30th July 2004
The Sunday Telegraph
Dear Mr Deedes,
I am writing to you about the series of articles that have appeared this month in the Sunday Telegraph by 'Will Cummins'.
We submitted two letters this month to the Sunday Telegraph on behalf of the Muslim Council of Britain, but neither were published. For the text of our letters please go to:
This time, we contacted the editor, Dominic Lawson and asked that in view of the sustained and highly incendiary nature of Cummins' remarks that a comment piece be allowed us in the paper to respond fully. We received a rather unhelpful reply yesterday from the editor saying that while we were free to submit a response he could not guarantee publication. Following the two unpublished letters we had sent in already you will appreciate that we did not want to go down this unfruitful route yet again.
We would appeal to you to now, as the Chief Executive of the Telegraph Group, to decide upon this matter equitably. It appears to us that it is extremely unlikely that the Telegraph group would have tolerated such a barrage of obnoxious statements such as the following had they been about, say, the Jews.
"All Muslims, like all dogs, share certain characteristics." (July 25)
"Do the Tories not sense the enormous popular groundswell against Islam? Charge s of "racism" would inevitably be made against the party but they would never stick. It is the black heart of Islam, not its black face, to which millions object." (July 18)
"Now, at the behest of Muslim foreigners who have forced themselves on us, New Labour wants to import the same catastrophe into our own society." (July 11)
"Christians are the original inhabitants and rightful owners of almost every Muslim land and behave with a humility quite unlike the menacing behaviour we have come to expect from the Muslims who have forced themselves on Christendom, a bullying ingratitude that culminates in a terrorist threat to their unconsulted hosts." (July 4)
The points we would wish to make are briefly:
a) While criticism of Islam is of course fine, the vilification of Muslims is not. As the recent BBC documentary about the BNP demonstrated there is a clear link between vilification/incitement and actual acts of criminal violence.
b) British Muslims are not 'Islamic settlers'. Many are indeed proud of their Islamic faith, but why is that construed as being anti-British? Are not Christianity and Judaism also originally from the same part of the world - yet these faiths are not viewed in the same way as 'foreign' faiths. Why should the same not be true - in due time - of Islam?
c) If you want to undercut the 'jihadis' then stop creating conditions in which they thrive. You cannot go to war against Iraq on dishonest grounds and then react with horror when 'jihadi' groups emerge to resist the occupation of their country.
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain