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An Open Letter to David Blunkett MP

Yakoub Islam | 24.08.2004 07:22 | Analysis | Anti-racism | Free Spaces

A short memo in response to the Home Secretary's refusal to take a more open approach to the 'war on terror', on the grounds that it would make him look ridiculous!

An Open Letter to David Blunkett MP

08 August 2004

Dear David

I am writing to you because I'm a bit worried about all these Muslims you keep arresting. Of course, I have a slightly extra worry, being a Muslim myself. There's always the chance you could arrest me. At first, my friends told me I was just being paranoid. After all, I'm a progressive Muslim and an outspoken critic not just of Muslim extremists, but of Muslim cant in general. But when I showed them the statistics surrounding your war on terror, they started to worry, too. Not just about me, but about your sanity.

You see, out of 30,000 raids carried out under the Prevention of Terrorism Act last year, only 100 people were charged with terror related offences. That's a success rate of 0.3%. Just imagine if only 0.3% of the parliamentary labour party had voted for the Terrorism Act, or the British army had only managed to invade 0.3% of Iraq. Let's hope you manage to stop more than 0.3% or terrorist attacks planned by al-Qaeda against the UK. Or is that the labour government's (secret) official target? I recall Ken Livingstone saying something about, 'Not if, but when.' Now I understand!

The overwhelming majority of Muslims in the UK genuinely want to help you, David, but we are having a tough time trusting someone who can only get it right once every 300 times - and out of all people charged, only TWO so far convicted are actually Muslim, if truth be told. At the very least, we think you should be made accountable for your failure rate. This is a democracy, people keep reminding me. Not that we expect you to do anything drastic like resign. With only 2 million Muslims in Britain, we hardly constitute a threat to your government's huge majority in parliament. But couldn't you at least be a little more open about what you're getting up to?

I understand you might end up looking a mite ridiculous. After all, if most people simply took a map of Bradford and stuck a pin in it, they would probably have a statistically greater chance of hitting a house containing terrorists than your security services. But that's missing the point. We just want to make things easier for innocent people. For example, if you announced there were probably a few brothers in Luton making bombs, that would at least restrict Islamophobic abuse and attacks to one area rather than demonizing the entire British Muslim community.

I've been wracking my head for a better way, but the only other idea I've come across lately was at some function I accidentally walked into. Not my scene really - some loud-mouth type called Nick lecturing to a bunch of real heavies who kept staring at me. Anyway, this bloke Nick thinks internment is the answer.

Locking up all those foreign Muslims in Belmarsh has been a rip roaring success, he said. No public evidence required; no proper independent review to give those interred some kind of hope; no compassion even when they go stark raving mad. Just imagine if we introduced that for Muslims who were British citizens, he explained - the risk of a terrorist attack would be slashed because every single last Muslim would flee the country. This Nick bloke - he's not a friend of yours, is he?

Anyway, David, I just wanted to let you know how worried I am about you. Things do seem to be going really badly for you lately, and believe me, as a Muslim living in Britain today, I know exactly how that feels.


Yakoub Islam
Tasneem Project

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Display the following 9 comments

  1. Not an attack on Islam — Roy Andrew
  2. The IRA were and are not Catholic! — Catholic
  3. That's the point ! — No religion
  4. no politics and no humour — Nicki
  5. My response — Yakoub
  6. great website — Nicki
  7. Muslims are the new Jews — dh
  8. Catholic, which IRA? — Nation State Violence
  9. did u know.....? — red letter