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

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

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Male Behaviour Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

BA/PM,EMIR/Dodd-Frank,London,£450-650P/D

£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

SEN Learning Support Assistant vacancy in Penarth

£55 - £65 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Training: Randstad Education Cardif...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Prime Minister David Cameron walks on stage to speak at The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference on November 4, 2013  

Does Cameron really believe in 'British Values'?

Temi Ogunye
The Lada became a symbol of Russia’s failure to keep up with Western economies  

Our sanctions will not cripple Russia. It is doing a lot of the dirty work itself

Hamish McRae
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz