New Forest East


Rehman Chishti: … It is right that people across the UK came together to show solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this difficult hour. This was a cowardly terrorist attack by the TTP that struck at the youngest and most vulnerable, and it is a reminder that Pakistan remains on the front line against terrorism. God forbid if Pakistan should fall as a front line in fighting terrorism, as the world will become a dark and unsafe place, with suffering affecting each and every part of it. It is important to clarify one thing. The TTP, like many other terrorists, has often been described as “Islamist extremists” or “Islamist terrorists”, thereby linking Islam to them, which is what they want. We should be clear and refer to them and any other terrorists who want to link their evil acts to Islam simply as “terrorists” and “extremists”. That is it. They are terrorists and extremists, and we should not give them the credibility of linking this great religion with their evil acts.

Dr Julian Lewis: May I gently suggest that my hon. Friend might want to go one step further? These extremists never hesitate to call other Muslims with whom they disagree “unIslamic”. Although I see the point of my hon. Friend’s argument that these people are not Islamist and not Islamic, just calling them terrorists and extremists is not quite enough. We need some context, so may I suggest “unIslamic extremists” as a possible denomination for them?

Rehman Chishti: My hon. Friend is an expert on defence matters, and I have great admiration and respect for him. I take on board the point he makes. Everyone around the world wants to make it clear that these individuals are terrorists and extremists. When I comment on these matters on television, I often get e-mails saying I am a non-Muslim myself for calling them terrorists. We know who the terrorists and extremists are in this context.