By Theresa May
London, (The Muslim News):
This summer we have witnessed devastating scenes from Syria, with many appalling images of people hurt and killed.
This Government remains deeply concerned about the situation, and our immediate priority is to help the millions of Syrians in desperate need.
The UN now estimates that over 100,000 people have died and there are two million refugees – with around one million of those children. As the Prime Minister announced recently, the UK will provide a further £52 million in new humanitarian funding, bringing the UK’s total funding to £400 million – the biggest amount the UK has ever given to a single emergency.
Throughout all attempts to find a solution to the crisis our concern will remain focused on the millions of ordinary Syrians caught up in these events. But at the same time, as Home Secretary, I also remain focused on the concerns of people in this country – which is why I particularly wanted to visit the West Midlands and hear for myself the impact of the terrorist attacks here earlier this year.
In April Mohammed Saleem was brutally stabbed as he walked home from worshipping in a mosque in Birmingham. We know that this attack is being linked to bomb plots at a number of mosques: Aisha Mosque in Walsall, Kanzul Iman Central Mosque in Tipton and Wolverhampton Central Mosque.
Last Wednesday, I met members of Mohammed Saleem’s family and representatives of the affected mosques in the West Midlands. At that meeting, I restated my commitment to tackling all forms of terrorism.
West Midlands Police have charged a man in connection with the West Midlands attacks including the murder of Mr Saleem, consequently there is a limit to what I can say.
But I am only too aware that these attacks, and other incidents targeted at mosques and Islamic centres following Woolwich, have caused concern and anxiety among many British Muslims
No one in this country should live in fear because of their faith. This Government, in conjunction with the police, is working to help ensure safety. In the weeks following these attacks, police security advisers in the West Midlands visited over 200 mosques and Islamic centres to provide security advice. In other areas of the UK extra police patrols were put in place where necessary and the police have increased their engagement work. And, building on past work, national police guidance on protective security measures for mosques and other places of worship has been sent to all police forces.
Additionally, we are also taking action to tackle hate crime. For example, we supported the creation of an initiative which measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents in England and refers victims to support services. And at the most recent meeting of the Taskforce on Extremism, the Government discussed how we can continue to address the issue of anti-Muslim extremism
This Government is clear in condemning all forms of terrorism. My visit yesterday impressed on me the determination of the people in the West Midlands to stand firm against terrorists and extremists. I share this determination. I hope that we can continue to work together to stamp out all forms of extremism, and in doing so, ensure that no one succeeds in stoking up fear and spreading hatred.
The op-ed article by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, MP, is exclusive for The Muslim News.