PRESS RELEASE – 6th June 2013
British Muslims for Secular Democracy (bmsd) are saddened to hear about the burning of the Somali Bravanese Centre in Muswell Hill, North London.
Within hours of the suspected fire-bombing, some EDL supporters left approving comments on social media sites, and called for further attacks on Muslim communities. This highlights the intent of extremist groups to inflict damage upon Muslims, and anything associated with them. The “Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks” project has collected data on various anti-Muslim incidents in the aftermath of the Woolwich murder: headscarves being ripped off Muslim women’s heads, and weapons being brandished at other mosques, to name a few.
The latest incident signifies an escalation in this trend, which could have resulted in serious injury or even a fatality. We are also surprised at the absence of any response from the Prime Minister or Home Secretary Teresa May, especially at a time of heightened tensions and the fear that British Muslim communities are experiencing in the wake of Lee Rigby’s murder. We do welcome Mayor Boris Johnson’s response, in which he reiterates his – and London’s – commitment to a safer society, and a rejection of extremism and prejudice in the name of religion.
Just as members of British Muslim communities have expressed their sorrow and disgust at the tragic murder of Lee Rigby (at the hands of fanatics who have misused the teachings of Islam), we would expect the wider British society to condemn this act of mindless violence against a place of worship, and against British Muslims.
Dr Shaaz Mahboob of British Muslims for Secular Democracy said: “We share the grief felt by the Somali community, and can understand the sense of fear being experienced by British Muslims across the country. We appeal to the wider British communities to come together as a tolerant society, which supports each other during difficult times.”
Notes to the editors:
- bmsd is made up of a group of Muslim democrats of diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, who support a clear separation between religion and the State.
- bmsd’s mission statement: “To promote civic engagement, social inclusion, responsible citizenship and good governance particularly within constituent Muslim communities of Britain; in order to build an understanding of the shared values between all citizens to enable them to live in an inclusive, pluralist, secular and confident Britain.”
- bmsd claims no mandate or false representative status. Our primary concern is democratic engagement not detailed theological analysis or debate. The level and depth of commitment to the doctrinal core and orthodoxy of the faith varies among Muslims as much as it does in members of other faith groups. bmsd founders wish to create a platform for alternative, diverse Muslim views, essential for a progressive, multi-layered, democratic identity that is not in conflict with itself or fellow citizens.
- For details please visit http://www.bmsd.org.uk
For any further queries, please contact: Dr Shaaz Mahboob on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tehmina Kazi on 0207 242 8691.