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December 03, 2003
Muslims reject MacShane apology as ‘weasel words’
Muslim and community members of the Constituency Labour Party in Rotherham have rejected the latest apology from local MP Denis MacShane for his recent Islamophobic outburst, published in the Sheffield Star Wednesday, reports The Muslim News.
Councillor Jahangir Akhtar told The Muslim News that his article, entitled, ‘MP Says Sorry for Hurt To Muslims,’ were “weasel words” and did not retract his offensive remarks.
He said that MacShane, who is Foreign Office Minister for European Affairs, made no mention of his insulting demand that Muslims had to make a choice between the so-called “British way” of political dialogue and non-violence and the “way of terrorists.”
Akhtar said that representatives of the constituency party would again be meeting with their local MP this Friday to take up the issue further. Members have been threatening to write to Prime Minister Tony Blair demanding that he is sacked until he makes a full public apology and retracts his offence.
In his first response to the criticism last week, MacShance issued a statement in which he went as far as saying he regretted “any misunderstandings that may have arisen” but that he stood by his original comments, in which he also called on Muslim leaders to condemn terrorism more strongly.
In his article for the Sheffield Star, he said that he now welcomed “the condemnation locally and nationally by British Muslims of the atrocities such as the mass killings we have seen recently.” He also included platitudes such as that he had “come to admire and respect the Muslims of South Yorkshire,” describing the community as “hard-working, strict in their family ways, strong and pious in their religion.”
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