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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

400 UK Imams and Scholars reject government’s extremism definition

The joint statement issued by the Imams and scholars challenges the very foundation of the government's extremism definition.

In a unified stance against the UK government’s latest move, over 400 Imams and scholars have come forward to reject the newly proposed “extremism” definition. This definition, they argue, unfairly targets the Muslim community and the Islamic faith, echoing concerns of discrimination and bias in policy-making.

Challenging the Government’s Definition

The joint statement issued by the Imams and scholars challenges the very foundation of the government’s extremism definition. They point out its reliance on a flawed and baseless notion that ideology alone drives political violence, highlighting the historical targeting of Islam and Muslims under the label of “Islamism.”

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Questioning Minister Michael Gove’s Agenda

A significant aspect of the critique is directed towards Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The Imams and scholars accuse Gove of harboring a history of targeting Islam and Muslims, often in alignment with anti-Islam racists and Islamophobes. They also raise concerns about Gove’s deep connections with pro-Israel lobbies, suggesting a hidden agenda behind the government’s actions.

Defending Democratic Participation

The statement emphasizes the importance of democratic engagement and political activism, particularly in the face of attempts to suppress dissenting voices. It calls out the hypocrisy of coercively applying “British values” while simultaneously stifling democratic participation that opposes certain agendas, indicating a systematic suppression of minority voices.

Unity and Solidarity

Amidst the criticism, the Imams and scholars call for unity within the Muslim community and urge support for organizations such as MEND, CAGE, and The Muslim Association of Britain. They stand in solidarity with Imam Shakeel Begg, highlighting his contributions to the community while rejecting the unfounded characterization of him as an extremist.

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The rejection of the government’s extremism definition is not merely a critique but a call for genuine dialogue and engagement. The Imams and scholars express disappointment in the government’s preference for divisive tactics over constructive interaction, urging a recommitment to bridging gaps and fostering understanding.