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August 17, 2005

MCB renews call for judicial inquiry into London bombings

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has renewed its call for a judicial inquiry into last month’s London bombings, saying that it should be the “starting point” to developing a strategy for the Government to work with the Muslim community to defeat terrorism.

“We cannot address this shocking phenomenon unless we know the causes,” the MCB said in a briefing for a judicial inquiry obtained by The Muslim News. “Misdirected action has the potential to make matters far worse for the future. We fear that such misdirected action can be brought about by hasty or erroneous judgment on causes,” it warned.

The renewed call comes after Muslim leaders have criticised the Government for effectively dictating the agenda in its pledge to consult with the community. Some have accused Prime Minister, Tony Blair, of using the claimed partnership as a as a “public relations exercise.”

In a letter to Home Office Minister, Hazel Blears, MCB Secretary General, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, said that Muslims were “concerned” that the current proposed strategy will not be the most effective. “The values of peace, freedom, justice, tolerance and mutual respect that we so deeply cherish are at serious risk of being weakened by any precipitate or incorrectly directed action by government itself,” he warned in the letter seen by The Muslim News.

In their briefing for an inquiry, the MCB criticized many politicians for rushing to judgments about the causes of the London bombings. The blame for the cause put on a ‘perversion of Islam’ and an “evil ideology” were “speculative and lack evidentiary foundation,” it said. As a direct result, the value and need for multiculturism as a basic precept of British society has come under attack.

Repeating its call for a Statutory Inquiry, chaired by an eminent judge, the MCB said that it cannot play a full role in getting to the bottom of the bombing without the active support of the Government. “It is the duty of the Government to protect its citizens and in order to discharge that duty it is imperative for our Government to do all it can to find the true reasons for such alienation and hostility to a section of the youth in a faith group as to blow themselves up to cause mayhem and terror,” it warned.

Writing to Blears, Sacranie also said that he did not wish to see the working parties being set up under her so-called Integration Commission being “seen to undermine the existing Muslim organizations or their work.” He also called for the role of the media and the effect of foreign policy to be added to seven identified areas. Rather than the agendas being imposed by the Government, Sacranie suggested that it would be “in the public interest to empower the Muslim community itself to undertake work in these areas.”

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