Many of us were horrified to learn of the attempted bombing of a transatlantic bomber last week. It was followed by yet another mass murder after a suicide attack on the streets of Karachi last Monday, emphasising that terrorism transcends borders.
Since the attempted US attack took place last Friday, we are witnessing again intense and misinformed speculation without the full facts of the investigation becoming known. Your report (Americans blame Britain for rise of Islamic extremism, Telegraph, 31 Dec 2010) suggests that the supposed `ghettoisation' of British Muslims, compared with the `assimilation' of Muslims in America has allowed for our country to be a haven for terrorists. And yet, this notion is disproved when we look at the recent shootings in Fort Hood by a US soldier, and the arrest of five Americans allegedly en route to a Pakistani terror camp on 10 December: neither required the services of this mythical 'Londonistan'.
This phenonmenon is not taking place because of the state of British Muslims. In our view, such terrorists would like nothing less than to drive a wedge between us. We must ensure that so-called commentators do not do the terrorists' bidding by painting a whole cross section of British society as somehow suspect and alien. Rather than relying on conjecture we can refer to hard evidence, such as the recent report Open Society Institute report that says that Muslims in the UK are the most patriotic in Europe.
We do not know whether Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was radicalised in the UK. His friends and teachers suggest he may not have been. What we do know is that this is a global scourge and we all have a collective duty to stand against those who wish to perpetrate terror. Those who instigate such crimes may well use Islam, but Islam and Muslims have no place for such transgressions.
Muslim Council of Britain