May 23, 2024

Group of survivors says such language fuels anti-Muslim sentiments in the United Kingdom.

Dozens of “terror” attack survivors have urged politicians to stop equating British Muslims with “extremism”.

In an open letter published Saturday, a group of 58 survivors said such language would fuel anti-Muslim sentiments in the United Kingdom, and said using it was the “height of irresponsibility”.

The signatories included survivors of several “terror” attacks in the UK, such as the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing and the July 7, 2005 London bombing, and survivors of attacks in other countries.

“To defeat this threat the single most important thing we can do is to isolate the extremists and the terrorists from the vast majority of British Muslims who deplore such violence,” the letter, published by the advocacy group Survivors Against Terror, read.

“[But] in recent weeks there have been too many cases where politicians and others have failed to do this, in some cases equating being Muslim with being an extremist, facilitating anti-Muslim hate or failing to challenge it,” the missive added.

Saturday’s warning came after Conservative MP Lee Anderson was suspended in late February after he refused to apologise for comments that claimed London mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer were “controlled by Islamists”.

Separately, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman wrote in a February 22 opinion piece in The Telegraph that “Islamists are bullying Britain into submission” and that “Islamist cranks and leftwing extremists” held influence “in our judiciary, our legal profession and our universities”.

Rising anti-Muslim sentiments

Reports of anti-Muslim incidents have risen since the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on October 7, according to Tell MAMA, which monitors hate crimes directed at Muslims.

The group said it recorded more than 2,000 anti-Muslim cases in the four months after the Gaza war broke out –  335 percent more than were registered at the same time in the previous year.

Most cases were online, but Tell MAMA also recorded cases of physical assault, abusive behaviour, threats and acts of vandalism. The largest number of incidents – 576 cases – were reported in London.

An estimated four million Muslims reside in the UK, making up about 6.5 percent of the population, according to the Muslim Council of Britain. Most live in Birmingham, Bradford, London and Manchester.

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