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September 18, 2001

Blair reassures British Muslims

In an article for The Muslim News, the Prime Minister's message to British Muslims seeks to reassure Muslims on impending attacks on Afghanistan.


"People across our country – and across the world – have been united in their shock, disbelief and revulsion at the terrorist attacks in the United States last week.

Communities, countries and faiths have come together in condemnation of those responsible for this evil and in sympathy and sorrow for the thousands of victims.

The scale of the catastrophe has been difficult to comprehend. The loss of life has been enormous.

Thousands of heart-broken families – not just in America but in every corner of our globe - are grieving for the loss of their loved ones.

I’m afraid that they include hundreds of families here in Britain. There is no doubt that this is the worst terrorist outrage involving British citizens since the Second World War.

The victims of these indiscriminate terrorist attacks were innocent men, women and children of many, many nationalities and of all faiths.

Such acts of despicable cruelty are, I know, wholly contrary to the Islamic faith as Muslim leaders and clerics here in Britain have made clear.

Barbarism of the kind we have just witnessed is totally foreign to the true spirit and values of Islam which puts so much stress on tolerance and respect for human life.

I want to assure Muslim News readers that the vast majority of decent people in Britain realise that neither you nor Islam is in any way responsible for what happened in the United States last week.

Those responsible are not communities nor religions but fanatical individuals.

Blaming Islam is as ludicrous as blaming Christianity for loyalist attacks on Catholics or nationalist attacks on Protestants in Northern Ireland.


On the contrary, we know that the overwhelming majority of Muslims totally condemn these atrocities as the strong statement of the Muslim Council of Britain last week made clear, denouncing the ‘senseless and evil acts that appal all people of conscience.”

It’s why Muslim states are among those helping to build the international coalition to bring to justice those responsible for these terrorist attacks and to work together to prevent such atrocities in the future.

Terrorism of this kind knows no mercy, no pity nor national borders. It is also an attack not just on innocent people but on the values of tolerance, freedom and democracy that underpin our way of life.

So the international community is coming together to tackle this collective threat to our security, our nations and our values.

We need to identify the groups behind terrorism of this kind, how they operate, how they move about the world, how they are financed and how they are supported.

We must also show we will not tolerate those states which harbour the terrorist groups.

We must act carefully but with real resolve. And I would add that, now more than ever, we have reason not to let the Middle East Peace Process slip still further but, if at all possible, to re-invigorate it and move it forward.

Despite the scale of the tragedy, there has been no rush to retaliate by the United States.

Instead the US deserves credit, at a time of tremendous national emotion, for patience and care as it has gathered together – with help from intelligence sources round the world - the evidence which reveals the people and groups behind last week’s attacks.

That must continue just as we will continue patiently building the international coalition of the civilised countries of the world to hold to account those responsible for last week’s mass murder and to dismantle the machinery of terrorism which made it possible."

ENDS

For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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