UK must look inward for confronting extremism: former MP Shahid Malik

ISLAMABAD: The first British Muslim minister Shahid Malik said on Sunday that Pakistani origin of one of the terrorist attackers in London had nothing to do with his evil acts and urged UK to look inward for tackling the challenge of extremism.

“For far too long in the UK, we have often looked abroad to ascribe some kind of blame for the terrorist atrocities, we have had to endure but sadly the truth is much closer to home. The stark reality is that our challenges stem from and exist within our own country, among our own people, aided by modern technology,” Shahid Malik, who served as Justice Minister, Interior Minister, International Development Minister and Local Government Minister under the administrations of Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair told APP here.

Shahid said in this age of instant global communications and the internet, it was well known that “often the grooming and the brainwashing of individuals is carried out online, and it is the big global technology companies who have to accept a degree of responsibility for allowing their platforms to be exploited to unleash terror in communities, regions, and countries around the world.”

“It’s too easy to blame other countries but the fact that Khurram Butt’s family originate from Pakistan is irrelevant to the grotesque and barbaric attacks he carried out in London on innocent peace-loving citizens,” he said.

He warned against linking terrorism and religion and challenged Muslims to do even more: “In the case of Pakistan, the facts speak for themselves; very few countries have made the sacrifices and suffered the loss of lives that tragically Pakistan has experienced,” Shahid said while acknowledging the immense sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fighting the war against extremism and terrorism.
“Pakistan’s fight against extremism and terrorism has led to a huge toll with thousand of Pakistan’s citizens, armed forces, security personnel and police being martyred and paying the ultimate price,” he said.

He said it must be remembered that evil existed in all walks of life as Timothy McVeigh butchered 168 American citizens in Oklahoma he did not represent Christianity, in the same way that these vile creatures who had killed in Manchester and London did not represent Islam. They both represent evil and evil had no religion.

“We must be clear, these terrorists are not martyrs going to heaven but sinners going to hell and their actions are profoundly un-Islamic,” he added.

While praising British Muslims and mosques, many of whom, Malik said, had reported some of the terrorists to the security services previously. It is worth noting that many individual British Muslims and indeed mosques reported some of the terrorists in their own neighbourhood to the Police over the years and by doing so they showed the true face of Islam, a face of which we can all be proud.

He said “Today Muslims across the world must unite in sending a strong message not just by condemning extremism and terrorism but confronting it ‘wherever it rears its evil head, whether that is in our homes, in our shops, our workplaces, our colleges or online.”

Malik said that Muslims were not responsible for the actions of these wicked individuals, adding Muslims had a responsibility to redouble their efforts not only to save innocent and precious human lives but rescued their religion from the clutches of “twisted individuals who follow a truly perverted interpretation of our beautiful faith, Islam.”

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