An Islamic community leader today compared the political situation in Britain with that of Nazi Germany.
Dr Mohammad Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, said Muslims were being labelled as a threat like the Jews were under Adolf Hitler.
Speaking to reporters outside the mosque before Friday prayers, he said: “The German people were told Jews were a threat. The same thing is happening here.”
Dr Naseem said Britain was turning into a police state and accused the Government of “picking on” the Muslim community to pursue a political goal.
He said the terror arrests in the city were an example of the Government justifying its political agenda and anti-terror laws.
He said: “This is a persecuting course of action that the Government has taken. They have invented this perception of a threat. To justify that, they have to maintain incidents to prove something is going on. There is dismay and people feel they are being persecuted unjustly.
“There is no reason for that. If there is a reason, the process should be open and for everybody to see what is happening.”
He called on police either to charge the nine men being detained or release them.
He said: “People are upset. If there is evidence either charge them or release them.
“If they (the police) have been working on this for six months, what is the delay?”
He added that if it were proved that the men were a threat, the community would accept that.
Thousands gathered to hear Dr Naseem during Friday prayers.
Worshipper Nazir Awan, 54, said: “Dr Nazeem said this is becoming like a police state and Muslims are being targeted.
“He said we should not get angry and have patience and keep calm and collective.”
Another worshipper, Ausaf Khan, 36, agreed that Britain is becoming a police state.
He said: “I feel like we are under a microscope. Different religions have to learn to co-exist. You cannot shun any religion. If you do you will get a backlash which is what we are seeing now.”
Asrar Ahmad, 52, said the Muslim community was being used as a “scapegoat”.
Referring to the arrests, he said: “There is a saying that creating fear controls the public. I think it is just creating fear.”
Copyright Press Association 2007.