00:01, 14 November 2011
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) continues to extend its support to the Free Babar Ahmed campaign and its aims, and therefore expresses its disappointment and dismay at news of the parliament’s recent reaction to the campaign. It has become clear that, despite gathering well over 100,000 signatures in support of its petition, making it among the top three current petitions and boasting over ten times as much support as the next most popular recently closed petition, the issue will be denied a full debate in the Commons but rather be relegated to a second chamber discussion at Westminster Hall, where it will not undergo a vote.
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh has made a statement, saying:
“First of all, this has been an unprecedented successful campaign, in that it has been initiated by a Muslim organisation and joined by many others who joined the campaign for justice. This has represented a victory for mutual motivation and cooperation among Muslims and non-Muslims in addressing one of the most worthy causes, which has resulted in the petition becoming one of the top three currently under review.
“This mass mobilisation demonstrates that there is no question over the willingness, ability and commitment of Muslims to try and address issues through due process and democracy. On the contrary, this highlights the discriminatory practices of the authorities in their effective exclusion of the Muslim community and their out-of-hand dismissal of causes about which Muslims have demonstrated their passion and dedication.
“If any lesson can be learned from this, it is that the alienation of Muslims is tangible and not merely perceived, and that this alienation is not due to the behaviour of Muslims or their supposed unwillingness to ‘integrate’, but rather due to the unwillingness of the authorities to engage positively with Muslims as full citizens whose causes and concerns are deemed worthy of respect and taken seriously.
“The whole purpose of the government’s introduction of this procedure of petitions was to give the public tangible access to democracy and decision-making. The fact that parliament can then so easily brush the issue aside and deny over 140,000 signatories the right to have their cause debated and voted on makes a mockery of the whole process.”
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