British Muslims a Success Story in 2004
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LONDON — If a Muslim community in Europe was to be awarded first prize in integration and remarkable achievements, the British would be definitely singled out, and deservedly so.
Standing up strongly to xenophobic ideologues and the Zionist lobby, proving that they are really a heavyweight community and earning the respect of government officials and MPs are success stories very rare to hear of in the West in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which, in effect, created a new world order.
The terrorist attacks cut both ways as they unleashed an unprecedented ferocious campaign against Islam and Muslims in the West, on the one hand, and made a large number of people in Europe to read about this religion and discover that it only preached about the need for forgiveness, love and mercy.
The year 2004 witnessed an increasing number of Britons accepting Islam. In February, the Sunday Times reported that some of the country’s top landowners and celebrities have embraced the Muslim faith.
Jonathan Birt, the son of Lord Birt; and Emma Clark, the granddaughter of former liberal prime minister Herbert Asquith; are only two of 14,000 who reverted to Islam in Britain.
After the Muslim support for their traditional Labour party had halved and the free fall of the party’s ratings in the local and European Parliament elections, the government has come to realize the fact that the Muslim vote does really count and planned to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim citizens.
The Home Office has already unveiled plans to put forward a legislation criminalizing incitement of religious hatred.
“Such Muslim campaigns have actually paid off and scared away the Zionist lobby and the extremist right-wing,” Mohammad Sawalah, the deputy head of the Muslim League in Britain, told IslamOnline.net Monday, December 27.
Senior British parliamentarians admitted anti-terrorism laws are being used “disproportionately” against Muslims.
In a severe blow to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “anti-terror” measures, the House of Lords ruled on December 16 that detention of foreign “terror suspects” without trial was illegal.
British Muslims, additionally, have stood up strongly to xenophobic ideologues, who thought that their anti-Islam rants would go unpunished.
British police arrested earlier in the month the leader of the extremist British National Party (BNP), Nick Griffin, for describing Islam as “wicked, vicious faith has expanded through a handful of cranky lunatics about 1,300 years ago until it’s now sweeping country after country.”
Last July, Barclays, Britain’s third-biggest bank, closed the BNP’s accounts thanks to growing influence of the Muslim community.
In January, the MCB lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and the BBC, urging robust disciplinary action against columnist and presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk.
Thanks to an immediate Muslim action, the BBC suspended the presenter’s morning show pending an investigation, while Kilroy-Silk offered an apology over describing Arabs as “suicide bombers, limb amputators, and women repressors.”
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre played host last month to the national event organized by the ISB under the title “Your Muslim Neighbor.”
The one-week gala highlighted the valuable contributions made by British Muslims to everyday life in Britain.
In view of the mounting racist attacks targeting British Muslims, a new pocket guide saw the light in September 25 to educate the community about their basic rights and responsibilities in a bid to allay their fears.
‘Know Your Rights & Responsibilities’ is the title of the 16-page guide, which was published by the MCB.
Moreover, Europe’s biggest Muslim community center opened in London on June 11.
The six storey center can accommodate 10,000 worshippers, as it has a library, crèche, conference rooms, a gym and classrooms.
(Posted on December 29, 2004)