Britain’s top Muslim? Hardly

The Sun reported today that “Britain’s top Muslim” had given his support for the government’s plan to increase the time police can hold someone on terrorist charges to 42 days, from the current 28. The man involved is one Khurshid Ahmed, the chair of the so-called British Muslim Forum. He is quoted as saying:

“I am delighted the Government has listened to the concerns we expressed.

“I am reassured safeguards proposed go a long way in protecting civil liberties.

“As we saw in the July 7 attacks, Muslims are just as likely to be victims of plots as any other British people.

“We have a shared interest in the police and security services ensuring our protection.

“The Muslim community will do all it can to protect our society and our values.”

As it is late on a work-night, I have to point out that his organisation might be better called the British Bareilawi Forum, because its Board of Trustees seems to consist entirely of Bareilawi imams and scholars (how much input they have into the BMF’s policies I am not sure, although Shaikh Muhammad Pirzada’s homepage has a link to their old page). I am not sure if they represent most of eveb the Bareilawi community in stances like these; many of the young seek ways to break through old divisions in the community such as the Bareilawi-Deobandi conflict, and might not take too kindly to a Bareilawi organisation trying to prove its “moderation” and score sectarian points by agreeing to a government proposal which puts them (particularly the young men) in danger.

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