Statement from Fiyaz Mughal on Dispatches “Who Speaks for British Muslims?”

“We believe that tackling extremism within our own community and working with other groups is an essential part of tackling anti-Muslim hate crime. It is through partnerships like this and an enduring empathy around the human rights of others, which can help build alliances and stronger social cohesion. 

Our approach so far has been not to highlight divisions. This is contrary to groups whom Ware investigates in the programme entitled, “Who Speaks for British Muslims”.

The programme explains how some groups play on a divisive approach targeted at British Muslim communities.  But this agenda of tackling anti-Muslim hate and protecting social cohesion is too important to be left to those who would divide the community and ignore intolerance. This is why we chose to speak out and take part in the Dispatches documentary.

We will continue to fight for an inclusive approach to Islam, based on pluralism and where dissent is part of the cornerstone of healthy communities. We also know that colleagues in other programmes of work that we have set up, will continue to diligently tackle anti-Muslim hatred as they have done for over 6 years now. This means that we will continue to speak up where we see this approach being abused.

Faith Matters believe we have a better, more positive and, vitally, more effective approach to tackling anti-Muslim hatred than has traditionally been taken by some other organisations in this field. At the heart of our approach is a belief in universal human rights.

As a result, our approach is completely inclusive. We work with LGBT organisations, feminist campaigns, those tackling antisemitism, and groups tackling bigotry wherever it is found. We work with people of all faiths and none to tackle extremism in all its forms. We challenge intolerance within our own communities. We don’t pander to win support, but always go back to our founding principle of universal rights. We believe this approach strengthens our ability to combat anti-Muslim hatred.

We build alliances through the consistency of our approach. It is by building on this strong community of human rights allies; challenging communities when it does not adopt this approach and consistently arguing that anti-Muslim hatred has the same root causes as homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, racism and all other hatred-driven intolerances that we make our case.

We hope this explains why the decision was made to engage with the Dispatches programme entitled, “Who Speaks for British Muslims”.”

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