STATEMENT: Keep mosques and madrassas free from govt interference

Dozens of mosques, madrassas and Muslim activists have signed a statement in support of keeping mosques and madrassas independent and free from government interference.

So far there are 29 signatories to the statement which accuses Prime Minister David Cameron of “exaggerating and playing to people’s fears of Islam and Muslims.”

The statement also says the British government is “unduly encroaching upon the legitimate right of Muslims to teach their children their faith.”

A few weeks ago Cameron said that religious supplementary schools in England that teach children intolerance would be investigated and closed down.

In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Cameron promised to open these religious schools to inspection.

He said there was no problem with children learning about their faith in supplementary schools, but minds must be broadened, not “filled with poison”.

Speaking in Manchester, Mr Cameron told delegates: “Did you know, in our country, there are some children who spend several hours each day at a madrassa? Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with children learning about their faith, whether it’s at madrassas, Sunday schools or Jewish yeshivas.

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“But in some madrassas, we’ve got children being taught that they shouldn’t mix with people of other religions; being beaten; swallowing conspiracy theories about Jewish people.

“These children should be having their minds opened, their horizons broadened, not having their heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate.

“So I can announce this today: if an institution is teaching children intensively, then whatever its religion, we will, like any other school, make it register so it can be inspected.

“And be in no doubt: if you are teaching intolerance, we will shut you down.”

Here is the statement by mosques, madrassas and activists in full:

We the undersigned jointly declare the following:

1. That Cameron has misrepresented what occurs at maddrassas to pander to the right-wing of his party. Sadly in the current growing anti-Islamic environment it’s become a trend amongst politicians to whip up support from within their party as well as amongst certain sections of society by exaggerating and playing to people’s fears of Islam and Muslims.

2. That such statements are irresponsible and will foster fear and hatred towards Muslims and their institutions. This may result in mosques and maddrassas being attacked and thus endangering the safety of those children and adults who attend these places.

3. We believe that the British government are unduly encroaching upon the legitimate right of Muslims to teach their children their faith. This has been done lawfully for decades in the UK. Our teachers have to be DBS checked and they undergo training in safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults

Cameron has been accused of “playing to people’s fears of Islam and Muslims.”

4. Sadly with the fiasco over the Trojan horse issue which the select committee of the House of Commons found to be non-existent except one incident of one teacher who made an inappropriate remark in the staff room, we feel that such a measure of forcing maddrassas to be registered will be utilised by certain agenda driven politicians to push forward a”state sanctioned” Islam. Again this is unacceptable and is akin to the type of actions totalitarian governments like China undertake towards its religious minorities. Expecting them to register and then have their seminaries and places of worship constantly monitored.

5. We therefore believe that Maddrassas should remain independent and free to teach Islam in a lawful manner as they currently are. We reject any proposals to register Maddrassas, believing it to be a waste of time and playing politics with the Muslim community to appease anti-Islamic sentiments amongst certain sections of society. It’s not appropriate nor necessary and Muslims have been teaching Islam in a lawful and productive manner for many years in the UK. Any improvements to the process should be developed by the Muslim community themselves.
1. Bradford Dawah Centre, Bradford
2. Bradford Council of Mosques, Bradford
3. Masjid Hanafia, Bradford
4. Shipley Masjid Association, Bradford
5. Masjid Nur ul Islam, Bradford
6. Masjid Abassia, Bradford
7. Masjid Ummar, Bradford
8. Madrassa ITC, Bradford
9. Mazhar Khan,Manchester Muslim Forum, Manchester
10. Saaqib Ali, Co-ordinator, Project Madinah, Rochdale
11. Kasim Javed, Communications Development & Engagement Team, InterAct, Rochdale
12. Khadijah Patel , Student, Madrasah baytul ilm , Leicester
13. Sharif Abu Laith , Secretary, Manchester Muslim forum, Manchester
14. Zahid Akhtar, Founder , DOAM – Documenting Oppression Against Muslims , Walsall
15. Aziz Khan, Principal, Masjid Ibraheem & Education Centre, Bradford
16. Mohammad Afsar, Trustee, The Fountain, Bradford
17. Mohammed Kahn, Director, Honey.Doctor, Woodford
18. Nadeem Ilyas, Photographer, Photo Journalist, London
19. Majid Hussain, Activist, Need4Deen, Bolton
20. Ifty Hussain , Commitee , Birchill’s community mosque, Walsall
21. Mohammed Zeeshan , Director , Carvolution Limited, Huddersfield
22. Mohammed Khan , Chairman , HMBC, Huddersfield
23. Moqeet Tariq , Teacher , Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre, Walsall
24. Dr. Abid Hussain, External Affairs, Madni Jamia Masjid, Huddersfield, Huddersfield
25. Mohammed Yaseen , Chair, Cube Foundation , Sheffield
26. Afrooz ali, Teacher, Al Hikmah learning centre, Bradford
27. Mohamad Salim Sahebdin, Muswalli, Norbury Muslim Centre, Croydon
28. Rana Chowdhury, Football manager, Lewisham Islamic Centre, Lewisham
29. Omair Mohammed , Teacher , Al-Huda Academy , Sheffield

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