29 Nov 2009
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)views the results of the referendum on the banning of minarets in Switzerland as a tragic and deplorable development. The Swiss system of putting such decisions to the people in a referendum is laudable in itself but reveals the extent to which far right racist groups are winning the battle of ideas on the future of Europe.
Stigmatising Muslim communities and scaremongering with their ‘Eurabia’ thesis, racist groups and political parties are gaining ground across Europe. The Far Right demonstrations in front of mosques in our country, and Lord Pearson’s election as Leader of the UK Independence Party, who has committed to campaign against ‘Islamism’ and immigration, is further evidence of this.
`The Swiss referendum results today show how far and how quickly Europe is moving in the wrong direction in its attitudes and policies towards Muslims and other minority groups in Europe. Mosques and minarets in our European cities are manifestations of the proudly indigenous nature of Islam in Europe. It is tragic that the Far Right is stripping away at our illustrious heritage of coexistence between different faiths and cultures in Europe and replacing it with their warped and xenophobic outlook’, said Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the MCB.
`The rise in anti-Muslim prejudice that has accompanied the Swiss opposition’s campaign will further exacerbate Muslim fears. The results today set a dangerous precedence and demands that Muslims and others must work hard and diligently against the Far Right to reject their venomous ‘Islamisation’ platform. This is no less than a battle of ideas for the future of a plural and progressive Europe’, he added.[END]
Notes to Editors
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.