Muslim 'parliament' puts religion before race bias

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The Independent Online
THE MUSLIM 'parliament' yesterday called for legislation against racial discrimination to be repealed and for the Commission for Racial Equality to be abolished.

A discussion paper for members of the unelected assembly said that anti-racist laws and institutions should be replaced by new legislation against religious discrimination which would allow writers such as Fay Weldon and Connor Cruise O'Brien to be prosecuted for 'anti-Islamic' statements made in defence of Salman Rushdie.

The CRE works solely for victims of racial prejudice and does not believe that mainland Britain needs religious laws. This policy is anathema to the leading Muslim separatists in Britain, several of whom are white. To them religion is far more important than colour.

The assembly's report condemned the CRE for rejecting the centrality of religion and trying to assimilate Muslims into British society. The CRE was part of an attempt to trap Muslims into accepting 'false national, racial or linguistic identities'.

Its intellectual assumptions showed an overriding concern 'to ensure that Muslims and their religion would be reduced to a series of rituals so that gradually Muslims would become like British Christians'. This was a colonial policy, the report alleged.

The report cited in evidence against the CRE a statement from Bikhu Parekh, the organisation's former deputy chairman, in which he had defended Salman Rushdie - author of The Satanic Verses - as a writer who had shown 'tenderness, sensitivity and taste' and criticised some British Muslims for reacting to the death threat against him with 'immaturity and indecent haste'.

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