Leading British Muslim and interfaith groups issue letter to Daily Mail editor

The MCB is the largest Muslim umbrella organisation in the UK

Leading British Muslim and interfaith organisations today wrote to Paul Dacre, the Editor of the Daily Mail condemning an article by columnist Richard Littlejohn that deployed hateful Muslim stereotypes.

The letter is signed by a cross-section of British Muslims and interfaith groups.

On the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) website it states: “It is in no way a defence of the views attributed to the person Mr Littlejohn criticises, but rather a challenge to our media not to accept such hateful language in our discourse”.

The letter reads:

Dear Mr Dacre,

We write to express our condemnation of a recent article published by Richard Littlejohn in your newspaper. Entitled “Jolly Jihadi’s Outing to Legoland”, Mr Littlejohn deploys the most hateful stereotypes of Muslims to attack an individual.

Our condemnation is not about the attacks on Mr Haitham al-Haddad: he is perfectly capable of responding to the accusations put to him if minded to do so. Many of us may well disagree with the views attributed to him. Rather, we are speaking out at the insidious and hateful tropes Mr Littlejohn uses for his argument.

Mr Littlejohn may think he is humorous, satirical in fact. But there is nothing funny about inciting hatred. The language he deploys is exactly the same as those used by racists and the far-right. One needs only to peruse the comments below his article online to see the hatred against Muslims Mr Littlejohn has generated.

Would you allow similar hateful stereotypes to be used when writing about other faith or race communities?

Mr Littlejohn may suggest his words of hatred are directed at one figure rather than mainstream Muslims. This is a poor excuse. He accuses one figure of using hate speech by deploying hate speech himself.

As a cross section of Britain’s Muslim community, along with many of our fellow Britons, we state clearly and loudly that Mr Littlejohn’s article is the worst form of bigotry. This goes beyond causing offence. Your newspaper has published an incitement to hate Muslims.

So, we urge you, in the interests of decency and fairplay, to retract Mr Littlejohn’s article and to issue an apology not just to British Muslims, but to your readers and the great British public at large.

Yours,

Farooq Murad,
Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Fiyaz Mughal,
Founder and Director, Faith Matters and Tell Mama

Julian Bond
Director, Christian Muslim Forum

Steven Derby,
Director, Interfaith Matters

Ali Qureshi
Secretary General, Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO)

Maulana Sarfraz Madni,
Chairman, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board

Ameena Blake,
Vice-President, Muslim Association of Britain

Ali Master,
Council of European Jamaats (COEJ)

Saleha Islam
Chief Executive, Muslim Youth Helpline

Sufyan G Ismail,
Trustee, Engage

Mazhar Khan
Executive Board Member, Muslim Council of Scotland

Saleem Kidwai OBE,
Secretary General, Muslim Council of Wales

Mohammed Aslam-Ijaz,
General Secretary, Council of Mosques, South London and Southern Counties

Abdul Hamid Qureshi
Chair, Lancashire Council of Mosques

Ufuk Secgin
Chairman, London Islamic Culture and Recreation Society (LICARS)

Ahmed Khelloufi
Executive Director, Muslim Welfare House (London)

Mohammed Kozbar
British Muslim Initiative and Finsbury Park Mosque

Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy
Chair, Iqra Institute, Oxford

Shifa Shahab

Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire

Muhammad Jinani

Young Muslim Organisation

UKDr Mohammed Idrees

General Secretary, UK Islamic Mission

Ajmal Masroor
London Imam and Director of Barefoot Institute

Yusuf Al Khoei
Al-Khoei Foundation

Moulana Shahid Raza,
Founding Trustee, British Muslim Forum

Sir Iqbal Sacranie
Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari
Author and Commentator

Talha Ahmad
Head of Media, Dawatul Islam UK & Eire

Yousuf Bhailok
Trustee /Chair. ‘Al Jamiah Al Islamiyah Darul Uloom Lancashire

Rashid Brora
General Secretary, Southampton Medina Mosque Trust Ltd

Unaiza Malik
Muslim Women’s Association

Muhammad Habibur-Rahman
Chairman, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre

Dilowar Khan
President, Islamic Forum of Europe

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