Lord Tariq Ahmad
MINISTERS have sent a letter to Muslim leaders to explain how faith in Islam “can be part of British identity”.
Lord Tariq Ahmad, who signed the letter with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said “finding the right response” to these events in Paris is a challenge to everyone.
The letter was sent to 1,000 Muslim leaders after the attacks in Paris.
They said the Government will do all it could to defeat “the voices of division” but ultimately the challenges of integration and radicalisation “cannot be solved from Whitehall alone”.
They added: “Strong community based leadership at a local level is needed.”
“You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity.
“We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today.
“There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country.
“We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam; but we need to show what is.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the letter suggested that Muslims and Islam were apart from British society.
MCB deputy secretary-general Harun Khan said: “We will be writing to Mr Eric Pickles to ask that he clarifies his request to Muslims to ‘explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity’.
“Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?”