Woolwich murder aftermath: Theresa May praises British-based Islamic group

Home Secretary says there has been increase in attacks directed against Muslim communities since 'horrendous' murder of Drummer Lee Rigby

Home Secretary Theresa May has condemned “all forms of extremism” as she praised a British-based Islamic group for its commitment to peaceful co-existence and charitable works.

Mrs May said there had been an increase in attacks directed against Muslim communities since the "horrendous" murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last month.

"We have seen generally since Drummer Rigby's murder an increase in attacks directed towards Muslim communities of all kinds, "she said.

"I am absolutely committed to tackling extremism in whatever form it takes, it is utterly unacceptable to threaten and intimidate anyone because of their religious beliefs or because they belong to a particular ethnic group."

Mrs May was speaking at an event in the House of Commons marking the centenary of the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK.

The branch of Islam was founded in the late 19th century in India, but its leader has been based in Britain since 1984 as a result of persecution in Pakistan, where they are officially declared non-Muslims.

The event was attended by senior political figures including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

Mrs May said the Ahmadiyya were subjected to persecution in Pakistan and threats in the UK.

"I know that you have been targeted as a community yourselves, particularly in Pakistan, where it is a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, and where you have been subjected to some horrific attacks," she said.

"There have also been incidences of prejudice here in the UK where Ahmadi businesses have been boycotted, mosques attacked and television channels have broadcast programmes inciting hatred against you."