Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:14 pm (KSA) 09:14 am (GMT)

UK Muslims feel like "Jews of Europe": minister

Malik paints a bleak picture of integrating Britain's 1.8 million Muslims (File)
Malik paints a bleak picture of integrating Britain's 1.8 million Muslims (File)

Muslims in Britain feel like aliens in their own society and it is becoming legitimate to target them just like "the Jews of Europe" in the 1930s, the country's first Muslim government minister said.

International Development Minister Shahid Malik painted a bleak picture of the integration of Britain's 1.8 million Muslims, three years after British Islamist suicide bombers killed 52 people on London's underground system.

Malik, who has been the target of race attacks including a firebombing of his family car, said some media coverage "makes Muslims feel like aliens in their own country."

"If you ask Muslims today what do they feel like, they feel like the Jews of Europe," he told a documentary to be shown on Channel 4 television next week, marking the third anniversary of the attacks on July 7, 2005.

"I don't mean to equate that with the Holocaust but in the way that it was legitimate almost -- still is in some parts -- to target Jews. Many Muslims would say that we feel the exact same way."

An ICM survey done for the documentary shows a narrow majority of 51 percent of Britons blame Islam to some degree for the bombings. Eight out of 10 Muslims said they felt there was more religious prejudice against their faith since the bombings.

The July 7 2006 suicide attacks triggered a debate on whether Britain's policy of avoiding imposing a single British identity, and instead promoting a multicultural society, had led to segregation of ethnic minorities.

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