PRESS RELEASE – 22nd March 2016

British Muslims for Secular Democracy (BMSD) stand united in grief and anger at the 22nd March terrorist attacks in Brussels. At the time of writing, the death toll from the attacks at Brussels Zaventem airport and Maelbeek Metro station stands at 34, and Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

We send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and solidarity to the people of Belgium. We note that Belgium has a particularly significant problem with terrorism: research conducted by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London suggests that, per capita, Belgium has four times as many foreign fighters in Syria than Britain.

We maintain that simply condemning acts of violence and terrorism is not enough; we need to do more to combat the ideology underpinning such acts. This includes actively promoting secular values, and challenging hatred, violence and extremism no matter where it comes from.

BMSD trustee Dr Shaaz Mahboob said: “Civil society organisations around the world must unite in opposing the extremist ideologies that motivate such atrocities. We need to do this by challenging extremist views within our communities, our homes and workplaces.”

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Notes to the editors:

1. bmsd is made up of a group of Muslim democrats of diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, who support a clear separation between religion and the State.
2. bmsd’s mission statement: “To promote civic engagement, social inclusion, responsible citizenship and good governance particularly within constituent Muslim communities of Britain; to combat anti-Muslim sentiment; in order to build an understanding of the shared values between all citizens to enable them to live in an inclusive, pluralist, secular and confident Britain.”
3. bmsd claims no mandate or false representative status. Our primary concern is democratic engagement not detailed theological analysis or debate. The level and depth of commitment to the doctrinal core and orthodoxy of the faith varies among Muslims as much as it does in members of other faith groups. bmsd founders wish to create a platform for alternative, diverse Muslim views, essential for a progressive, multi-layered, democratic identity that is not in conflict with itself or fellow citizens.
4. For details please visit http://www.bmsd.org.uk. For any further queries, please contact: Dr Shaaz Mahboob on shaaz@hotmail.com or Tehmina Kazi on director.media@bmsd.org.uk or 0207 250 8108.


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