LIDINGTON: Donald Trump comments are nasty, crass and ignorant

Open day at Aylesbury Mosque - pictured is David Lidington MP
Open day at Aylesbury Mosque - pictured is David Lidington MP

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a constituency sports event where a lot of money was being raised for charity.

I was struck by the mix of people there. Black, white, Asian, Christian and Muslim: everyone was mingling happily and enjoying an evening out.

Now in one sense I wasn’t surprised. After all, this is what you expect to see in Aylesbury. It’s part of life here.

The nasty, crass and ignorant comments by Donald Trump about Muslims deserved the criticism that they have provoked.

Terrorism is a threat to us all.

Daesh has murdered and oppressed more Muslims than people of any other faith.

If Mr Trump came to the Aylesbury mosque, he would meet people who are both devout Muslims and proud of being British.

They would tell him, as they tell me, that they regard the terrorists and extremists with horror and disgust, and as people who’ve betrayed and perverted Islam.

In Aylesbury prison, Muslim chaplains confront extremist doctrine head-on, challenging prisoners and quoting the Quran and the Hadith in their support.

In Aylesbury’s schools, teachers and pupils explore different religions in a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect.

In local business, sport, and voluntary groups, people of different faiths and backgrounds find common purpose.

But building a shared sense of community doesn’t just happen.

Long-time residents feel uneasy about the arrival of people with a different language, religion or culture. They see their town

changing. The new arrivals feel nervous. Sometimes struggling to adapt to the country and the local area which they must learn to call home.

So the good record that we’ve built up in Aylesbury for community relations is something that we should take pride in, but never take for granted.

All of us have a responsibility to help build a genuinely shared society.