Or else more of us will become jihadists.
In a sane world, it would be Muslim leaders who would be reassuring the British government that they would redouble efforts to root terrorists out of their midst. “Muslims call for special bank holidays,” from the Daily Mail, with thanks to Designnut:
Muslim leaders summoned to talks with the Government on tackling extremism in their midst called for public holidays to mark their religious festivals….
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly had prepared an uncompromising message on the need to tackle dangerous radicalism.
But, in what she admitted were ‘sharp’ exchanges, some senior Muslim figures turned the tables yesterday and made a series of demands which also included the introduction of Sharia law for family matters.
Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, secretary general of the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland, said: ‘We told her if you give us religious rights, we will be in a better position to convince young people that they are being treated equally along with other citizens.’
Dr Pasha said Miss Kelly had agreed to look at the proposals, though her spokesman insisted later that she did not favour any legal change which would give ‘special treatment’ for the Muslim community.
Some of the 30 moderate Muslim leaders at the meeting told Miss Kelly that important days in their two main religious festivals – Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha – should be made public holidays for followers of the faith.
Sharia law, which is practised in large parts of the Middle East, should also be introduced in Britain, they argued. While it specifies stonings and amputations as routine punishments for crimes, Dr Pasha said he wanted it only for family affairs.
Under the law, a husband pays his wife a dowry on marriage, and money and assets are shared out between family members in specified amounts after someone dies.
‘We are willing to co-operate but there should be a partnership,’ Dr Pasha said.
‘They should understand our problems then we will understand their problems.’
A recent poll suggested that a third of British Muslims would rather live under Sharia law, while a similar number said they also hope Britain will one day become an Islamic state. But Dr Pasha claimed the legal changes he proposed would help convince young Muslims to integrate better into British society.
The Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland claims to be a widely representative umbrella group. However, it does not include more influential and high-profile bodies such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the MCB, also attended the meeting but distanced his group from the calls for Sharia law.
He said: ‘We believe one legal code should apply for all citizens of the UK. There is no place for multiple legal systems for people of different religious or ethnic backgrounds.
‘If people object to a certain law they should campaign peacefully and democratically for a change – but only so that it applies to all people, not just Muslims.’ The Government has accused Muslim leaders of a ‘dreadful misjudgment’ for claiming its foreign policy has fuelled the threat of extremism. An open letter, signed by three Muslim MPs, three peers and 38 community groups, said the ‘debacle’ of Iraq, combined with the recent failure to do more to bring about an immediate end to the Middle East conflict, had encouraged extremists who threaten Britain….
Haras Rafiq, of the Sufi Muslim Council, said: ‘The first thing that we need to do as a community is admit there is a problem.
‘It is like being an alcoholic – we need to stand up and say these things and have an open and honest debate.’
Kharshid Ahmed, chairman of the British Muslim Forum, said: ‘We believe that the threat is still external – it is people coming from outside and leading the radicalisation.
‘We need to deal with that before people inside our communities are leading the radicalisation.’
They already are, Kharshid. Or haven’t you noticed that some of the 7/7 bombers and most of those recently arrested were British citizens?