This has not been an easy time to be a British Muslim. British Muslims have been at the sharp end of many public controversies – from the threat of terrorism to the role of religion in a society of many faiths and of none.
Yet none of these issues affects Muslim communities exclusively. The argument which must underpin an effective agenda for citizenship and integration is this: we can only get it right for British Muslims if we get it right for everybody. Citizens of every community should expect to have a fair chance to have their voices heard – but can never expect a veto over policy at home or abroad.
‘Fairness not Favours’ argues that an effective agenda to provide opportunity and tackle extremism across all communities must go beyond a narrow approach to security, and sets out new proposals for a progressive agenda on inequality and life chances, public engagement in foreign policy, an inclusive Britishness, and rethinking the role of faith in public life.
Politically too, the Labour Party knows it can no longer take Muslim votes for granted. Rebuilding bridges will be difficult after Iraq. But communities which suffer most from social disadvantage should be important allies in the argument for social justice.
You can buy a printed copy edition of Fairness not Favours: How to reconnect with British Muslims for £6.95, plus £1 p+p, by phoning the Fabian Society bookshop on 020 7227 4900, emailing us at [email protected] or send a cheque payable to “The Fabian Society” to 11 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BN.