Muslims respond to Reid

There’s quite a decent piece in today’s issue of the freesheet thelondonpaper on the response to Reid’s call on Muslim parents to control their children. After dealing with the disruption of his visit to East London, the article continues:

Despite their differences most Muslims are determined not to let the furore overshadow what they say is the hidden agenda behind Reid’s speech. While they agree that security is an issue, there is a feeling that his speech will serve to feed Islamophobia.

Azad Ali, a 37-year-old Londoner and chairman of the well-respected Muslim Safety Forum is one of those we polled yesterday who believe that Reid’s words were incendiary and naive.

“It is a huge assumption to make that Muslim parents are not concerned about their kids,” said Ali. “Regard less of your religion, what young child does not have a time-keeping issue or make new friends? it is an unfair spotlight on Muslims.

“There was already an atmosphere of unease before Reid’s speech. I just don’t see how these words help to build a cohesive society. They were ill-advised. They will further promote Islamophobia and alienate the Muslim community,” he said.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “The Government talks about terrorists as though there is a sign you can spot, but they should be appealing to everyone for help, not just one community.” Shadjareh added that Reid’s demands were “unrealistic and not demanded from any other community”….

On Brick Lane yesterday London Muslims gave their reaction to Reid’s speech – and opinion was divided.

Shopkeeper Ali Hussain, 29, said it should come as no surprise that Reid was heckled, even if Izzadeen was a known firebrand. “If you have a dog and keep kicking it, it will eventually bite you. And that’s what is happening over Iran and Afghanistan with British Muslims.”

Abdul Rouf, another Brick Lane shopkeeper, said he believed bad feeling should be seen as a political issue. “It’s world politics that turns British Muslims against Tony Blair and his government, but it’s not a problem between Muslims and other ethnic groups at ground level,” he said.

Fatima Mahmood, 24, said Izzadeen’s tirade was pointless and the frustration felt among Muslims must be expressed another way. “Maybe we are treated unfairly, but making a scene won’t change people’s point of view,” he said.

Other Londoners were also critical of the speech. Londonpaper reader Rebecca Priddle believes Reid should show more respect to the Muslim community. In a sarcastic letter to the paper, she wrote:

“Why doesn’t the government ‘go the whole hog’ and install ‘telescreens’ in Muslim houses? That way, the parents will not have to bear the guilt of having to report their radicalised toddlers themselves, and Mr Blair can ensure that all of the infants are rounded up and put into good, Catholic schools where they will receive a well-rounded, Western upbringing.”