Does it include profiles of Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza? The question is not rhetorical: if it doesn’t face honestly the presence and appeal of these men, how accurate can it really be? Note also the spurious attempt to insert Islam into Britain’s history. From the Times Online, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
BRITAIN’S 1.6 million Muslims are forging a new identity by blending the colourful traditions of their parents with the majority culture, according to a new guide.
Muslims are raising the profile of their religion in the performing arts as singers, actors and comedians and they are also reaching the top in sport, politics and in all the leading professions, the guide shows.
In fashion, traditional loose-fitting and modest designs are being fused with Western styles, especially for women.
Muslims in Britain, published by the Muslim Council of Britain and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, was launched last night at a reception at the Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London to mark the fast-breaking festival of Eid-al Fitr.
The guide celebrates the achievements of British Muslims at a time when the community faces regular incidents of hostility and discrimination and is struggling to dissociate itself from extreme Islamists who have embraced terrorism in the name of their religion.
Faced with unprecedented levels of interest in Islam, the Muslim Council of Britain has launched a new information service, MCBDirect, in an attempt to dispel some of the more damaging myths and provide accurate details about the growing community.
The guide cites possible evidence that Muslims have been in Britain in some form since at least the 8th century, based on the discovery of coins of King Offa stamped with the Shahada, or Muslim declaration of faith.
In Ballycottin on the southeast coast of Ireland, a 9thcentury brooch was also found, stamped with the Islamic inscription of the Basmala, the words “In the name of God the most merciful, the most beneficent”.
But it was after the international routes of trade and commerce opened up in the 19th century that the community became properly established.
By 1842, about 3,000 Muslim seamen, known as lascars, were visiting Britain regularly and many married and settled here. The largest period of migration was in the 1950s, when Muslims came to Britain from rural areas of South Asia, mainly to ease Britain’s labour shortfall.