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UK warned over attitude to Muslims
Muslim leader says there is a climate of 'suspicion and unease' in the UK.
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2007 18:04 GMT
Abdul Bari said UK Muslims face being made into
"folk devils" [GALLO/Getty]

The UK risks creating a climate of fear in the country similar to Nazi Germany about Muslims, the leader of a major Muslim organisation has said.
 
Muhammad Abdul Bari of the Muslim Council of Britain said on Saurday there was "a disproportionate amount of discussion" about Muslims and it created an atmosphere of "suspicion and unease".
"Every society has to be really careful so the situation doesn't lead us to a time when people's minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s," he told the BBC and Daily Telegraph newspaper.
 
"We are seen as creating problems, not as bringing anything and that is not good for any society."
There are about 1.6 million Muslims in the UK out of an overall population of about 60 million, according to the last census in 2001.
 
'Popular fictions'
 

"I think there is a danger that the word 'Muslim' in the UK is becoming synonymous with bad news"

Muhammad Abdul Bari, head of Muslim Council of Britain

Abul Bari's comments follow remarks by Jonathan Evans, the new head of the UK's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, in which he said there were 2,000 people living in the UK who posed a terrorism-related danger.
 
He also said that extremists from organisations such as al-Qaeda were targeting children.
 
Bari said he thought that Evans' speech was "creating a scare in the community and wider society".
 
"What you had in the 1930s was all sorts of popular fictions were spread about the Jewish community that they were responsible for all ills that were occurring to Germany," he said.
 
"They were made into folk-devils and I think there is a danger that the word 'Muslim' in the UK is becoming synonymous with bad news."
 
He also said it was wrong to describe people as Islamic terrorists, saying people never called the Irish Republican Army (IRA) "Catholic terrorists".
 
The Muslim Council of Britain is one of the largest and most influential groups representing British Muslims.
 
The UK's Home Office issued a statement in response to Abdul Bari's comments, saying it wanted to work with Muslims "to increase their sense of inclusion."
 
"Through open dialogue we can discuss concerns, explain policies  and foster greater understanding," it said.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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