Muslim MP criticises lack of engagement

A prominent Muslim MP has criticised the government for the “limited progress” it has made in engaging British Muslims nearly one year on from the London bombings.

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said very few recommendations from the Muslim working groups set up in the wake of the 7/7 attacks had been implemented.

His comments, in a speech on Monday, are followed this morning by a poll revealing that seven per cent of British Muslims believe that suicide attacks on civilians can be justified in some circumstances.

The Populus survey for The Times and ITV News also reveals that more than one in ten believe that the four men who carried out the London bombings should be regarded as martyrs.

In the wake of the bombings, the government set up seven Muslim working groups which reported back in November.

But in a speech to the Fabian Society last night, Mr Khan said these groups feel “let down” by the lack of progress made.

“What happened to all the good ideas? Why hasn’t an action plan been drawn up with time lines?

“There has been limited progress but there is an air of despondency. Only three recommendations have been implemented and group members feel let down.

“I worry that the government might become the Duke of York – marching all these talented British Muslims up the hill of consultation and dialogue only to march them down again as very little appears to have changed,” he said.

The Muslim working groups, which were chaired by leading community figures, made 64 recommendations in all.

One such recommendation was for a public inquiry, and last night Mr Khan was critical of the decision not to proceed with one.

“A public inquiry into the July 7th bombings could have provided one way to start the public debate which we need. Very few British Muslims, myself included, have been able to understand why government set itself so strongly against this,” he said.