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Muslims call for vigilance re: threat of "terror"


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I took this article from: http://www.mcb.org.uk/02-04-04.html

'We must unite to defeat this threat'

by Inayat Bunglawala

Yesterday, the Muslim Council of Britain took the exceptional step of writing to the Imams and Chairmen of each and every mosque in the UK – over 1000 of them – calling upon them to observe the utmost vigilance in the face of a common terror threat that hangs over us all.

The MCB letter has been issued in the wake of last month’s atrocious bombings of the Madrid trains. There can be little doubt now that our country has become a premium target for terrorists.

Tuesday's huge counter-terrorist operation involving over 700 Police officers across London and the Home Counties which saw twenty-four premises searched, eight men of Pakistani descent arrested together with the seizure of half a ton of ammonium nitrate will inevitably be seen as evidence of the increased threat facing our country from terrorists.

At the Muslim Council of Britain, we see it as the duty of all Britons, Muslims and non-Muslims, to work together to thwart any danger to this country and its inhabitants.

Yet, very often, British Muslims have been told that they have not condemned terrorists loudly enough and need to do more. Last week’s semi-literate lecture in Italy by Lord Carey admonishing Muslims for being backward and not speaking out against suicide bombers was a classic case in point.

This time though, it was heartening to see Peter Clarke, Head of the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist branch, making it clear that:

"the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community are law abiding and completely reject all forms of violence."

Clarke even urged the media to refrain from using the term "Islamic terrorist" - a term which has caused a lot of hurt to British Muslims because of the utter incompatibility of the teachings of Islam and the blessed Prophet Muhammad with the vile and destructive phenomenon of terrorism.

Still, the immediate spotlight will fall on Britain's two million strong Muslim community. The British press has been awash with provocative stories since 9/11 about the inflammatory rantings of Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri. Yet the wild level of coverage given to these two loudmouths is out of all proportion to their minuscule following in this country and has arguably helped them to further their divisive agenda to the detriment of good relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.

This is not to ignore the real possibility that there may well be a tiny group of Muslims who have decided to embark upon the path of violence. They should be caught and tried according to the law. If found guilty, then the full weight of the judicial system ought to be brought to bear on them. We will have no sympathy for those who plan to endanger the lives of innocent people.

The Qur’an teaches us:

“He who killed any person, unless it be a person guilty of manslaughter, or of spreading chaos in the land, should be looked upon as though he had slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.†(al-Qur’an 5:32)

We in the Muslim community need to do everything we can to ensure that mischievous or criminal elements are prevented from infiltrating our community and provoking any unlawful activity. Certainly, any suspected criminal activity should be reported to the police.

Our youth should be provided with correct Islamic guidance and not left to be preyed upon by ideologues with sinister motives.

Muslim communities around the country need to liaise with the local Police and give them the fullest cooperation in dealing with any criminal activity including possible terrorist threats.

“Help one another to virtue and God-consciousness and do not help one other to sin and transgression.†(al-Qur’an 5:2)

Once in receipt of this information, it is then the duty of the police to verify the exact nature of the threat.

A real concern we do have is that Tuesday's arrests should be seen in the wider context of events in this country since 9/11. Many of you will recall reading about the arrests in November 2002 of six men for allegedly plotting a cyanide gas attack on the London Underground. Do you, however, remember reading anything further about that case, such as a trial hearing or any convictions being secured for that dastardly plot? No, neither can I.

Similarly, you will recall the high-profile police raid on the Finsbury Park mosque in January 2003 involving some 150 police officers. Seven men were arrested at that time. All, except for one man - who was charged with immigration offences - were later released.

There are a number of other examples of incidents that have received prominent media attention only for the individuals to be subsequently released without any charges brought against them. The impact of such ordeals on the persons concerned and their families is usually crushing.

Indeed, according to Home Office figures, between 9/11 and December 31st 2003, 537 people were arrested under anti-terror legislation, with 94 of them being charged with terrorist-related offences; 263 people were released without charge and only 6 convictions had actually been secured.

The British Muslim community has faced a severe backlash following the Madrid bombings. Just last week, in Plumstead, South East London, over 40 graves were desecrated in a Muslim cemetery. In Ilford, a Christian fanatic abducted a Muslim schoolgirl and with a razor blade slashed crosses on her hand, upper arms and side, while demanding that she recite the Trinity during an hour-long ordeal.

So we would urge caution from all concerned in the wake of Tuesday's worrying development.

We have been told in recent weeks by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Home Secretary David Blunkett and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens that our country is facing an unprecedented terror threat. Who can now doubt them?

All of us, Muslims and non-Muslims, need to work in a united manner to defeat it.

Inayat Bunglawala

Secretary,

Media Committee,

The Muslim Council of Britain

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Thats real good! Shows not all muslims are as evil as the west likes to make out!

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