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July 19, 2005
Apprehension ahead of Blair’s summit with Muslim leaders
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is hosting a summit of all three main party leaders in Britain and Muslim leaders Tuesday amid much apprehension in the community about the agenda reports The Muslim News.
The meeting comes after Blair last week blamed the terrorist attacks in London on the "twisted teaching" of Islam and put the onus on Britain's 1.8 million Muslims to defeat such an "evil."
Some 20 Muslim leaders are understood to have been invited to the summit as individuals and concern has been expressed that the aim may be to try and divide the country’s 1.8 million Muslim community.
“The whole focus has been on trying to put the blame on Islam and the Muslim leadership. The sense of denial spoken about should be more aimed at the refusal by the government and politicians to accept any responsibility for fear of mentioning the Iraq war being a factor,” The Muslim News Editor, Ahmed Versi, said. There is also deep concern about how far Blair may try and impose some kind of secular interpretation of Islam in his declared aim of helping Muslims to find a “moderate and true voice” and counter a “perverted and poisonous interpretation.”
Anxieties have also been raised on the way the Government may try to define its planned new legislation to combat indirect incitement of terrorism and whether it will be extended against anyone voicing support for the Palestinians, Kashmiris and Chechnyans seeking independence. The Government has also said that it intends to ban those Muslims who are banned from entering the US. It is uncertain how far the ban against Muslim leaders may extend. Would a person like Principal of the Muslim College, Dr Zaki Badawi, who was banned from entering the US be expelled from the UK because he is an Egyptian citizen?
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