Nearly 60 imams and leaders of Muslim organisations have signed an open letter to the government accusing it of criminalising Islam.
They say that the “terror threat” is being exploited for political capital in the run-up to the general election.
Signatories include ex-journalist Yvonne Ridley, former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg and members of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
The umbrella body, the Muslim Council of Britain, has not signed the letter.
The open letter accuses the government of trying to deflect attention from crises in the economy and health service, while trying to silence criticism of foreign policy.
The 58 signatories criticise the “demonisation of Muslims in Britain …. despite their disavowal of violence and never having supported terrorist acts”.
The letter reads: “The expedient use of undefined and politically charged words like ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’ is unacceptable as it criminalises legitimate political discourse.”
As well as imams, the signatories include advocates, activists, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies.