13th May 2015
In response to the government announcement of proposed new counter-terrorism measures, on 13 May 2015 Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain issued the following statement:
“Any initiative to keep our country safe is welcomed. The scourge of terrorism affects us all. We all must challenge acts of terrorism and ideas and the environment in which it thrives. The Muslim Council of Britain, and indeed the Muslim community as a whole, has consistently and vocally challenged and denounced acts of terrorism and those who incite, encourage or support acts of terrorism, and will continue to do so in the best interests of our country.
Our best defence is to hold onto our values firmly – values of freedom, justice, fairness, rule of law, respect and tolerance. Terrorists seek to divide our society and undermine our values and therefore our action must not give them indirect victory by curtailing our rights, alienating communities and giving grounds to ideologically driven vested interests.
Government proposals, as reported in the media, run the risks of seriously limiting free speech, impeding into media freedom and may further alienate a wide section of our nation.
We call on our government to tread carefully and not to rush into bringing in yet more legislation without proper debate, engaging all stakeholders, building consensus and unity between communities. That, in our view, is in the interest of our national security and in keeping with our fine traditions.
The MCB stands ready to respond to any call for dialogue to address the causes of terrorism and will energetically advocate our position as we have done in the past. We will set out our view clearly and constructively once our government sets out the detailed proposals.[ends]