04 Mar 2011
The Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed the speech by Nick Clegg in which he made a nuanced defence of multiculturalism, a process by which people respect and communicate with each other, rather than build walls between each other. The Deputy Prime Minister’s optimistic speech speaks of British Muslims as an integral part of making Britain an open, British society.
Responding to the speech, Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “In this speech, the Deputy Prime Minister has made a much-needed plea for a deeper and informed discussion on multiculturalism and the state of Britain today.
Mr Clegg’s Cabinet colleague, Baroness Sayeda Warsi, was correct in observing that anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry is quite openly discussed in Britain today. In his speech, Nick Clegg has built on this observation by speaking out against the corrosive tendency of the media to confuse the tenets of Islam with the actions of terrorists. In our view, a confident and open government should engage with all sections of society, particularly its critical friends.
We need a national conversation not only on the phenomenon of extremism and its expression in the far right and amongst zealots who adopt a religious vocabulary, but also on the much-referred to crisis of identity that focuses inordinately on young Muslims. The uncertainties of identity are much more widespread in society. At a time when Britain faces many challenges it is important that we have a responsible discussion about our shared future in a way that does not project anxieties on to minority communities.”[Ends]