Nick Clegg: The link between British values and the Muslim faith

June 21, 2014 8:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Following recent stories questioning the link between British values and the Muslim faith, Nick Clegg has written to the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council for Britain about the role of British Muslims in public life.

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In the letter, he says:

"I am writing following the recent developments in schools in Birmingham and widespread commentary about the role of Muslims in public life.

"I would like to place clearly on the record that there is absolutely no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the UK are patriotic citizens who hold values that entirely accord with the traditions and values of our nation, not least through the rejection of all forms of intolerant extremism. Indeed for generations many British Muslims have helped protect, defend and enhance these values through their voluntary, civic and military service to our country.

"Muslims up and down the country contribute a huge amount to their local communities, as local councillors, school Governors, charity trustees and in countless other roles. That is something that I hugely welcome and which I firmly hope and believe that recent events and commentary should not be allowed to undermine or weaken. We have seen a high profile response to the recent events, but we shouldn't pretend that interventions from central Government alone will solve the problem - it is my firm belief that community cohesion is best driven by communities themselves working with local people and organisations.

"It would be fundamentally wrong for British citizens who hold the Islamic faith to be held to a different, or indeed, higher standard from other citizens. Being Muslim does not contradict being British, nor is it in tension with it. A person can uphold their religious and cultural identity as well as British identity.

"Muslim friends and colleagues of mine have raised concerns about how some elements of recent reporting may risk leading to an increase in Islamophobia. If this is the case clearly it is deeply regrettable. As you will know the Government takes Islamohphobia extremely seriously and is committed to working with the Muslim communities of the UK to do all we can to tackle it."