Show British Muslims some respect, urges Roy Hattersley

Roy Hattersley“… much of what is said and written about Muslim Britain carries a clear message. Live like us or risk being treated like pariahs….  was it necessary to spread the lurid stories about kidnapping, torture and beheading before it was clear that anyone would be accused of those abominations? The Muslim people of Birmingham, who are as horrified by such atrocities as residents in the home counties, did not regard the unattributable briefing as proof that the arrests were justified. They wrote them off as propaganda – propaganda against them. And, intended or not, it had the malign result of increasing the suspicion in which all Muslims are held.

“The way in which the police behaved in Birmingham last week won few, if any, recruits to the ranks of al-Qaida or its supporting cadres. But it did alienate a large number of basically decent young men who ought to be on the authorities’ side. The grandsons of immigrants – born and educated here – are not prepared to accept the slights of second-class status that their grandparents bore with fortitude. Convincing them that society wants Muslims to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship is not only a moral necessity. It is essential to the eventual triumph of the rule of law. All they need is a little respect. They received too little last week.”

Roy Hattersley in the Guardian, 5 February 2007