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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 17:18 GMT
Muslims 'alienated' by UK policy
Muslims at prayer
Three British Muslims have been killed in Afghanistan
A Muslim leader in the Midlands has blamed the British policy of multi-culturalism for British Muslims volunteering to fight for the Taleban.

Manzoor Moghal, head of the Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicester, said the policy had failed to create a sense of Britishness.

He criticised government and race bodies for pursuing a policy which, he claims, has alienated Muslims.

But the suggestion brought an angry response from the Commission for Racial Equality who labelled the remarks as absurd.

Failed policy

The comments come as further details have emerged of three British Muslims who have been killed in Afghanistan allegedly fighting for the Taleban.

British Muslims
Mr Moghal: 'No common denominator of oneness'

Some MPs want Britons who fight against Allied forces in Afghanistan to be tried for treason.

Speaking to BBC Radio Leicester Mr Moghal said: "It is a retrogressive step when people come out and say they have no allegiance to Britian, although they are British, because of their faith.

"It is because of the multi-cultural society that we have built that has failed to provide that common denominator of oneness when it comes to ones own country."

He said the reason why some British Muslims wanted to fight for Osama Bin Laden was because they did not feel part of British society.

"I think there is a sense of alienation for those people and that is the result of the policy that successive governments have followed.

"It is also the fact that these people may have been indoctrinated and misled in they way that they understand their own faith.

'Absurd argument'

"That is one of the problems that these young people face."

He also criticised government and race organisations for describing any criticism of ethnic minorities as racist.

"At the moment when someone tries to express a different view, and that person does not belong to the ethnic community, it is labelled as racism, that is not right for a democratic country.

"In Britain 94% of the population is non-ethnic, you've got to take reality in to account and allow other people to express their views quite fairly."

But Chris Myant, a spokesman for the Commission for Racial Equality, said: "The suggestion that the commission encourages people to fight on the side of the Taleban is an absurd argument.

"What we seek to do is to create a society where every individual, no matter what their racial orientation or identity, feels they have a proper place in society."


Click here to go to BBC Leicester Online

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See also:

29 Oct 01 | UK
'My allegiance is to Allah'
29 Oct 01 | England
British Muslim deaths 'a waste'
28 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges patience over war on terror
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