31st Jan 2007
We concur with Marie Breen Smyth and Jeroen Gunning (13th February 2007) exposition of the Policy Exchange's recent report on British Muslims. The right-wing think tank has assembled disparate arguments and 'facts' to fetishize difference and give credence to an emerging culture of bigotry.
The Policy Exchange's offering betrays its pathological and consistent vehemence towards the MCB. We cannot help that, and we always welcome constructive criticism. But we will hesitate to take note from an organisation that has sought to ensure that its research findings are made to fit its stated political aim – and not the other way round.
More importantly, however, the Report has sought to stigmatise young Britons, with its monochromatic treatment of the Muslim diaspora as a homogenous category as opposed to the heterogeneous mosaic it truly represents. By confusing 'Islamism' with increasing religiosity, the Report implies that those who seek to negotiate their faith with modern British values are somehow suspect, a problem to our nation's collective fabric. This is condescending to young Britons. Identity ultimately, will be forged through consensus, not compliance.
We are all in need for credible research that informs a mature discussion. Sadly, we have witnessed a missed opportunity where the Policy Exchange gives succour to shrill hysteria.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari,
The Muslim Council of Britain