London, UK, August 22 – Last night's BBC Panorama documentary entitled 'A Question of Leadership', is the latest in a series of attacks on Muslim groups and organisations including Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Islamic Foundation, Islamic Forum Europe, the Ramadhan Foundation and the Islamic Society of Britain – the common theme of such attacks is to pressure the Muslim community into renouncing certain Islamic values.
Although in an interview defending the documentary, the presenter John Ware says "we don't have an agenda", it is quite obvious from watching the documentary that there is an agenda. A central theme in the documentary is that Islam is affecting the politics of the Muslim community – seen through the secular prism this may seem strange, but for most Muslims Islam is not only a spiritual creed with no influence on temporal matters. The documentary pours scorn on the dress of the Muslim woman, claiming that the Jilbab [outer garment] is a traditional garment and not even mentioned in the Islamic texts. Unfortunately, the programme makers did not subject these claims to objective scrutiny and accepted them as fact, rather than mere opinion. Also unacceptable to Mr Ware was the use of the British legal system to further Muslims rights so that they could practise their religion as in the Shabina Begum case.
Commenting on the documentary, Dr Imran Waheed, Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "Although this documentary focuses on the Muslim Council of Britain it is apparent that it raises issues that are of much wider significance. It appears that believing that Islam is the true path for salvation, feeling for the Muslims of Palestine and advocating Islamic governance in the Muslim world is now unacceptable. There seems to be a concerted effort to demonise legitimate Islamic values and beliefs, curtail legitimate political _expression and challenge the influence of Islam on politics."
"John Ware has said that the only purpose of the documentary was 'to further debate which many Muslims think is long overdue' , the Muslim community welcomes debate and discussion but will not accept to be silenced in its opposition to Western foreign policy or in expressing its solidarity with those living under occupation in the Muslim world."
"At this time we urge the Muslim Council of Britain and others to stand firm and to speak the truth. The Muslim community needs to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and not allow itself to be divided into 'moderates' and 'extremists'. We cannot allow our community to be held hostage for the actions of a few individuals, which the Muslim community has categorically denounced time and time again."
Notes to Editors
Hizb ut-Tahrir is a non-violent political party that works throughout the Islamic world to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah [Caliphate].