Following the terrorist shootings in Paris this week, Sajjad spoke with Philippa Thomas on the BBC World New Tonight programme.
In the interview he commented on the reaction of Europeans to these atrocities and proposals that will be put in place by the European Union and its member states:
“First of all of our thoughts are with the victims and their families in this tragic situation they are having to face. So far as reactions are concerned I am very pleased to see that rather than divide on this Europeans across the EU, whether in France, Germany, Italy, Spain or the United Kingdom, have decide to come together in a sign of unity.
For many years now there has been a real feeling among Muslim people that their view about such things simply doesn’t get out to the wider media. For far too long it has been those that have been willing to give expressions of extremism who have been given the majority of airtime, sometimes to the absolute exclusion of the vast majority of Muslims who are contributing members of European and British society, who are people building on the core fabric that gels us all together.
Here we have a clear demonstration of a terrorist attack carried out in France but yet in the last 24 hours we see extremist politicians, people like Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, and Nigel Farage have been trying to say that this is down to immigration, the diversity of Europe and that is simply not the case. All of their representations are adding to anti-Islamic sentiments being expressed in some European cities- in Germany and in Sweden there have been attacks on mosques. So this is a time to stand as one and be united. The European people have chosen this as our direction rather than to divide in the way that some extremist would want us to.
It is essential that we don’t lose sight of the fact that this is not the first time we have suffered such an atrocity. I remember very clearly after the London Underground bombing we had a coming together throughout the United Kingdom and that is exactly what we have seen in France today.
It is important that those voices on the extremes who are trying to identify the Islamic communities of Europe as being responsible for this or saying that it is down to multi-culturalism as Nigel Farage did in the UK or trying to say it is down to immigration as Farage, Le Pen and Wilders have done. They need to recognise the fact that the perpetrators who we are seeking at this time are French born and raised in France.
It is essential that all of us come together and deal with this in terms of the reality rather than the poison being spouted by the extremes. Indeed, that is the very reaction that those extremist that carried out this atrocity want European to go down and we refuse to do that.
There are a number of measures that need to be put in place and today at European Union level we did make an announce that we will come forward very quickly with a new set of proposals as to how we can better ensure our member states are working much more closely together on sharing intelligence that we have.
We do have a very real problem of large numbers of European citizens who are making their way to places like Syria, Iraq and even Libya, in order to partake in activities in those places and if and when they return to Europe they don’t come back empty handed. They come back with knowledge that they have gained while they have been out there and they pose a very real danger to us. We need to have a policy in place right across the European Union that allows us to monitor and track those people and also to share intelligence in relation to them and where possible and necessary stop them from leaving their member state or indeed from having free movement.: