Enraged Muslims slam Eric Pickles over anti-terror letter
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is facing a storm of criticism after urging Muslim leaders to do more to root out extremism and prevent young people becoming radicalised in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said Muslims should not have to go out of their way prove to loyalty to Britain and rejected suggestions that they were somehow "inherently apart from British society", while the Ramadhan Foundation said his comments were "patronising and factually incorrect".
David Cameron strongly defended Mr Pickles' remarks - made in a letter sent to mosques in England - saying they were "reasonable, sensible and moderate" and that anyone who took issue with them had a problem. But there was support for the MCB from some other faith leaders, with the former chief rabbi Lord Sacks saying that he understood the frustrations of Muslims at being held responsible for dealing with a problem that was beyond their control.
In a letter to Mr Pickles, MCB secretary general Dr Shuja Shafi said that while he accepted the Communities Secretary had made his comments in good faith, they "could have been worded differently".
"We do take issue with the implication that extremism takes place at mosques, and that Muslims have not done enough to challenge the terrorism that took place in our name," he wrote.
"This is why we responded to the media, and an assertion in some quarters, that you were somehow endorsing the idea that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society. We reject such notions.
"We also reject suggestions that Muslims must go out of their way to prove their loyalty to this country of ours. That is why we applaud your response, and that of our Home Secretary, when Mr Nigel Farage suggested that multiculturalism was to blame for terrorism and that there was a fifth column in this country."
Dr Shuja said that since the attacks by Islamist extremists in Paris earlier this month, Muslim communities around Britain had redoubled their efforts to defy the radicals and to call for peace and calm.