Local Muslims accuse UK government of trying to ‘criminalise’ Islam
The UK government is inciting a “McCarthyite” witch-hunt against Muslims, a prominent group of Muslim scholars and activists have said.
A public statement has been signed by over 100 religious leaders, activists, community leaders, organisations and student bodies.
It issues a condemnation of the “ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Britain” and accuses the government of scapegoating Muslims in order to deflect attention away from crises in the economy, the national health service and “disastrous foreign policies”.
It reads: “We reject the exploitation of Muslim issues and the ‘terror threat’ for political capital, in particular in the run up to a general election. Exploiting public fears about security is as dishonourable as exploiting public fears about immigration.”
The statement also condemns the targeting of Muslims through what it describes as “endless anti-terror laws” and also mentions the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act recently passed by Parliament.
It says: “The latest Act of Parliament, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, threatens to create a ‘McCarthyite’ witch-hunt against Muslims, with nursery workers, schoolteachers and Universities expected to look out for signs of increased Islamic practice as signs of ‘radicalisation’. Such a narrative will only further damage social cohesion as it incites suspicion and ill feeling in the broader community.”
Among the signatories from Yorkshire include Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah from the Al Mustaqeem Centre in Bradford; Irfan Hussain from the Bradford Dawah Centre; Imam Ahmed Desai from Bradford; Director of Bradford-based Darul Ihsan Academy, Ibrahim Bismillah; Moulana Afrooz Ali from the Al Hikmah Trustee in Bradford; and Bradford Cllr Faisal Khan.
The list of over 100 signatories includes Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate and current outreach director for Cage, an independent advocacy organisation.