The Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation, has condemned the sectarianism gripping Muslim communities in the UK. Here we reproduce a press release the MCB disseminated in the wake of Anjem Choudary’s Edgware Road demonstration on May 10.
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and do not separate.” Quran, Surah Imran, 103.
“The Muslim Council of Britain today affirms the unity of Muslims, particularly in the UK. We are a community with plural traditions and viewpoints, but united in our faith in Allah and His last Prophet. This is a view held by the vast majority of British Muslims.
“Our affirmation comes after small but isolated incidents of hateful sectarian messages being imparted on the streets of Britain. We condemn the antics of Anjem Choudary and his (un)merry-band of publicity seekers who last Friday took to the streets of London to spew their hate-filled message and attack people they thought to be from the Shia tradition. We will speak out against anyone fostering division in our community, from whichever quarter it comes from. We urge the media to be vigilant and refrain from stoking-up tensions where they do not exist.
“Sunnis and Shias remain united in the UK and have a long-established history of intra-faith co-operation. We are acutely aware that the complex situation in the Middle East and Muslim world has the possibility of threatening that tradition. We are also aware that those from without the community will seek to exploit these divisions for their own nefarious ends.
“We call on our scholars, leaders and institutions from all traditions to stand firm and be vigilant, speak out against sectarianism and ensure the forces of unity prevail. We should avoid hate and condescending speech and literature in our midst. Finally we should respect each other and the personalities, places and events that any group among us holds in esteem, abiding by the Islamic manner (adab) of disagreement that is neither inflammatory nor insulting.”