Blair Warns Against "Stigmatising" Muslims

July 6, 2004

Source: Khaleej Times Online

Wire Service: AFP

On July 6, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "Prime Minister Tony Blair warned on Tuesday against 'stigmatising' Britain’s two million-strong Muslim community because of fears of terrorism. In an exchange of views of senior members of parliament, Blair said concerns about terrorism since the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 had added a 'new dimension' to race relations. 'I think that issue to do with terrorism -- and we heard all the controversy over stop-and-search and so on -- has put a new dimension into the equation which I think is difficult,' he said. 'I know from my conversations with leaders of the Muslim community that they feel very strongly that if someone who calls themselves a Protestant goes on to the streets of Northern Ireland and murders a Catholic, that doesn’t reflect on the whole of the Protestant religion,' he said. 'Whereas they feel if you get Muslim extremists and terrorists then somehow this can be taken as stigmatising the entire community. I think we need to be sensitive to that.' Stop-and-search refers to random on-the-street spot checks by police of individuals, who civil rights groups say are more often than not members of minority groups."