Over the last few weeks we have seen one Labour minister after another getting on the bandwagon to attack the Muslim community. The recent comments by Jack Straw on the issue of wearing the niqab sparked off another wave of derogatory remarks about the Muslim community both by government ministers and the tabloid media. In addition, over the last week we have seen many of our sisters being abused for wearing the hijab and niqab, a sister being suspended from her job and an attack upon an innocent Imam. Speaking in Blackburn, Straw said “The article sparked quite a bigger debate than I anticipated which left me surprised. But it sparked off concern about parallel communities. We have to face up to the difficult challenge of achieving a greater understanding of different cultures.” The reality is that Jack Straw’s comments far from achieving “greater understanding between communities” have done nothing other than breed hatred and xenophobia within Britain towards Muslims and Islam.
Soon after Straw’s irresponsible comments several Labour ministers from Prescott to Brown to Kelly have all come out commenting on how relevant and necessary this debate has been. Phil Woolas warned that the wearing of veils by some Muslim women could provoke “fear and resentment” and play into the hands of far-right activists. This is the same Phil Woolas who has ministerial responsibility for community cohesion and at a recent meeting with the Muslim community in Bolton dismissed Muslim concerns about foreign policy as a “load of crap”. And it is the same minister who said that a Muslim sister should be sacked from her job simply for wearing a piece of clothing!
The question is why has the Labour Leader of the Commons made an issue out of something that is no issue at all. If one thinks Straw raised this issue to further understanding between communities one could not be further from the truth. Straw’s comments are not an isolated occurrence. On the 20th of September John Reid appeared in East London patronisingly asking Muslim parents to look for the tell tale signs of ‘radicalisation’, including ‘dropping out of school or college’ and adopting ‘strange new friends’. On 11th October Ruth Kelly announced government policy to buy Muslim organisations into silence over foreign policy by saying “In future, I am clear that our strategy of funding and engagement must shift significantly towards those organisations that are taking a proactive leadership role in tackling extremism and defending our shared values”. In other words, those organisations which continue to expose the truth of Blair’s misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to be blacklisted and treated as terrorists. And this week Ruth Kelly ratcheted up the propaganda by urging local government chiefs to spy on Muslims in schools, colleges and universities and identify extremist ‘hotspots’ in the community.
This Labour campaign of attacking the Muslim community and whipping up media hysteria has been deliberately designed to deflect attention from the internal chaos within Labour ranks and the quagmire this government is mired down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reality is that ever since the so called ‘coup’ against Blair by his opponents within the Brown camp, ministers have been lining up, one after another, to attack the Muslim community. The ongoing drama over Blair’s departure and the petty internal squabbles regarding who will succeed him shows that the Labour party is in a state of utter chaos. Government ministers are attacking the Muslim community to position themselves within their party ahead of a leadership election.
Furthermore, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to be part of the war crimes legacy of Blair. Only last week the Lancet reported up to 650,000 deaths in Iraq since Bush and Blair’s criminal invasion in 2003. The situation has become so dire that even the head of the British army, Sir Richard Dannatt, couldn’t refrain from saying that the British occupation is only “exacerbating security problems”. This unusually frank intervention by the chief of the Army reveals the extent of chaos prevailing within Blair’s ranks. By raising irrelevant issues such as the niqab the government is desperately attempting to silence the debate on Blair’s foreign policy disaster.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
We must not be intimidated by Labour’s spin and scaremongering. It is not the actions of the Muslim community that is causing insecurity in Britain. Rather it is Bush and Blair’s continued brutal occupation and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan that is responsible for the chaos in the world today.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain urges the Muslim community to remain united and resolute on Islam and continue to speak vociferously against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and expose Labour’s xenophobic agenda against our community.
“They plot and plan, and Allah (swt) also plans, and Allah (swt) is the best of planners” [TMQ Yusuf: 31]