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Minority groups queue up to condemn World Trade Centre attacksSubmitted: 22 Sep 2001

Minority groups queue up to condemn World Trade Centre attacks. There is a very real fear that there will be a backlash against refugees, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and other minority groups. Already there has been verbal abuse and threats against Muslim groups which has lead to the closure of three Islamic schools.

Part of the problem appears to be that the main suspects, the Taliban, full bearded men with head dress, dress similarly to members of these minority groups. "They have made suspects and victims of communities such as the Sikhs" the president of Gurdwara Singh Sabha London East said. He adds they share "absolutely no political, religious, cultural or social links whatsoever to the followers of Bin Laden or the Taliban". The Development Coordinator of Redbridge Refugee Forum says "People are looking at pictures in the media and may make the wrong connections to people living in our community".

There have also been images of Muslims in other countries jumping up and cheering when they heard the news. Chairman of Ilford Islamic Centre, Ghazanfar Ali, stressed there must be a distinction between the terrorists and the "vast majority of British Muslims who condemn such acts of violence". "Islam as the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings as a grave sin. This is confirmed by the Quran". The boxer, Mohammed Ali, speaking as a Muslim said he condemned the attack. On Friday Muslims met at Eton Road Community Centre to pray for the people who died and their families. The Chairman of the centre has sent a letter of condolence to the American Embassy in London.

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