Wednesday, 29 May 2013


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
It is time for action by Muslim leaders
I write in response to Suleman Nagdi's First Person article ("Religion can't be defence for brutal killings", May 24).
My response is not that of a politician, religious expert or supporter of any right-wing organisation. My response is that of a working class man appalled by the atrocity committed in Woolwich.
I support Mr Nagdi's response and the sentiments contained. I have no doubt Mr Nagdi's intentions are noble and that he wishes for peace and, as he puts it, that "the forces of hatred do not prevail".
Unfortunately, his sentiments are, I fear, not enough.
Until the attacks in London on July 7, 2005, the perceived threat to this country was from terrorists from outside the UK.
Since then, there has been a catalogue of arrests of individuals born and raised in the UK.
Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were jailed in April for plotting terrorist bomb attacks.
Next month, six men will be sentenced for preparing acts of terrorism. Richard Dart, Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood are also awaiting sentencing for terror-related offences. All were born in the UK.
Mr Nagdi calls for "solidarity" and states Muslims "have been distressed by the fact they are being made to defend themselves".
I agree the actions of a small minority should not influence the majority and the residents of this country should be able to live in peace.
However, what Mr Nagdi has failed to address is the fear and distress many people in this country have as a result of the events and arrests I have referred to.
Muslim leaders need to show positive action to demonstrate they are doing all they can to combat the extremists that use the name of Allah.
I have seen no evidence of positive, tangible action by Muslim leaders.
Community work, recognition of diversity and inter-faith groups are noble and praiseworthy, but what of the people not included in these?
What of the ordinary people who are afraid?
For every Stephen Lennon there is an Anjem Choudary, for every Nick Clegg an Abu Qatada and for every terrorist there is a right-wing fanatic.
I encourage Mr Nagdi to show those in fear they have nothing to fear and those who doubt Islam that their doubts are unfounded.
In an article published by the BBC, Dr Usama Hasan said: "In our times, we need non-violent jihads; social struggles against all forms of inequality and oppression, and for justice and liberation."
Perhaps now is the time for Mr Nagdi and other Muslim leaders to embark upon their own non-violent jihad against those Muslims who use their faith to justify the murder of innocent people.
David Gibbs, Scraptoft

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