Press Release: IHRC Condemns Hazel Blears’ Islamophobic Politics of Fear

Islamic Human Rights Commission

1 March 2005

Press Release: IHRC Condemns Hazel Blears’ Islamophobic Politics of Fear

IHRC condemns in the strongest terms the dangerous comments made by Home Office minister Hazel Blears that Muslims should be ready to be disproportionately targeted by anti-terror laws. Ms Blears stated that since the terror threat facing Britain is coming from “people associated with Islam”, it was only right that Muslims should become disproportionate victims of stop and search and other anti-terror powers.

IHRC notes that such comments do not reflect the reality of the situation in Britain. Statistics show that of the 17 people convicted under anti-terrorism legislation since 9-11, only 5 have been “people associated with Islam”. The other 12 include 6 Irish men and 3 Sikhs. Furthermore, of the tens of thousands of stop and searches under the Terrorism Act, there has not been a single resulting conviction for terrorism.

IHRC also condemns Ms Blears prejudicial comments that people of “Islamic appearance” should be prepared to be stop and searched. IHRC is curious as to whether Ms Blears can define “Islamic appearance” as Muslims consist of every type of ethnic background. Moreover, even those who stand accused of committing the 9-11 attacks were clean-shaven and dressed in Western clothing, the police today are targeting those with long beards and / or dressed in traditional Islamic clothing.

In addition, these comments do nothing for inter-community relations other than fuel the already vitriolic level of Islamophobia in Britain today.

IHRC Chairman, Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“Muslims in Britain today are being victimised by both the state and society and will also become victims of any possible terror attack. There is no doubt but that they have become the ultimate victims of 9-11.”

“Just as we saw racism rear its ugly head during previous elections, today it seems that some politicians are ready and willing to promote Islamophobia and politics of fear as a form of appeasement to preachers of hate such as the BNP”

For more information please contact,

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

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