The Editor Daily Telegraph
Telegraph Group Limited
1 Canada Square
London E14 DT
Thanks for drawing attention to the shocking murder of DC Stephen Oake (Imams must speak out, 16 January 2003). There cannot be any two views about the unlawful killing of anyone, let alone of a public officer and that too in the course of his duty.
The Muslim Council of Britain has already expressed its deep condemnation of the killing. On the very evening of the murder, as soon we learnt of the incident, we contacted the Chief Constable of Manchester police to express our support for the police force and our heartfelt condolence for the family of the bereaved as well as our prayers for the recovery of the three other officers who were wounded and hospitalised.
However, please allow us also to say a few words about the underlying premises of your leader which seems to assume that imams or for that matter any normal member of the Muslim community would somehow condone, if not actually approve, any such evil and criminal act and, therefore, the need of the imams to speak out.
The imams and community leaders have continually been speaking to the community on issues of moral and public concern, as they should do, and at the same time trying also to advise the community that no matter how strongly they might feel on any particular issue, they should never lend their ears to any agent provocateur nor take the law into their own hand. Any dissent or disagreement has to be expressed in decent and Islamic manner. PERIOD.
You quote the Qur�an rightly that Muslims are forbidden to kill any human being except in a lawful manner, in other word, the lawfulness of a killing is determined by an Islamic state) not by any individual in his own zeal or persuasion. That is why the Qur�an declares that the unlawful killing of a single individual is equal to murdering the whole of humanity. However, as in the past, so in the future too, a Muslim may be involved in a murderous act, but let us be clear that it would be a totally unislamic act.
The media can be of great help by refusing to describe any criminal act as 'Islamic� or 'Islamist� terrorism. By do so, they also unwittingly help add some misplaced glory to a misplaced act. The words 'Islamic� or 'Islamist� terrorism are a contradiction in their own term.
It is important that we do not make deliberately controversial something which is unanimous.
Mr Iqbal Sacranie,
The Muslim Council of Britain