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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

British politicians call for more recognition of charity work done by Muslims at Christmas

The politicians released their findings in a report titled A Very Merry Muslim Christmas, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Stephen Lock
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Stephen Lock

British Muslims are not recognised for the amount of charity work they do, especially during the festive period, a new report by cross party British politicians has found.

The report titled A Very Merry Muslim Christmas by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims said that charitable acts by the UK’s Muslim community often go unnoticed because they are not considered “newsworthy”.

In a year which saw five terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Muslims have been at the frontline of providing aid to those affected. In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, Muslims rushed to help by giving blood to hospitals, offering rides home and raising money for victims and their families.

However, the British media “wilfully” ignores the contribution made by charities, instead focusing on “latent fears” that Islamic charities were open to being abused to finance terrorism, despite evidence to the contrary.

Sayeeda Warsi, treasurer of the APPG, said Christmas was an appropriate time in which to publish the report.

“I think what we are trying to do is end the year with good will and we think it is right to release the findings of this report during this festive period,” the Conservative peer said.

Anna Soubry, co-chair of the APPG and Conservative member of parliament, said the findings showed that Britain’s three million-strong Muslim community were supporting “the most deprived in their communities”.

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"As I have said before, communities have much to learn from one another. There is much we can learn from British Muslims and the work they do over Christmas,” Ms Soubry said. “I have been deeply moved by the evidence we have heard. The number of British Muslim charities supporting non-Muslims during the season of good will is testament to the true nature of the Islamic Faith."

The report’s name #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas was trending all day on Tuesday on Twitter.

Ms Soubry, who has been subjected to death threats after voting against the government in a key Brexit vote last week, said she was ready for the backlash the report might have.

The former minister was one of eleven Conservative party members who rebelled against the party line by voting for an amendment which forced the government to give parliament the final say on the Brexit deal.

Ms Soubry said on Tuesday that the hate tweets and emails she and her fellow MPs who voted for the amendment received in the aftermath of the vote were “triggered” by the reaction by the British media.

Right-wing tabloid the Daily Mail used their front page the following day to publish pictures of all the rebel MPs above the headline: “Proud of yourselves?”

While broadsheet newspaper the Daily Telegraph called Ms Soubry and some of her Conservative party colleagues “The Brexit Mutineers” in November.

Ms Soubry, a vocal supporter of the remain vote, submitted a dossier of threats of violence made against her to the House of Commons speaker by people protesting her views on Brexit, many of which called for her to be “hanged”.

The MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire said she had stopped giving advance notice to her constituents about events she would be attending because of the threats.

Earlier this year, a man was jailed for calling Ms Soubry’s constituency office and saying she should be "Jo Cox'd", a reference to the Labour MP who was murdered by a far-right extremist while meeting constituents a week before the 2016 referendum vote.