Muslim leaders in Brent denounce Paris terrorist attacks
- Credit: Archant
Muslim leaders in Brent have condemned terrorists who carried out attacks in Paris last week as “pure evil” and called for tolerance amid fears Muslims will fall victim to a rise in Islamophobic attacks.
In the wake of terror attacks that left 130 dead and more than 350 injured in Paris last Friday, Leader of Brent council Cllr Muhammed Butt denounced Jihadist violence as “heinous” and told of his anger at those who sought to spark conflict through religion.
He said: “These people need to be rooted out. They are pure evil. What you need to understand is they aren’t Muslims; they are terrorists.
“They aim to divide communities and we need to put them in the dock-they need to know that we will come down hard on them.
“Being a Muslim myself I know all the mosques and community centres in Brent and they feed back their concerns to me and the Police Borough Commander- people do feel a bit more tension and a heightened sense of insecurity.”
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The Council leader lashed out at negative media reports about Muslims following the atrocities in the French capital and told of his own fears of being targeted for his faith.
“Honestly, in 2005 after the 7 July attacks in London, for a couple of weeks I was scared of going on the trains because of the backlash against Muslims. I didn’t even want to wear a back pack because they’d see me as a terrorist and I thought ‘flipping heck! The terrorists are winning!’”.
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Islamophobic crime was up 36 per cent in Brent in the year to September 2015 according to Met Police crime data, reflecting fears that reprisal attacks following terrorist incidents are on the rise in multicultural communities.
Cllr Butt is working closely with Brent Police Commander Mick Gallagher and counter-terrorism agency the Quilliam Foundation to crack down on extremism as one of 30 priority boroughs operating the Home Office’s Prevent programme.
He added: “You cannot tar all Muslims with the same brush. If I knew who these individuals responsible for these heinous acts were, I would not hesitate to pick up the phone and call 999 and report these little scroats.”
Abdul Sattar-Butt, Chairman of the Brent Muslim Association teaches at the Islamic Cultural centre in Harrow Road, Wembley and is a former Mayor of Brent.
He is worried that attacks on European countries will turn communities against one another and make Muslims into “the enemy within.”
He said: “What happened in France was a planned, vicious, horrendous attack. These people are clever and like President Hollande said, they are wicked people trying to make Europeans and Muslims hate each other and they will not succeed.
“I get really upset when I see coverage in the Daily Mail and the Sun saying one in five Muslims sympathize with ISIS, it’s complete rubbish.”
Mr Sattar-Butt said young men who have turned to Islamic extremism are “bad apples” who have been “brainwashed” by ISIS’s online recruitment tactics.
“The people who have been doing these attacks since 9/11, they are not from average families, they are from broken homes.”
He explained that Imams, faith leaders and family members all have a role to play in stamping out radicalism in the borough.
“We all make sure that our young children, wherever they are, whatever they are doing, we have our eye on them and they are not getting mixed up with this rubbish.”
Mr Sattar-Butt added that honouring British values and people of faith living in harmony with one another community cohesion was essential to community cohesion.
He added: “The prophet says you have to live together as fellow human beings and that you should save the life of any man- a human life is very precious and we are human beings first, then Muslims and Christian and Jewish.”