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Mr Cameron Should Not Appear to Blame All Muslims

23/06/2015 13:24 BST | Updated 20/06/2016 10:59 BST

David Cameron accused some British Muslims of 'quietly condoning' Islamic State ideology in a recent speech he made at a security conference in Slovakia.

Talking about British Muslims going to fight with Islamic State, Mr Cameron said: "The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology, one that says the West is bad, that democracy is wrong, that women are inferior, that homosexuality is evil. He said one reason was members of the Muslim community who "don't go as far as advocating violence, but who do buy into some of these prejudices".

It is not clear whether he meant to blame all British Muslims or not - but I think it could easily be taken to mean that.

I am no expert on Islam - nor do I speak on behalf of Muslims of course - but this sort of statement from the political leader of this Country could easily be interpreted as blaming whole communities for the acts of a few.

For the last 15 years I have worked as both a police officer and now a (tree hugging) community person in communities where lots of Muslims live.

There are around 2.7 million Muslims in the UK from many different countries. There are Muslims from Pakistan, from Arabic countries, from African countries and many others.

There is in no sense (as far as I can see) anything approaching one cohesive 'Muslim community' - it is an almost meaningless concept. In any case - every community (Muslim or otherwise) consists of tiny communities within communities - even people within the same households may have different views from each other.

To even appear to blame large numbers of Muslims for the acts of a few is unfair and potentially damaging. It would be the equivalent of blaming the majority white population for the crimes of a white; culturally Christian person from Eastern Europe - as an example.

I put some leaflets through doors a few years ago advertising English classes for people for whom English is a second language. The next day an angry white English man came into the office accusing me of trying to make English a second language. Our conversation didn't last long but I got the sense he wanted to misread the leaflet and keen to be angry.

The English Defence League has a link to a newspaper article about Cameron's speech on their Facebook page - it is there because it supports their world view. This sort of speech will only serve to reinforce the views of those people only too willing to believe the worst of those who come from different cultures.

David Cameron is meant to be the leader of all citizens in this Country - including all British Muslims. Did he think that an accusation like this will increase the trust between Muslims and others? The accusation is fundamentally unfair to almost all of those accused and will only serve to increase levels of suspicion and mistrust between different cultural and ethnic groups in the UK.

What message does it send to those Muslims who do speak out against the sort of ideology that supports the messages from groups like IS? Many Muslims spoke out against the Paris attack on the Charlie Hebdo Offices

It would show greater leadership if David Cameron praised those Muslims that do speak out instead of even suggesting they are all to blame.

Of course there are a small number of people who are Muslims have carried out acts of terrorism and they should face justice in every case - as should anyone else from whatever religious or cultural background who commit such crimes. If there is evidence that others broke the law by inciting or encouraging them - then they too should face justice.

There are violent people in every cultural group and there are people from many faiths who will use religion as an excuse for violent acts and as an excuse to take from others.

It seems to be open season on Muslims in the UK at the moment - in the media (or certain parts of it) and in politics and this sort of message from the Prime Minister will only make things worse. I don't accept that the people I see every day - who happen to be Muslims just getting on with their lives and bringing up their families - should be blamed for the acts of a small minority.

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