London, UK, January 20th 2011 – Ignoring the role of politicians, including David Cameron, Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi has sounded a warning about the rise of Islamophobia in Britain in published excerpts from a speech to be delivered today. She argues that Islamophobia is a prejudice that has now become normal and accepted in many parts of society; and that trying to divide Muslims into ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’ creates more intolerance towards Islam and Muslims.
Taji Mustafa, Media Representative for Hizb ut-Tahrir in Britain said: “It is hardly surprising that prejudice and hatred towards Islam and Muslims is on the rise when leading politicians ignore political grievances of the Muslim world, rooted in western foreign policy, instead equating Islam with violence saying ‘The driving force behind today’s terrorist threat is Islamist fundamentalism’ (David Cameron 2005); or that the Shariah and Caliphate are ‘an evil ideology’ (Tony Blair 2005); or when they refer to Islamic scholars visiting from overseas as ‘foreign hate preachers’ (Theresa May 2010); or when David Cameron demonizes the Muslims of Pakistan during his trip to India saying they cannot ‘look both ways on ‘terrorism’; or when niqab and Pakistani men are demonized following comments by Jack Straw. These, and other statements, add to the deliber ate smears, misinformation and propaganda peddled by some politicians and sections of the British media.”
“She absolutely fails to expose the fact that this growing hatred towards Islam and Muslims has been fuelled by politicians and the media, who seem incapable of engaging in an intellectual debate about different worldviews, and instead default to emotive and populist talk of ‘extremism’, ‘hate’ and the banning of speakers and groups. Their lies, propaganda and labelling of those who disagree with them only reaffirms their intellectual bankruptcy and that they are unable to debate and discuss the vital issues of our time.”
“Sayeeda Warsi’s statements will come as no surprise to ordinary Muslims. Prejudice towards Islam and Muslims is something Muslims are subjected to every day in schools and the workplace. The intolerance she mentions, created by the categorisation of Muslims by politicians into moderates and extremists, according to traditional Islamic beliefs and values, is an old colonial – ‘divide and rule’ – strategy that is being played out at a community level under the government’s on-going ‘Prevent’ policy. Her comments are a cynical attempt to placate the Muslim community which can see through them and knows that she is doing nothing less than playing politics. After all, she sits in the cabinet and is a supporter of David Cameron’s anti-terror policies.”
“Our message to Muslims in the UK is to resist the pressures to compromise on Islamic values, and to carry these noble values to others, redressing the propaganda and smears that will likely continue in future.”