UK to speed up introduction of compulsory ID cards
LONDON, April 1: Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated on Thursday
that Britain would speed up the introduction of compulsory
identity (ID) cards following the arrest of eight terror suspects
Britain was already planning to bolster its tough anti-terror
laws, passed in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the
United States, but Mr Blair told his monthly news conference
further measures were needed now.....(Reuters)
UK Muslims fed up with being blamed
By Peter Fray, Herald Correspondent in London
April 3, 2004
Four days before nine alleged Islamic terrorists were
arrested this week, Britain's Muslim leadership held a
private summit to decide on a strategy for dealing
with a Madrid-style strike in London.
There emerged a common complaint: that Muslims across
Europe are tired of having to defend their faith and
say sorry every time a supposed Islamic terrorist is
Inayat Bunglawala, a participant in the summit, said:
"We've apologised relentlessly and yet we feel it's
all one way from our side.
"The [British] Government is not making an effort of
its own to try and acknowledge that there is a genuine
grievance out there.
"If just a 10th of the energy [on fighting terrorism]
was spent on putting pressure on the Israelis to
behave . . . and allow the Palestinians some . . .
dignity, there would be a sea change in opinion."
While Mr Bunglawala's Muslim Council of Britain (MCB),
the peak body for the country's 2 million Muslims,
agreed to take a less defensive stance, that sea
change is yet again on hold following the dramatic
capture of British-born young men and enough
fertiliser to carry out a Bali-style bombing in
Now the focus is on how these supposedly regular
"English guys" of Pakistani descent could have
allegedly conceived of such horror - not how Britain
and other governments could soothe their motivations.
Since September 11, 2001, 537 British Muslims have
been detained by police and 94 have been charged under
the all-encompassing Terrorism Act. Only six have been
convicted. Islamic leaders have complained about being
targeted, noting that British Jews would be furious if
subjected to the same treatment.
However, this week such protests were a footnote to
public soul-searching as mainstream leaders attacked
the brainwashing of young Muslims by a few
British-based radical imams.
The MCB's general secretary, Iqbal Sacranie, wrote to
the head of Britain's 1000-plus mosques asking
worshippers to unite and fight against terrorism. "The
letter is a change of emphasis," he said. "We have to
face the reality."
Mr Bunglawala said: "What is worrying is that these
men were almost all born in Britain of Pakistani
background. There is certainly a great deal of anger
with the way our government has allied itself with the
United States. That's quite different to people
planning acts of terror."
Relatives have proclaimed their innocence and
allegiance to Britain. "They are just regular English
guys," said Sajjad Ahmad, an uncle of three of those
arrested. "They are as British as they come. They
don't even have beards."
But the sister of one told the Daily Mirror her
brother had recently become very devout. "All he does
now is read the Koran and listen to it on tape."
In Britain right now intense study of the Koran is
enough to make you a suspect. Little wonder so many
Muslims are fed up with apologising.
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