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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Muslims under attack, says peer
Muslim waving Union flag at rally
Politicians have raised concerns about Muslim integration
The Labour peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed, has criticised the way the government treats Muslims in the UK.

There was "a constant theme of demonisation of the Muslim community", he told the BBC's Sunday programme.

Lord Ahmed said politicians and journalists were jumping on a bandwagon because "it is fashionable these days to have a go at the Muslims".

People were exploiting the fact that some within the Muslim community threatened national security, he said.

"Let's be honest, there are people in our community who call themselves Muslims who have been threatening our national security, it is very unfortunate," he said.

The politicians and some people in the media have used this for demonisation of the entire communities
Lord Ahmed

"But the problem is that the politicians and some people in the media have used this for demonisation of the entire communities, which has become a very fashionable thing today."

There have been a series of interventions by senior Labour figures on the issue of Muslim integration, in particular the wearing of the full veil.

Home Secretary John Reid recently called on Muslim parents to be vigilant to radicalism in their children, two months after Tony Blair urged Muslims to root out extremism.

Last week Commons Leader Jack Straw said the veil represented "separateness" and he was supported by Chancellor Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman, who will run for the deputy leadership of the party.

'Spying'

But Lord Ahmed said Muslims were trying hard to deal with extremism and were having a debate among themselves about the veil.

Lord Ahmed
Lord Ahmed condemned the "interference"

"But the problem is we constantly have this interference from people who are saying to us 'Spy on your children, don't do this, don't do that'.

"Well, you know, if there was another way of doing things within the community it would be much better than doing these sort of quick, headline-grabbing activities that the government keeps doing."

Lord Ahmed called on ministers to address deprivation in Muslim communities.

Shadow home secretary David Davis has warned the row, started by Jack Straw, shows how Britain risks creating a system of "voluntary apartheid".


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Lord Nazir Ahmed on Muslim "demonisation"





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