In the wake of yesterday’s attack in Westminster where four people including a policeman was killed, British Muslim organisations have responded to the incident calling for calm, unity and vigilance.
In a shocking display of carnage in the heart of the country’s capital, a man drove through a crowd of civilians in Westminster before stabbing a policeman to death.
The perpetrator has been identified as Khalid Masood, 52, originally from Kent but recently resided in the West Midlands.
Scotland Yard said Masood had previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker was born in Britain and had previously been investigated by the security services for violent extremism.
The policeman that was killed has been named as 48-year-old PC Keith Palmer who’s been in the force for 15 years.
One of the victim’s was Aysha Frade, a Spanish teacher who was mowed down on her way to pick her children from school.
The identity of the other victim is yet to be confirmed.
In the aftermath of yesterday’s attack, Muslim organisations in the UK have responded, calling for national calm, unity and vigilance.
Muslim Council of Britain
The largest British Muslim umbrella organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain, strongly condemned the attack, calling it “cowardly and depraved”.
Secretary General, Harun Khan, said: “This attack was cowardly and depraved. There is no justification for this act whatsoever. The best response to this outrage is to make sure we come together in solidarity and not allow the terrorists to divide us.
Muslim think-tank MEND issued a statement calling for solidarity against all forms of hatred and racism.
CEO of MEND, Dr Shazad Amin, said: “We are shocked and saddened by the act of mindless violence that took place at Westminster and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and with those that were injured during this incident.
“Together with Stand Up To Racism, MEND is organising unity vigils across the country in a show of solidarity with those who have lost loved ones, those that have been injured and to say no to hate and division.”
Advocacy group CAGE stressed the importance calm and restraint at such heightened times, pointing out that “reactionary policies” and further “securitisation” isn’t the answer to the problem.
Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said: “We express our deepest sympathies to all those who have lost their lives in this incident and to those many injured.
“While we accept that the security services and the police play a crucial role in keeping the public safe, such attacks which require very little planning cannot be thwarted by ever more securitisation and policing of communities.
“Reactionary policies in the UK have a global ramification and it is important that the government leads with policies that seek to end the global cycles of violence rather than further them.”
Islamic political party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, advised the Muslim community to remain steadfast and confident in the face of any backlash.
They stated: “Experience tells us that this will be a testing time for the community. The media is in frenzy. Racists feel emboldened. The general public are fearful, uncertain or suspicious. Politicians will no doubt use it to try to pass policies that would have been considered unacceptable at any other time. Voices of reason will be shouted down by the mob.
“At such times we should be steadfast in our deen. Being insular will aid the media and any potential measures against the community. Rather reach out to your neighbours and work colleagues. Dialogue with them based on the facts of the incident, the media response and most importantly what Islam is and its view on all the varied issues that people are misinformed about every day.”
Dawah organisation, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, called upon all Britons to respond to hate and evil with the Quranic values of love and mercy.
“In an age of hate and misunderstanding, iERA seeks to share the true message of Islam in an intelligent and compassionate way, thereby building bridges and removing enmity.
“Therefore, we would like to remind everyone that the best way to respond to evil is with goodness. We must all remain tolerant, peaceful and compassionate.”
Muslim Association of Britain
The Muslim Association of Britain expressed sadness at the loss of death and condemned the attack.
Dr Omer El-Hamdoon, MAB President, said: “Our thoughts are with those who have been injured in this incident and our condolences go out to all the families who have lost loved ones as a result.
“It is during these disastrous events that we must all stand united and strength our resolve to fight terrorism.”
Islamic Human Right Commission
The IHRC issued an emergency action alert yesterday evening, providing security guidance and advice to Muslim communities and centres of worship.
The action alert included: precautionary measures for the community and 24 safety tips.
The full press statements of the above organisations can be read on their websites which has been hyperlinked above.