The UK must be careful how it tackles terrorism and treats Islamic culture if it is to avoid recreating a society reminiscent of Nazi Germany, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain has warned.
Muhammad Abdul Bari, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, criticised the Government for fuelling tensions in the Muslim community rather than dissipating them.
He told the paper: "There is a disproportionate amount of discussion surrounding us. The air is thick with suspicion and unease. It is not good for the Muslim community, it is not good for society."
The Muslim leader added: "Every society has to be really careful so that situation does not lead us to a time when people's minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s.
"If your community is perceived in a very negative manner and poll after poll says that we are alienated then Muslims begin to feel very vulnerable.
"We are seen as creating problems, not as bringing anything, and that is not good for society."
The Government's foreign policy and particularly the Iraq war, which he described as a "disaster", had been used by criminals as a weapon to encourage young people into extremism, he said.
Dr Bari also criticised the head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, for painting a bleak picture of the terrorist threat the night before the Queen's Speech this week.
He said: "I don't think it was a good thing to share information in this way, I think it is creating a scare in the community and wider society. It probably helps some people who try to recruit the young to terrorism."
The leader believes integration should be a two-way process and that the emphasis should be on the positive aspects of Muslim culture instead of the threat of al Qaida.
Muslim principles - including stricter attitudes to drinking, sex, marriage, abortion and dress - could improve the country as a whole and add more morality, he argues.
Dr Bari said: "Marriage should not be forced on people but parents can be a catalyst... Young people are emotional, they want idealism. Older people have gone through all sorts of things and become a bit more experienced."
And he advocated no sex before marriage, saying "on adultery and living together, we should try to go back to the history-old, religiously-informed style of life that helps society".
Homosexuality was, he said, "unacceptable from the religious point of view".
Children and young people should be encouraged to dress more modestly, he argues.
"You shouldn't be revealing your body so much that it can be tempting to other people.
"I hope my daughter wouldn't wear a bikini but I also hope she wouldn't wear a burka. Islam doesn't prescribe the type of dress, it just says you have to be modest. There should be social discussion about this."
MI5 chief Mr Evans said on Monday that there were at least 2,000 people in the UK who pose a threat to national security because of their support for terrorism.
N:B These comments where made on the eve of Armistice/Remembrance day for World I/II dead - November 11th.
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