You literally cannot be both a Muslim and a murderer, Sajid Javid, a cabinet minister in the Theresa May government, said on Monday.
His remarks, made at an event to honour achievers in Britain’s Muslim community, came even as Scotland Yard continues to probe last week’s Westminster attack carried out by Khalid Masood.
Javid is the communities secretary and held the portfolio of business, innovation and skills in the David Cameron government, when he was closely involved in the Tata group’s plans to sell its assets in the UK.
Speaking at the Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2017, established by Muslim News publication, Javid said those who attack and kill in the name of Islam had no right to do so.
“I’m no religious scholar. Many years have passed since I studied the Quran as a child. But even I know it offers no justification for what happened in Paris, or for the kind of indiscriminate slaughter that came to Westminster last week,” he said.
“You literally cannot be both a Muslim and a murderer. Nor do the views and actions of the extremists have anything in common with our daily lives…Yet we can’t deny that these people think they are Muslims. They identify as Muslims. They genuinely believe they are acting for the glory of Islam.”
Javid said events such as the one honouring Muslim achievers showed that extremists had failed and that they did not speak for British Muslims.
Muslim achievers, he said, showed “they (extremists) represent nobody but their sad, twisted selves. The extremists want to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims...They want us to turn on each other,” he said.
“So just imagine how it must anger them when they see Muslims playing such a positive role in this great nation. How it must stick in their craw when they see us celebrating what we do for the country we love. They will hate this event because it shows, once again, that they have failed.”
Noting that the individuals honoured had their roots in immigration, Javid said the values of their parents and grandparents — such as hard work, honesty, integrity and a determination to do good — will help Britain’s Muslim community “through stormy seas”. He ended the speech by declaring: “Proud to be British. And proud to be Muslim.”