Ruth Kelly - Cohesion or Distraction

Kelly’s Integration Commission - Improving Cohesion or Distraction from Foreign Policy Concerns?

Press Release from Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain

London , UK , August 24 - Earlier today, the Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly launched a new Commission on Integration and Cohesion tasked with looking at how communities can tackle tensions and extremism. She stressed that the commission's report – due June 2007 – must contain ideas as well as practical steps which can be implemented nationally. She also hugely underplayed the concerns in the Muslim community regarding Foreign Policy saying there were ''elements of the Muslim community that profoundly disagree with British foreign policy", when in reality there is almost unanimous disgust amongst Muslims, shared by many non-Muslims about western foreign policy.

In the past year there have been hastily convened taskforces and various community meetings with Ministers, some of which were virtually closed to questions about foreign policy. Whilst the Muslim community clearly sees the need for better community cohesion - and that it must play its own part in this - there is also a widespread feeling that 'we've been here before'. Each of the previous exercises refused to acknowledge the central point of anger and disquiet.

Commenting on the launch of the new Commission, Imran Waheed, a media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "This government has a track record of living in denial about some of the issues affecting community cohesion. So despite setting up Muslim taskforces after 7/7, it continues to deny their assertion that the government’s unjust foreign policy is a major factor contributing to anger and alienation amongst many Muslims. Also, despite calls from survivors of the London bombings and others, it continues to ignore demands for a public inquiry into the London bombings.""The Muslim community has added its voice to the ongoing debate, reiterating our vision of how we can continue to contribute positively to the wider society, living side by side with our neighbours, while holding on to our Islamic beliefs and values such as honesty, sanctity of the family, respect for others, and speaking up against injustice."''However, the concern is that Kelly's comments at the launch of the commission not only ignores the real foreign policy concerns, it sends a message that pacifying people's emotions to injustice is more important than stopping the injustice itself.'"

Notes to Editors:

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain's submission to the 2004 Home Office consultation on community cohesion can be downloaded from www.hizb.org.uk/downloads/pdfs/diversity_HTB_response.pdf