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How not to have a debate February 16, 2007

Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Ministers need to listen more to Muslims – and avoid grandstanding to the scared majority

Jack Straw and John Reid have both launched challenges to sections of the Muslim community. The gauntlets thrown down have fed a series of anti-Muslim stories. However genuine Straw and Reid may be, recent history suggests this is not the way to go.

In spring 2001, Radio 4’s Today programme claimed that Asians in Oldham had set up “no-go areas” for whites. The tabloids took up the story and unconnected acts of violence were used to “stand up” the story. That summer, Oldham exploded with riots. But the story wasn’t true. The Ritchie inquiry concluded that claims of no-go areas were not borne out on the ground.

That’s a cautionary message for Reid and his ministers as they set out to take the anti-terrorist message into Muslim communities. There aren’t any no-go areas. While extremists exist, we Labour MPs can discuss these issues frankly in any part of our constituencies. But, by the time the ministers have finished, it may appear as though they are for real. A few people brandishing banners is all it will need. Scary images broadcast to millions with little knowledge of Muslims would fuel the polarisation the extremists desire. John Denham – October 9

It takes a fool to fool another fool

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