Think-tank warns of anti-Islam 'time bomb'

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The Independent Online

Growing Islamophobia in Britain in the wake of the September 11 attacks could lead to a dangerous backlash of riots and extremism, it was reported today.

Growing Islamophobia in Britain in the wake of the September 11 attacks could lead to a dangerous backlash of riots and extremism, it was reported today.

A report by the think-tank Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia found there were more attacks on individuals and mosques in the UK following the al Qaida atrocities in the US.

Exclusion from public life fostered a feeling of not belonging in Britain among some Muslims, particularly the young. This could lead to a time bomb of ill-feeling, it said.

According to the BBC, the report also criticised public bodies for failing to tackle institutional Islamophobia although schools and hospitals were more sensitive to Muslims' needs.

Dr Richard Stone, commission chairman and former adviser to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, claimed key recommendations of the commissions first report in 1997 had been ignored.

He said: "There is now renewed talk of a clash of civilisations and mounting concern that the already fragile foothold gained by Muslim communities in Britain is threatened by ignorance and intolerance."

However, Muslim organisations were praised for positive progress since the 1997 report and government was given some credit for moves on religious discrimination.

Dr Abduljalil Sajid, an imam and adviser to the commission, claimed some elements of the UK were "institutionally Islamophobic", according to the BBC.

"These communities need help and want to be proud to be British. But government and public bodies are not backing up words with actions," he told the corporation.

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