Britain’s highest-ranked Muslim politician has said that British Muslims had a responsibility to tackle extremism because the perpetrators of attacks such as that on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris were inspired by the religion.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid – who is of British Pakistani origin – told the Mail on Sunday that it was “lazy” to distance Islam from the fanatics who carry out such atrocities.
“The answer 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.”
Mr Javid added that whilst all communities can do more to help crack down on terrorists, there was a “special burden” on Muslim communities to help law enforcement agencies.
On the day that a Muslim preacher in London defended the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Mr Javid also called for tougher laws not only to de-radicalize individuals but prevent radicalization in the first place.
In a sermon at a mosque in leafy Palmers Green, North London, cleric Mizanur Rahman praised the Paris attackers, saying that France “can’t expect a different result if Islam is insulted”.
Rahman also said that Britain too is an “enemy of Islam”.
The Charlie Hebdo attack was carried out by two French Algerian brothers said to have been radicalized in France and trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen.
The opposing viewpoints of Mr Javid and preacher Rahman came as hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Paris to show their solidarity following the attack which many French commentators have described as their country’s 9/11.
Protestors were joined by dozens of world leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron and the leaders of Algeria, Israel, Palestine, Germany and other nations.