PRESS RELEASE: NO MORE BORDER CLASHES

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598, Wembley, UK, HA0 4XX

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate Release
25.6.97

NO MORE BORDER CLASHES
Islamic Human Rights Commission calls for Muslim and media calm

IHRC is calling for certain Muslim organisations to stop exploiting the British Muslim community over the Indian film Border. It is also calling on the media to stop reporting the controversy around the film in Islamophobic terms.

The film, set during the war between East and West Pakistan in the early 1970’s, has been reported as containing, ‘anti-Muslim’, ‘anti-Pakistani’ and ‘anti-Islamic’ scenes. Further there has been widespread speculation in the media of attacks and riots carried out by ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ and ‘fanatics.’

The Chairman of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh, said:

“If the reports of the film’s contents are correct, Border does not contain an attack on Islam per se or offend Islamic sensibilities. Unlike the Rushdie affair, there is no compulsion on the Muslim community to take any form of action against it from a religious perspective. What appears to be happening is that a film which may offend Pakistani nationalist sympathies, is being used by certain community figures to stir up the passions of the UK Pakistani community, and to confuse the issue of Islam and Paksitani nationalism.”

IHRC considers the statements of certain Muslim figures to be misleading and inappropriate. Border may or may not be politically biased in its portrayal of events. It would not be the first time an unjustifiably slanted view of history was portrayed by a work of fiction. If this is the case it should be offensive to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. However it is unjustifiable that certain community leaders should use it to exploit the beliefs of Muslims in the UK, by promoting it as an Islamic issue, when it is clear they wish to only score cheap nationalistic points. Mr. Shadjareh, continued:

“Finally, the reporting of the fire at an Edgware cinema, and the incidents in Leeds last week, by the press, has simply perpetrated Islamophobic stereotypes. It is as unacceptable and laughable that the media should promote the idea of fanatical Muslims roaming the streets of Britain, as it is to claim that communists are planning to take control of the White House.”

For more information, please call the Press Officer on: 0181 931 1919
0958 60 74 75
0958 522 196