Representatives say Israeli government’s use of “disproportionate force” has “revived extremist groups”.

Anger within Britain’s Muslim communities over the Gaza conflict has reached “acute levels of intensity” that could have repercussions for national security, leading Muslims will warn Gordon Brown today. In a letter to the prime minister, representatives of Muslim organizations will say the Israeli government’s use of “disproportionate force” to combat threats to its security has “revived extremist groups” and “empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict”.

The letter, a copy of which can be read on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, also says that the “current, partisan and simplified narrative” emanating from the White House is of “serious and direct harm” to relations between the UK, North America and Arab countries. Among the signatories are Dr. Usama Hasan, imam of Al-Tawhid mosque, London, Dilwar Hussain, head of the policy research center at the Islamic Foundation, Zareen Roohi Ahmed from the British Muslim Forum and Ed Husain, co-director of the anti-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation. All are active in tackling extremism in the UK and overseas. They say it is imperative for the UK to distance itself from the Bush government.

The letter goes on: “We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its approach and to ensure the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction. We also believe the UK – bilaterally and as part of the EU – has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behavior has been perilously transgressed.” The letter adds: “As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government’s use of disproportionate force …has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process.”

Their intervention follows a meeting on Tuesday between Bill Rammell, foreign and commonwealth affairs minister, and 30 people drawn from Muslim organizations such as the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Society of Britain.

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