08 Apr 2004
As part of their regular quarterly meetings with the Home Secretary, a delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain yesterday met with David Blunkett, the Home Office Minister, Fiona Mactaggart and senior Home Office officials.
MCB Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie stated that the delegation conveyed a number of grave concerns affecting the British Muslim community.
He said, “We are pleased with the positive response we have had from the Home Secretary on some issues while several other matters remain unresolved and under study.”
During the meeting Mr Blunkett reiterated the government’s decision to forge ahead with legislation outlawing incitement to religious hatred. This the MCB welcomed, but emphasised that this major lucuna in law needed to be addressed with urgency as it has been a major concern of British Muslims for a number of years.
Responding to the serious concerns of British Muslims about the reported implantation of spies and the recruitment of agent provocateurs in the community by the MI5 as well as recent press reports of MI5 agents approaching some Muslim families urging them to send their children overseas, the Home Secretary acknowledged that such practice would be clearly divisive and gave an undertaking to investigate the matter fully.
Mr Blunkett acknowledged the harmful consequences of the use of offensive jargon such as “Islamic terrorists”. He assured the delegation that the Home Office favoured the use of the term “international terrorism” and agreed to provide guidance to all government departments to avoid the use of inflammatory language which could lead to harming community relations and instilling fear in the wider population.
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