The Muslim Council of Britain has made the following, initial response to the government's publication today of its revised CONTEST strategy.
"All of us have an important stake in ensuring that our country is properly safeguarded from those who want to launch indiscriminate attacks. As such, it is crucial that all of us - Muslim and non-Muslim - give the necessary help and support to those charged with responsibility of maintaining our security," said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
At the same time the MCB urges the government to learn the necessary lessons from past strategies which have undermined the effort against violent extremism. The government's new strategy document rightly insists that the rule of law will be upheld at all times in the fight against terrorism. It also says that the new strategy will tackle the causes as well as symptoms of terrorism. However, earlier this year, for some reason the government could not bring itself to describe the barbaric Israeli bombardment of Gaza as actions constituting a war crime.
The government must be more consistent if we are to successfully counter the terror threat," added Dr Bari.
At the last public consultation meeting organised by the MCB last week (21 March 2009, Birmingham) which was attended by a large number of Islamic scholars and leaders of many Muslim organisations including some that are not affiliated to the MCB, there was unequivocal and unanimous commitment to fighting violent extremism and terrorism. At the same time there was widespread concern that the laws and policies on fighting the scourge of terrorism have had an adverse impact on the lives of many innocent Muslims.
The Muslim Council of Britain is an umbrella body of some 500 mosques, charities and schools. For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
London E1 2WJ
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079