Muslim communities face a special burden to help to track down Islamist extremists, Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, has said.
Speaking on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News, Britain’s only Muslim cabinet minister said it is “no good” for people to deny that the Paris attackers are Muslims.
Javid said: “All communities can do more to try and help deal with terrorists, try and help track them down. But I think it is absolutely fair to say that there is a special burden on Muslim communities because whether we like it or not these terrorists call themselves Muslims. It is no good for people to say they are not Muslims, that is what they call themselves. They do try to take what is a great peaceful religion and warp it for their own means.”
Javid, the son of a Pakistani-born bus driver, was intervening in a highly sensitive debate about the implications for Muslim communities of attacks by Islamist extremists. His belief that Muslim communities face a special burden may be challenged by some leaders who say that they have worked hard to tackle extremism.
The culture secretary also challenged the view that it would be wrong to deny that the three Paris attackers were Muslim. He told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live: “The lazy answer, I think, from people out there, is to say that this had got nothing whatsoever to do with Islam and Muslims and that should be the end of that part of the debate. That is lazy and that would be wrong. You can’t get away from the fact that these people are using Islam, they are taking a great religion, a peaceful religion of a billion people around the world, taking this religion and using it as their tool to carry out their horrible activities.”
Javid did not say who he had in mind for denying that the attackers were Muslim. But Howard Dean, the former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, told MSNBC last week that it is wrong to describe the attackers as Muslim terrorists. Dean said: “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life, that’s not what the Koran says. And, you know Europe has an enormous radical problem ... I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.”
Javid spoke out after Rupert Murdoch tweeted that peaceful Muslims will be responsible for extremist attacks until they confront and destroy extremists. Murdoch tweeted: “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”
The culture secretary appeared on Sky and the BBC after asking, in a Times article on Saturday, why some children from Muslim immigrant families grow into world-class surgeons while others “commit mass murder in the name of their faith”.
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