PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Blair Needs to Lead and Unite, Not Demonise

Islamic Human Rights Commission

9th July 2005

PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Blair Needs to Lead and Unite, Not Demonise

The Islamic Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned about Tony Blair’s comments regarding religion, specifically Islam and the recent atrocities in London.

By stating that these attacks were undertaken by those claiming to do so ‘in the name of Islam’, and calling on Muslims to loudly condemn them, once more equates Islam and Muslims with these acts. Whilst Tony Blair may have qualified his statements by stating that the majority of Muslims abhor these crimes, his comments can only fuel division and perpetuate the prejudice that violence inheres in the Muslim community.

Blair’s remarks are even more saddening when set in the context of the comments of the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, former cabinet colleague Robin Cook, senior Metropolitan Police officers, the Home Secretary and indeed various facets of the mainstream media, and many other senior figures. Some have refused to speculate on the identity of the bombers, let alone make statements about their alleged religious affiliation, others have made clear that these acts cannot be described even as a perversion of a faith. These reasoned and responsible comments have been crucial at such an emotive time in the entire nation’s psyche. By singling out Islam again, the Prime Minister inevitably differentiates between citizens on the basis of religion and exacerbates prejudice.

IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh said:

“In the aftermath of these horrendous events, the spectre of an anti-Muslim backlash has already reared its ugly head. Tony Blair needs to unite the country in condemnation of all acts of unjustified violence regardless of who the perpetrators or victims are. The attacks in London on Thursday did not discriminate against Londoners – all faiths, ages and ethnicities were targets. Mr. Blair needs to quickly condemn the discriminatory violence that has followed.”

IHRC is monitoring the anti-Muslim backlash, which has already seen a number of mosques attacks, as well as numerous incidents of physical assaults and verbal abuse.

For more comment or information, please call (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 522 196 or (+44) 7903 053362, or email

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183