Cameron’s speech misses the point, says British Muslim Initiative

The BMI is deeply concerned with Conservative party’s and its leader David Cameron’s renewed attack on Muslim organisations and on Multiculturalism. It is their attack on Multiculturalism and freedom of religion that will divide Britain and weaken national cohesion. In stating that those who call for considering the religious duties of Muslims, as others, within the law are trying to divide the community, Mr Cameron is being both obtuse, ignorant and over simplifying the issue.

“Muslims, as is the case with their religious groups and minorities, have certain religious practices that should be upheld in the interests of respecting freedom of religion. These practises are not against the law. Mr Cameron failed, for example, to criticise the Jewish organisations over its imposition of Judaic laws and practices within their communities, while denying the exact same rights to Muslims by suggesting they divide Britain ,” stated Ihtisham Hibatullah of the BMI.

Mr Cameron has failed to correctly identify those individuals who preach hatred, violence and divisions within all communities while instead has chosen to attack mainstream Muslim organisations. His speech and announced polices have only one meaning: he is not keen to deal with the core issues or to build bridges with all communities, that is why he is not trustworthy not only by British Muslims but by all.

British Muslim Initiative press release, 30 January 2007

The point about Judaic laws and practices is well made. The Tory Party report Uniting the Country (pdf here), which Cameron launched, refers to the alleged danger posed by reformist Islamists who are “prepared to use democratic freedoms” in order to establish “a parallel system … of religiously derived law”. They are condemned for pursuing “goals which are destructive of a tolerant and liberal democracy”. Yet I don’t recall the Tory Party denouncing the Jewish community as a threat to western liberal values when the United Synagogue successfully lobbied for an Eruv in Golders Green. If they had, they would have been accused, quite rightly, of pandering to anti-semitism.