In the Name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful
Dear Sajid Javid MP,
In the wake of last week’s appalling terrorist attack on the Muslim community in New Zealand by a self-proclaimed far-right nationalist and subsequent attacks in the UK this week, it is timely to draw your attention to the lack of protection afforded to Muslims and other vulnerable religious groups in the UK.
Within 72 hours of the attack, the New Zealand Prime Minister, who has been widely praised for her empathy and decisive leadership, announced her cabinet is “completely unified” in reforming gun legislation and within 10 days will detail its plans “which will make our community safer.” Those reforms took only 6 days to announce.
I take note that in recent days you have led interfaith events at London Central Mosque and an Inter-Ministerial Group on Safe and Integrated Communities. Whilst calls for unity, solidarity and peace are welcome, this does not respond to the urgent requirement that the government guarantee the right of safety to its citizens to the best of its capabilities.
Nowhere in Europe has the elite mainstreaming of Islamophobia been more successful than in the United Kingdom. This week, Britain’s counter-terrorism chief, Neil Basu, stated the mainstream media has encouraged the radicalisation of the Far-Right whilst the Conservative party appears to have systemic Islamophobia within it.
Feeling unsafe to attend prayers or faith community programmes ought to be a source of great shame for the country. It is for this reason the Muslim community welcomed your additional allocation of £600,000 for the security of Jewish faith sites raising the total to £14m for this year. This fund provides sound mind for the UK’s 269,568 Jewish community members, according to the 2011 census.
I also take note of your statement this week, “I know many Muslim communities are feeling vulnerable. But they should seek comfort from knowing we are doing everything to tackle hate and extremism. That’s why we are doubling next year’s places of worship fund – providing physical protection.” These announcements include the rising of funds for Mosque security to £1.6m, where previously £2.4m had been promised over three years, and an additional £5m for security training over three years.
I write to enquire why there exists this glaring disparity in the funding for security of different faith groups. Neither is the funding for the Muslim community proportionate to the increased risks we face, nor is it equal per person to the allocation provided to our Jewish brethren, of which there are, according to the 2011 census, 2,786,635 Muslims in the UK.
It is not enough for politicians to claim “everything is being done to tackle extremism” when the very minimum, which is guaranteeing equal security for those most vulnerable is not being met. Such words are tantamount to empty rhetoric when unaccompanied by action, leaving the Muslim community further exposed to violence each day you do not act with concrete policies to match the level of existential threat. Moreover, the equal allocation of funds being sought by the Muslim community is no more than the taxes it pays to the government for its security in the first place.
I conclude with the saying of Prophet Muhammad, who said, “There is no goodness to living in a place, except with security and happiness.”
I look forward to hearing back from you
Chief Editor of The Muslim Vibe