STATEMENT- Rochdale Muslim Community on release without charge of Rochdale Family

The following is a statement submitted to Majed’s blog from members of the Rochdale Muslim community including Teachers, Businessmen, Solicitors, Healthcare professionals and Community activists that has been circulated widely locally to Community Leaders and on social Media in light of the recent releasing without charge of 6 Rochdale residents accused of trying to sneak into Syria with eight of his relatives .

Aslaaamualaikum,
F.A.O Muslims in Rochdale – Family released without charge
The BBC revealed today that the family who were arrested for purportedly travelling to Syria via the Turkish border have been released without charge.
It must be noted that upon their arrest, there were some people in our community who irresponsibly helped brew a narrative that “ISIS are spreading their tentacles”. Others attempted to use the story to create a schism within our community along sectarian lines. Simon Danczuk further exploited the story and arrogantly said “The family are not welcome back to the UK”.
There are four important lessons that we can learn as a Muslim community from this event;

1) Muslims like all others should be afforded the right to a fair trial and not be assumed to be guilty before even having a chance to speak. Muslims must reject this trial by media while the facts of the case are unknown. The media have a clear obligation to report facts, not make up stories based on their own prejudices.
2) Politicians like Simon Danczuk crave political opportunism. He implied that the family were guilty of a crime without any evidence. Such politicians should be rejected and are indicative of a political system that doesn’t look after the interests of Muslims.
3) Community leaders who claim to represent Islam and the Muslims have a duty to speak the truth and not simply bow down to the dominant media narrative. Statements like “ISIS are spreading their tentacles”, “The Saudi ideology has the backing of petrodollars” are divisive for our community. We cannot accept those who claim to be Muslim community leaders helping perpetuate an Islamophobic narrative. Muslims have a duty to scrutinise and account those who claim to represent the Muslim Community.
4) There exists an ideological agenda to intervene in the Muslim Community and reform Islam. This can be seen from the immediate juxtaposition of this story to a “non-violent extremist” narrative. A claim that normative Islamic ideas such as the desire of Muslims to live under a Khilafah in the Muslim World would lead to joining violent militias like ISIS even though Muslims have rejected ISIS over and over again. We must reaffirm normative Islamic ideas and prevent Islam from being associated with violence and criminality thereby criminalising the whole community.

Please share far and wide and support the family whose lives have been traumatised due to irresponsible comments in the media made by politicians and some Muslims.

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