UK Local Government And Communities Minister Eric Pickles sent a letter to 1,000 UK Imams on Friday to encourage them to fight extremism. However, Muslim groups had accused the Minister of using the language of far right parties in a statement on Monday.
They also accused the UK Government of being Islamaphobic and creating a culture against Muslims.
In his letter, Pickles asked the imams to explain to Muslims how Islam could be “part of British identity.” He argued that imams had a duty to help fight extremism and find any Muslim who preaches hatred against others.
Tahla Ahmad was disappointed with the letter. He said: “The letter has all the hallmarks of very poor judgement which feeds into an Islamophobic narrative, which feeds into a narrative of us and them.”
Muslim Council of Britain Deputy Secretary General Harun Khan said his organisation would prepare a letter to complain against Pickles’ letter.
“Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?,” said Khan.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the letter was patronising, factually incorrect, and “typical of the Government only looking at Muslims through the prism of terrorism and security.”
Britain’s own 2.8 million Muslim community were praised by politicians for peacefully condemning the Paris shootings.