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Muslim tells Christians 'War on Terror' seems like 'War on Islam'

19-03-2006

Ekklesia:

A Muslim leader from an area connected with two of the London suicide bombers has told Christians that many Muslims feel the 'War on terror' is really a war against Islam.

The comments came this weekend when a Muslim leader was invited for the first time to address Leeds and Ripon diocesan Synod ('parliament').

The address came just a few weeks after the Archbishop of York came to Leeds to meet Muslim leaders.

Church leaders meeting in Leeds on Saturday were addressed by Hanif Malik, Project Director of the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in Beeston, which the Archbishop John Sentamu visited.

Bomber Shehzad Tanweer, 22, grew up in Beeston and ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, was originally from the Beeston area.

Hanif Malik told delegates to the Synod that there was now an ‘unprecedented opportunity for people of different faiths to work together’. Praising the support that church leaders had given the Muslim community during recent difficult events he said that the challenge was to turn an increase in interfaith dialogue into something more tangible.

He spoke during a debate on the Anglican church's strategy for mission and ministry in Leeds.

Hanif Malik told Synod that the relentless media spotlight had given sections of the Muslim community a 'siege mentality' with the feeling that the 'War on terror' was, in reality, a war on Islam.

But he said that after the 7/7 bombings in London and the focus on Beeston there had been an overwhelming response from other faith organisations. "Our faiths have much in common" he said.

"Unfortunately we focus on difference and negativity. But we have far more in common than that which divides us."

He said faith leaders in the future would need to demonstrate commitment to collaborative working.



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