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More must be done to tackle dangerous stereotyping of the hard working majority of British Muslims

(Article from The Mirror 25th July)

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said:

“Ramadan is the ideal time to debate the role Muslims play in British society. The idea that being a Muslim is incompatible with being British is just plain wrong. Many of the things Britain is famous for - tolerance, charitable giving, patriotism, enterprise and sport - are values shared by British Muslims. Stereotyping all Muslims is dangerous and wrong. There is no link between growing a beard, the food you eat or the clothes you wear and extremism. Being a practising Muslim and being an extremist are worlds apart.  We can’t allow the contribution of the majority of hard-working, law-abiding Muslims to Britain to be ignored by the terrible actions of a small few.

British Muslims are incredibly charitable, giving more to good causes than any other religious group in the UK.  They are also patriotic - a recent poll found that more Muslims declare themselves to be proud Britons than any other group. And we’re an enterprising community. British Muslims contribute over £31 billion to the UK economy every year.  Many British Muslims are role models in sport, business and entertainment for many in the country. Take national hero and Olympic superstar Mo Farah. Or former England cricket star Nasser Hussain. Or the hugely successful businessman and Dragons Den Star James Caan. And I can’t forget my daughters’ hero, One Direction’s Zayn Malik.

I’m not saying we should ignore extremism. It needs rooting out, and everyone has a role to play in that. But we’ll be more successful if British Muslims are even more active in communities, not less - challenging those promoting fear and division and supporting the vast majority of British patriots. While I’m fasting this Ramadan– I will be thinking about what I can do to promote a more positive view of British Muslims – we should all do the same.”

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