it is these contributions that need to be promoted.” Lord Ahmad said the response was “disappointing”.