Spying on Communities Contravenes Cherished British Freedom

18 Oct 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) today voiced the alarm and concern that is resonating in the British Muslim community after reports that the community is the subject of the `the biggest spying programme in modern times.’ Such reports, if true, point to a failure to live up to our collective British values of fairplay, justice and the primacy of the rule of law.

The revelations from The Guardian newspaper and also from a study by the Institute of Race Relations that discovered that the government’s Prevent agenda and its method of intelligence gathering relied on service delivery bodies to effectively spy on British citizens.

The MCB reaffirms its stand that crimes are not committed by entire communities. We are all for effective counter-terrorism strategies that target and disrupt terrorist networks. But we would do well to move away from Cold War mentalities and realise that British Muslims are as part of the solution, not the problem.

Secretary General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said, `These latest reports are disturbing and, if true, are totally counter-productive in collective pursuit of terrorists. We risk playing into the hands of the terrorists by singling out entire communities.”

“It is time to draw a clear demarcation line between community cohesion and counter-terrorism. The MCB calls upon the government to protect and treat British Muslims as equal citizens without prejudice or favour,’ Dr Abdul Bari added.

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The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.

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