PM accused of creating ‘negative’ Muslim images

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THE UK’S first Muslim Miss England has hit out at Prime Minister Tony Blair accusing him of creating a negative image of Islam following the 7/7 London bombings.

19-year-old Hammasa Kohistani said Mr Blair was guilty of fuelling hostility towards Islam.

Speaking to the media as she returned to Uxbridge College, west London, to study for her A-Levels, she said: “Tony Blair addressed Muslims in particular, telling them that they need to sort out the problem within.

“That was a huge stereotype of the Islamic community”, she said, adding, “Even the more moderate Muslims have been stereotyped negatively and feel they have to take actions to prove themselves.”

She said 7/7 had represented “a reality slap” for those who thought Britain would never see such atrocities.

“I think in a sense it brought communities together,” she said. But at the same time “there is this hostility”, which comes “mainly from the Government”.

The Prime Minister told MPs in July this year that moderate Muslims were not doing enough to tackle extremists in their own community.

He said “the moderate majority” must “stand up against the ideas of these people”. “You cannot defeat this extremism through what a Government does. You can only defeat it within a community,” he said.

The 19-year-old made history last year when she became the first Muslim to be crowned Miss England.

She said general perceptions of Muslims had worsened, adding she was a “symbol” to prove “it’s not really that bad.”

She said: “”The attitude towards Muslims has got worse over the year. Also the Muslims’ attitude to British people has got worse.

“Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway. It will take a long time for communities to start mixing in more.

“People may feel I am just a sugar coating on the situation. I am a symbol to show it’s not really that bad.

“I like being in the limelight because people can look at me and see I am a Muslim but good. Most of the people being pinpointed are judged by their outer appearances and people assume because they are Muslim and have a beard they have done something wrong.”

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