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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 21:22 GMT 22:22 UK
Minister hears Muslims' concerns
Glasgow Central Mosque
Malcolm Chisholm met Muslim leaders in Glasgow
A meeting with Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm has been described as "the start of something very positive" by Muslim leaders.

An increase in racist attacks since the London bombings was one of the topics raised during the two-hour talks.

Mr Chisholm said Muslims were working to fight terrorism and that it was unacceptable for them to be targeted.

Bashir Maan, the Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said it had been a worthwhile meeting.

"I'm sure that the contact with the community will continue. It is the start of something very positive," he said.

I know that Muslims are being targeted for something they find abhorrent and so incompatible with their faith
Malcolm Chisholm
Communities Minister

The subjects aired at the meeting included the alienation of young Muslims, unemployment and the deprivation of Muslim communities.

The 22% rise in racist attacks in Scotland since the 7 July bombings in London was also discussed.

Mr Chisholm said: "We have to tackle this together. I am pleased to take every chance I can to restate that we are one Scotland and we stand shoulder to shoulder in our responsibility to address this together.

"I am particularly concerned that there has been an increase in race related incidents affecting Muslims and others.

"I know that Muslims are being targeted for something they find abhorrent and so incompatible with their faith."

Continuing dialogue

He said the "very significant meeting" was an important part of the Scottish Executive's relationship with Muslim representatives.

"I shall be continuing this dialogue and, in partnership with ministers, reflecting on the issues which are for the Scottish Executive to deal with," he said.

The Muslim Association of Britain was also represented at the meeting at Glasgow Central Mosque.

I believe that a wide section of the community was represented
Bashir Maan
Muslim Council of Great Britain

Scottish spokesman Osama Saeed voiced concerns that Muslims were not coming forward to report racist attacks.

The gathering was criticised by human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, who said the "handpicked" guests did not represent the real community.

However, his claim was rejected by Mr Maan, who said: "I believe that a wide section of the community was represented, with young people, women and older people all attending.

"Everyone spoke very frankly, the minister listened intently, and notes were made of everything that was said."

Speaking earlier, he said Scotland was "fortunate" to be experiencing a lower level of racist attacks than London, where they have increased six-fold since the bombings.

He said this was down to the country having a closer-knit community.

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03 Aug 05 |  London
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20 Jul 05 |  Scotland
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08 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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