The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) has urged Muslims to vote to remain in the European Union in the upcoming referendum on June 23.
While acknowledging that the EU is not a perfect body, the MAB said it protects the rights of British Muslims and immigrants and exit from it risks dividing communities more.
The President of the Muslim Association of Britain, Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, said: “This is undoubtedly the most important vote Britons will ever cast in our generation; and Muslims should use their vote for a stronger Europe.”
Outlining their reasons for remaining in the EU, an MAB statement said: “The EU plays a major role in consolidating and upholding democratic values. Its Convention of Human Rights offers a viable framework that ensures every European citizen is treated with dignity and respect…
“Exit from the EU runs the risk of perpetuating rifts in British society, which would increase levels of hate crimes against British Muslims. The past few years have witnessed a disturbing rise of xenophobia and Islamophobia in our society. Sadly, the recent London mayoral elections have highlighted the extent to which the vilification of Muslims has become part of mainstream political discourse.
“Similarly, issues relating to immigration and refuges should not be conflated. Recent studies show that between 2001 and 2011 immigrants from the original 15 EU countries contributed 64% more in taxes than they received in benefits. They contributed more than £20bn to the UK public finance during the period. While as many as 37% of UK-born workers were receiving some kind of state benefit or tax credit; European immigrants were less likely to collect them by nearly eight percentage points.
“Furthermore, employment rates of the foreign-born workers have been lower than those of their UK-born counterparts. This was especially the case during the period 1993 to 2007 when the employment rates for both male and female migrants was lower than the corresponding rates for the UK-born.
“After the financial crisis of 2008, the UK recorded low and negative employment growth for both UK and foreign nationals. However, in the period up to 2013 the majority of employment growth (92 per cent) was accounted for by UK nationals. Thus, a study by the London School of Economics found no evidence that immigration actually responsible for the mass displacement of UK workers or lower wages.
“As for the refugees, they are the victims of war and persecution. So, while membership of the EU offers opportunities for a multilateral approach to the crisis, leaving the EU still does not relieve Britain of its international obligations toward them.”