Response to reported comments from Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, Cllr Muhammad Afzal
Following a report in today’s Birmingham Mail regarding reported comments from Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, Cllr Muhammad Afzal, I would like to say the following:
The first thing I must stress is that I do not agree with the reported comments, which in no way reflect the position of Birmingham City Council and I am seeking urgent clarification from Cllr Afzal.
We continue to work closely with our communities across the city, with colleagues in West Midlands Police and at the Home Office to ensure that neither intolerance nor fanatical extremism has a place in Birmingham.
In fact, one of the first things I did as leader of the city council was to request a full counter-terrorism briefing from West Midlands Police and earlier this month I attended the Contest Board to discuss this important issue.
I also recently joined 60 of my fellow councillors for a Prevent briefing. That figure underlines the importance of this issue and there was a shared cross-party determination to fight intolerance and extremism of any kind.
While I can understand community concerns around the current media focus on Muslim communities and Prevent, I can assure you that our approach covers all forms of extremism.
I must stress that I am yet to speak to Cllr Afzal about the reported comments, which were made in his capacity as Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque.