A Labour Member of Parliament has said that British Muslims shouldn’t have to apologise for the young people from their communities who go off to join ISIS.
Bolton MP Yasmin Querishi drew a comparison with the Charleston shooting last week, saying that, as white people didn’t have to apologise for the deaths, so Muslims shouldn’t have to apologise for Islamic terrorism.
“In Charleston you have a white man who has killed nine black people in a church. I don’t hear a single word, or anyone saying, that the whole of the white population of America has to apologise for the actions of one white man,” Qureshi, who is a Pakistani-born Muslim said.
She added: “It feels absolutely awful. I’m getting really tired of having to apologise.”
Her comments came after a speech by Prime Minister David Cameron in which he called on Muslim families to speak out against the “poisonous ideology” that was driving hundreds of young people into the arms of ISIS.
But Ms Querishi accused him of confusing religious conservatism with support for extremism, telling the BBC’s World At One: “I speak to my constituents who are very religious and whenever an incident happens they are shaking their heads in disgust and they’re actually saying ‘Our religion is being maligned’.
“To say Muslims who are very religious support ISIS is wrong and I wish people would stop saying this. To make the comparison he has done the way he has done, it is not only unhelpful but actually wrong.”
But not all of her constituents agree. Bolton resident GG Stabler said: “MP Yasmin Qureshi, it seems to me, has a large chip on her shoulder. She pipes up regularly when anyone comments on Islamic/Muslim issues.”
Her parliamentary collegues have also been critical. Conservative MP Peter Bone told MailOnline: “It is hard to draw any comparison between the terrible shootings in America and Norway because there is absolutely no-one in Britain who is condoning them.
“There are not people in this country quietly condoning what happened in America or Norway. Everyone condemns it.
“The Prime Minister was saying, “come on, there is a bit of quiet condoning going on [about ISIS]” and that has to stop. It was a point that needed to be made.”
She has also drawn criticism from the wider Muslim community. Former radical Muslim recruiter Abu Muntasir told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “There is grooming, no doubt – I know how we used to convince people by ignoring a lot of facts on the ground, ignoring reality and alternative views amongst Muslims and Muslim teaching.
“So the parents need to have more communication with their children, they need to have more of an overseeing aspect of how to be a good parent.”
Likewise, Manzoor Moghal of the Muslim Forum has accused the British Islamic community of becoming “somewhat warped in its practices” and needing to change.
“The Muslim community in Britain is somewhat backward in its thinking, it is refusing to move and become progressive, it is refusing to change its old habits from attire to dress code, it is refusing to come out of an isolation which is self-imposed within certain sects of Islam,” he told The World at One.
“All these things have to change and then we might see an improvement in the behaviour of young people who’d want to stay in society and not be lured away by these false promises.”