Time for Muslim organisations to form cross-political alliances

The City Circle have teamed up with OurKingdom, Liberal Conspiracy, Amnesty International and Liberty to oppose the proposed increase of the current 28 day detention limit.

To this end The City Circle will be holding an event Friday 29 February at Crawford Place:

Under current anti-terror laws you can be detained and questioned by police for up to 28 days without being charged. The Government is proposing to extend this even further. There are alternatives. It seems that the Government will push ahead with controversial plans to extend pre-charge detention periods from 28 to 42 days for terror suspects despite widespread concerns that the measures would be counter-productive. Come and find out how you can help the campaign against the government’s proposals, or alternatively challenge the campaigners!

I think the involvement of City Circle is a very interesting step. Outside of opposition to the Iraq War, I am not aware of any previous Muslim organisations involving themselves in such a cross-political alliances (please let me know via the comments box if you can think of any).

In this move by the City Circle there is an important lesson for other Muslim organisations in Britain: now that they have adatped to the criticism that they were concerned with foreign problems (Palestine, Kashmir etc) to the exclusion of issues affecting Muslims in Britain, it is time for these same groups to form alliances to challenge pressing issues such as:

draconian anti-terror legislation
attacks on civil liberties
curbs on what we can say, read and think
abuse of data retention and poor data protection
bugging of prison suspects speaking to their lawyers or politicians

All of the above have a disproportionate affect on the Muslim community. The report that the government would like to collect the personal details of travellers in order to form a ‘risk profile’ is particularly alarming. Crucially, however, none of the points above are, in anyway, exclusively a “Muslim problem” — they affect everyone in the country. In many cases the measures above attack Britain’s legal traditions. This is the message that needs to be heard and the best way forward, then, must to be find common ground with other groups who also oppose such measures. It was certainly possible for secularists, atheists and evangelical Christians to come together and oppose the original Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.

I believe The City Circle have shown a way forward for other Muslim organisations to get involved too. Of course, The City Circle is, if I may use such a term, ‘progressive’ (with a small ‘p’) and it may some of the other organisations will have to adapt their message.


1 Response to “Time for Muslim organisations to form cross-political alliances”

  1. 1 Still stuck on the ‘Muslim causes’ ticket « pixelisation Trackback on March 13, 2008 at 6:38 am

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