“We offer our condolences to the deceased and are thinking of the injured, and all their families in the horrific terror attack in Manchester” – BMSD

British Muslims for Secular Democracy are deeply saddened by the terrorist attack in London which has resulted in the loss of 7 lives and numerous serious injuries. Our sympathies go to the families of the deceased and the injured.

Like the recent attack in Manchester, this is yet another senseless, iniquitous attack against innocent people by terrorists who now operate in many parts of the world. This attack targeted British people enjoying a night out. Those who commit these crimes despise liberal, democratic, secular societies and weaponise faith. Secular Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh also mercilessly attacked. The extremists follow Saudi Arabia’s hardline Islam.

The timing of these UK attacks is significant. They are happening merely a few days before the British people elect their representatives to the Parliament. Democracy and the right to shape our own laws based on human rights and secularism, above any religious considerations is something these religious fanatics hate and wish to disrupt.

Whilst we believe that people should come together during this difficult time, it is also a time for serious introspection for some, in particular, British Muslim communities. From the revelations regarding predominantly Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs to extremism, various British Muslim communities have been under the spotlight in recent years. In some cases, unjustifiably, in others justifiably so.

British Muslims do suffer discrimination abuse. But these acts are about other deeper issues too, most unaddressed. We would urge our communities to engage in a debate both internally and with the wider society and to explore more proactive roles we can play to deal with this threat. We cannot afford to carry on marching with “not in our name” slogans in the wake of these attacks yet continue to tolerate the intolerant Imams, harbour feelings against open societies, and belittling liberal values. We should also not accept these so-called religious leaders from within British mosques and other hardline Islamist organisations from assuming the role of self-appointed representatives of British Muslims.

Dr Shaaz Mahboob of the BMSD said “this attack should serve a wake-up call for all British Muslim communities. Whilst fighting unfair demonisation and racism, they also need to address the damaging tendencies within Muslim families and communities which lead to dangerous alienation and rage in second and third generations. Failure to do so even now, given the rise of populist movements across the world and the ever growing threat of both Islamist and far-right violent extremism, would be a disaster for the integrity of our society and the future of our children”.

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