MCB Response to Editorial 'Tough on Terror', by Inayat Bunglawal
05 December 2003
In his �Id al-Fitr message last week to British Muslims, the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Iqbal Sacranie, wrote:
"When atrocities such as the recent bombings in Saudi Arabia and Turkey are being carried out in the name of Islam, it becomes a great responsibility upon us, as upholders of the true and enlightening message of the Prophets of God, to counteract through our words and deeds this gross distortion of the noble, dignifying message of Islam.
...Let us as Muslims be the first to extend a hand of friendship to those around us - our neighbours, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens - who have, and continue to, embolden us through their support and enthusiasm for realising the common good."
Terrorism is unquestionably an evil and destructive phenomenon. We have repeatedly condemned it in all its ugly manifestations, whether it is practiced by individuals, groups or states.
We understand that the security services believe that, in the wake of the ill-judged war against Iraq, our country is now under a heightened threat of terrorist attack. This week has seen the police make a series of arrests in several parts of the country. A young man from Gloucester has now been charged with terrorist-related offences.
At the same time, it is necessary to keep a sense of proportion about what is happening. Of the 500 or so arrests that have been made under the Terrorism Act 2000 since 9/11, only two have so far been convicted of any terrorist-related offence.
The law should now be allowed to run its impartial course. It must be the duty of Government officials to refrain from making comments that could be prejudicial to the arrested persons. It is surely crucial that those who are actually charged receive - and are seen to receive - a scrupulously fair trial.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain