Muslims in Britain feel ‘under siege’, says Muslim minister

July 4th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 4 (IANS) A British minister says Muslims in Britain “feel like the Jews of Europe” and related how he has been targeted for physical attacks. Shahid Malik, a junior minister for international development, stressed that he was not equating the Muslims’ situation with the Holocaust but added that many Muslims felt “under siege”.

Giving specific examples in an interview to mark the anniversary of the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings in London that left 52 people dead, the minister said that his car had been firebombed, a car drove at him in a petrol station and that he receives regular hate mail.

Malik, whose West Yorkshire constituency is home to one of the suicide bombers, said the alienation and segregation of Muslims could undermine efforts to tackle extremism and terrorism.

“I don’t mean to equate that with the Holocaust but in the way that it was legitimate almost - and still is in some parts - to target Jews, many Muslims would say that we feel the exact same way,” he told a Channel 4 documentary to be shown Monday.

“Somehow there’s a message out there that it’s OK to target people as long as it’s Muslims. And you don’t have to worry about the facts, and people will turn a blind eye.”

Malik said he had no doubt that “many Muslims feel under siege in the media and in society, and this siege mentality feeds into a wider victim narrative”.

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