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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
Call for unity after Muslim talks
Alex Salmond
Mr Salmond visited Glasgow Central Mosque after the airport attack
Scotland's communities must hold together against the threats of terrorism, racism and sectarianism, the first minister has urged.

The call came as Alex Salmond met with Muslim leaders at a Bute House reception as part of the Scottish Executive's One Scotland campaign.

Mr Salmond said Scotland must not allow divisions to be created from within.

Last month's Glasgow Airport attack have led to fears of possible reprisals against the Muslim community.

Mr Salmond was joined by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing and Solicitor General Frank Mulholland for the meeting, which included a question and answer session and an open discussion.

Our response is about how you ensure Scotland is held together as a community and as a society
Alex Salmond
First Minister

Strathclyde Police Assistant Chief Constable John Neilson is also present.

He joined the first minister at Glasgow Central Mosque the day after the flaming Jeep, loaded with gas canisters, was driven into the arrivals hall at Glasgow Airport.

The first minister said the event was one of a series of meetings to celebrate the role of Scotland's diverse communities.

He added: "Events last month show the importance of not being divided as a society.

"Our response is about how you ensure Scotland is held together as a community and as a society.

"One of the clear objectives of terrorists is to divide communities from each other - to divide them from within.

Good community relations do not happen by accident and need to be striven for
Osama Saeed
Muslim Association of Britain

"Part of this government's programme is to make sure that the whole variety of communities that we have in Scotland work together as part of One Scotland.

"Tonight's event is part of a process not a response to any single event.

"Part of what we are doing with our One Scotland campaign is trying to tackle a variety of ills in society - racism, sectarianism and bigotry."

Mr Salmond said people in Scotland should emphasise, support and celebrate the achievement of our communities.

"It's not just about dealing with bad things. It's about celebrating what's good, what's diverse and what's wonderful about every day life in Scotland," he added.

Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, believed Scotland could be "a beacon to the world" in Muslim and non-Muslim relations.

He said: "I'm sure this meeting would have been taking place anyway, but obviously it has taken on a new light given the events at Glasgow Airport last month.

"Good community relations do not happen by accident and need to be striven for.

"We'll be presenting the work that we're doing, the executive have their ideas and initiatives, and I'm sure there are many areas where we will work together."


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