JUST Yorkshire condemns in the strongest terms the Muslim Welfare House Terrorist attack and calls on the Government to bring together a national task force to tackle the scourge of growing Islamophobia in this country. We call on all public institutions, prominent politicians and large parts of the media to immediately halt associating the Muslim faith and people of that faith for acts of criminality and terrorism.
From our work and research on the ground, it is evidently clear that the Muslim community continues to feel they are unfairly being held hostage by the press, politicians and some anti-terrorism charities for the acts of criminals and terrorists. This is not helped by the language that is used in the mainstream media by leading politicians questioning the compatibility of the beliefs and values of the Muslim community with British values. This “them and us” culture that has seeped into the mainstream is having a detrimental impact on Muslim communities, particularly but not limited to their civil liberties.
For too long the Muslim community has been asked to apologise, condemn and take responsibility for actions that they are not connected with, are part of, nor have a relationship with or control of, by both the mainstream media and some prominent politicians. We would urge the Government to pull together a multi-agency task force that includes policy makers, prominent politicians, charities and community/faith representatives to design and develop a national strategy that impacts on all facets of Islamophobia, which includes tackling the root causes and consequences of Islamophobia. We would urge that task force to develop an accredited training and awareness programme for prominent media outlets community and government agencies to ensure responsible reporting, spotting Islamophobia signs early, and to ensure proportionate measures are put in to place to prevent escalation.
Nadeem Murtuja, Chair of JUST Yorkshire stated, “It is evidentially clear that more than a third of referrals to the Governments Prevent Anti-Terrorism programme were to do with far-right extremism, an increase of 28%, the highest figure since 2003. It is incredibly worrying that in some quarters of society Islamophobia seems to be socially acceptable, and there is a lack of regard for the impact this is having on the Muslim community, and those who stand up for their liberty, human rights and freedom can be devastating. The tragic cases of Mohammed Saleem, Muhsin Ahmed and MP Jo Cox are a testament to that fact.
The Muslim community is not only the biggest victims of terrorism worldwide; they are also expected to repeatedly apologise and prove their British status over and above any other community in this country. We are urging the Government to pull together a multi-agency/community/faith task force to pull together a national strategy to tackle the growing scourge of Islamophobia. This should also include a parliamentary-backed protocol that is embedded into the Ministerial code of conduct, to stop all members of parliament from making populist remarks that fuel hate, anger, resentment and division. Equally important is for the task force to consider how faith institutions such as Mosques can fully be reflected in the democratic process”.