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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Baroness Warsi cautions Muslim community against EDL designs

LONDON, Dec 1 (APP)-British Conservative Party Chairperson Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has warned the Muslim community to stand guard against the divisive designs of far right British National Party and the English Defence League and thwart their aims. Speaking at a dinner hosted by Lord Altaf Sheikh, Chairman, Conservative Muslim Forum, to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha at Westminster House here last night, she said that the Muslim community not only in the United Kingdom but across Europe face the rising level of anti-Islamic sentiments.

This, she added, was evident from the recent elections in many European countries where several parties fielded candidates not on the basis of race or immigration but specifically on the basis of Islam.

“And if you look at the far right in this country whether it is the British National Party or English Defence League, they are very clearly targeting the British Muslim community. And what is quite worrying they are now beginning to form small groups of minority groups within the EDL to achieve their objectives of creating divisions within the Muslim community.”

She called on the Muslim leaders to wake up and deal with these issues seriously and must not allow these extreme parties from attaining their nefarious goals.

Baroness Warsi praised the contributions of Muslim community and said that the community has achieved much in the British politics. She referred to the last May Parliamentary elections and said the representation of the Muslim community has doubled with the election of first Muslim women Mps and also election of first Conservative Muslim parliamentarians and the increase in the number of Muslim peers in the House of Lords.

She praised the work of CMF in campaigning, engaging and focussing and bringing people forward and making sure that the community was involved closely in formulation of policies.
British Secretary for International Development Andrew Mitchell endorsed the remarks of Baroness Warsi and said the Conservative government remains opposed to those who seek to make racial and ethnic differences as part and parcel of the British politics.

He appreciated the contributions of the British Muslim community in raising funds for Pakistani floods. Mitchell also lauded the work of British charities, especially the Islamic Relief in the flood affected areas.

The Secretary said the British Government would continue to set aside 0.7 per cent of its GDP for the international aid. Saying that he has been to Pakistan four times, Mitchell said the country is recovering from the appalling disaster and that the UK stood by Pakistan at a time of its ‘deep trial’.

He assured the guests that the UK will be there with Pakistan throughout the rebuilding and rehabilitation phase. He said Britain will particularly focus on education and will be there as a development partner in the years ahead.

“I am pretty confident that at the end of the bilateral review, we will see Pakistan as our biggest programme anywhere in the world within two years. And that very much reflects the central part of our foreign policy to help less fortunate than us.”

Lord Sheikh in his welcome remarks said the increase in the number of Muslim parliamentarians, both in the lower House of Commons and House of Lords, signifies the growing contribution of the community in the British politics.

He urged the Muslim community to join the armed forces as well as the police to contribute in the shared values of tolerance and mutual respect for each other. He said Muslims had been successful in every walk of life.

The newly appointed peer Tariq Ahmed, British member of European Parliament Dr.Syed Kamall and Rami Ranger, President, India-Pakistan and UK Friendship Association also spoke on the occasion and underscored the importance of community cohesion.

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