“Where is this political opportunism taking us? Into the dark tunnel of national strife. The corrosive effect of the political and media onslaught against British Muslims is having its impact on all sections of society. What is claimed to be an assertion of free speech and democratic rights is rapidly becoming the demonisation of a community. Once they are dehumanised, who cares for their democratic, civil or human rights?
“Since John Reid demanded that Muslim ‘bullies’ must be faced down and Jack Straw declared the veil a ‘statement of separation’, ministers have fallen over themselves to make increasingly unbridled attacks on Muslims. The shadow home secretary, David Davis, has accused our communities of creating a ‘voluntary apartheid’ and colleges have taken action against veiled teachers and students. The tabloid press has declared open season on Muslims with one hostile front-page story after another.
“In practice this has amounted to incitement to violence. In recent weeks verbal and physical attacks on Muslims have surged alarmingly. Women have had their scarves ripped off. Mosques and Islamic centres in Preston and Falkirk have been attacked by mobs and firebombed.”
Daud Abdullah, deputy secretary general of the MCB, in the Guardian, 17 October 2006