David Cameron's suggestion that Muslims are not doing enough to tackle religious extremism has caused frustration and offence in Birmingham's Muslim community, especially considering the consistent work that has gone on for years in marginalising extremists in our mosques and neighbourhoods.
The majority of that work is done quietly and out of the spotlight. The recent successful effort to send Anjem Chaudory packing is a case in point. Below is a statement of Muslim councillors, religious leaders and community organisations determined to ensure his message of hate stays out of Brum.
David Cameron should take note.
BIRMINGHAM COALITION OF MUSLIM ORGANIZATIONS AND MOSQUES
Resolution against the presence of Anjem Choudary in Birmingham
We the undersigned wish to express our concern over the recent visits by Anjem Choudary to the city of Birmingham. Mr Choudary has been involved in setting up a number of stalls and study circles. In his endeavor, he has, on occasions, managed to attract a number of local young people.
We categorically wish to express our opposition to the radical preaching of Anjem Choudary, and his small cohort of followers. He does not represent the majority of the Muslim community in Birmingham. His appearances are a means to increasing his support here and to spreading his message of hate and division within our city. We must do all that we can to ensure that his objectives are not achieved. We would urge all members of the wider community to assist and support us in this message.
In the past, the Muslim community has vehemently challenged and openly opposed the preaching of extreme organisations such as Al-Muhajiroun, Al-Ghurabaa and Islam4UK. Their actions and interpretations of Islam are far removed from the true spirit of Islam. Mr Choudary has been an important player within these organisations and at times their official spokesperson. We are fully aware of his track record and therefore cannot afford to remain complacent about his presence here in Birmingham.
Whilst we wholeheartedly support the rights of individuals and organisations to free speech, we do not support disingenuous initiatives which are designed to bring disharmony to our city. In the past we have stood against the racist provocation of the English Defence League in Birmingham. We now face another message of hatred this time brought to our city by Anjem Choudary.
We wish to make it very clear that he is not welcome here.
Birmingham Central Mosque
Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif
Confederation of Sunni Mosques (representing over 150 mosques)
Councillor Ansar Ali Khan
Councillor Ayoub Khan
Councillor Mohammed Idrees
Councillor Mohammed Ishtiaq
Councillor Salma Yaqoob
Councillor Shokat Ali
Councillor Tanveer Choudhry
Councillor Tariq Khan
Dudley Muslim Association
Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre
Hazrat Sultan Bahu Trust
Hear My Voice
Idaara Maarif-e-Islam Hussainia Mosque and Community Centre
Imam Cultural and Research Centre
Islamic Society of Britain (B’ham branch)
Masjid-e-Hamza Mazhar Iqbal – Chair, Sparkbrook Traders Assoc.
Muslim Association of Britain (Birmingham)
Muslim Women’s Network
Pakistani Community Development Network
Qamar Bhatti – Chair, MRB Foundation
Rubina Iqbal – Chair, Sparkhill Asian Women Assoc.
Saheli Women’s Group
Somali Disability & Elderly Support Group
The Amanah Mosque
The Bangladesh Council
The Muath Trust
The Salaam Institute
TYGA Youth Forum
Washwood Heath Council of Mosques (representing 13 mosques)
Young Muslims UK (Birmingham)