UK Muslim Groups hit back at PM’s Comments
London: Muslim groups in the United Kingdom have hit back at the prime minister’s suggestion that the community needs to be more “British,” saying that Islamic values are in line with those being pushed by David Cameron.
Cameron said it is time to stop being “squeamish about Britishness,” adding that it was “not an option” for people to live in the UK without accepting British laws and the British way of life. “Belief in freedom, tolerance of others, accepting personal and social responsibility, respecting and upholding the rule of law [are as vital and] as British as the Union Flag, football and fish and chips,” the PM wrote. The Mail interpreted Cameron’s statements as a direct message to UK Muslims – prompting strong responses from several prominent community members.
“Muslims in Britain are proud to be British,” said Shuja Shafi, the new secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). “Freedom, tolerance, accepting personal and social responsibility, upholding the law of the land: these are Islamic values. These are the values described by our prime minister as British values,” he added.
Talha Ahmad, chair of the membership committee at the MCB, said that – if Cameron was indeed specifically addressing Muslims – then his comments are “dangerous” as they reinforce an ‘us-and-them’ mentality. “Government – either for hatred, prejudice, sheer ignorance, or maybe out of simple political opportunism – find it fitting that they should frame the debate in that light,” he said. “In my view that is dangerous, because it doesn’t address the issue of integration, it doesn’t address the issue of extremism. If anything, it feeds into it”.