Muslims are loyal citizens

ANOTHER VIEW

Share
Related Topics
It is open season on Muslims once more. Baroness Thatcher was yesterday warning in an apocalyptic speech about the dangers of "radical Islam". And Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, announced that the Government may tighten up laws to enable a clampdown on British Muslims alleged to be supporting the Palestinian extremists of Hamas.

As soon as a conflict arises involving Muslims anywhere in the world, however remote, British Muslims are named as the financiers, if not the master plotters. But the suggestion that the Muslims of Britain could supply funds for military activities in the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and South Asia is laughable.

We are one of the poorest communities here and almost all our mosques, schools and welfare organisations are financed by our wealthy coreligionists in the oil-producing countries. The little spare cash that the British Muslims donate for outsiders is always marked for social and medical relief. Mr Howard acknowledged as much yesterday when he admitted that there was no evidence of money going from this country to Hamas.

The campaign to treat Muslim charities as suspicious will almost certainly strain the relationship between Muslims and Jews in this country and it will also heighten Muslim feelings of alienation.

I can well understand the anxieties of some Jewish leaders here about funds being supplied to sponsor the activities of the military wing of Hamas. But there is no evidence that this wing of Hamas has any active supporters in Britain. A national newspaper yesterday reported that a self-styled distinguished Muslim scholar said many Muslim organisations in Britain are collecting funds and recruiting British personnel for Hamas. This item of "news" was given considerable prominence. Yet there was no evidence to support any of his claims.

Why is a small, vociferous minority more newsworthy than the majority of mainstream Muslims? These extremists arrogate themselves the right to speak for all Muslims, but they do not speak for the vast majority. Nor is there evidence that their fiery statements lead to violence; on the contrary, it is common for members of such groups to mature rapidly out of it and rejoin the mainstream.

Such people are a tiny minority. The danger is that if all Muslims are tarred with the same brush of condemnation, then moderate Muslims will be hampered in their capacity to mitigate the excesses of such extremism - and to mediate between such people and the mainstream community in a way that secular or Christian authorities would find more difficult. We are loyal citizens of Great Britain. Please treat us that way.

The author is principal of the Muslim College, London.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: A widow’s tale with an unexpected twist

John Rentoul
 

For all his faults, Russell Brand is utterly sincere, something politicians should emulate

Janet Street-Porter
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower