Birmingham Muslims were applauded for their "strength and dignity" yesterday by the Cabinet Minister in charge of community relations.
But Ruth Kelly condemned as "dangerous nonsense" claims that Britain was becoming a police state, when she spoke at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
Dr Mohammed Naseem, the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, made the claim following a series of dawn raids in the city earlier this month.
Ms Kelly, Communities and Local Government Secretary, was speaking at a conference organised by the British Muslim Forum. It works with about 600 mosques from the Sunni branch of Islam, which a majority of British Muslims belong to.
Ms Kelly said: "I applaud the restraint and dignity shown by the vast majority of Birmingham's Muslim community during recent weeks." But without mentioning Dr Naseem by name, she said: "It helps no one when some people claim the UK is a police state.
"First, it's nonsense. Second, it's dangerous nonsense. It feeds the victim mentality that extremists seek to exploit. It tries to drive a wedge between us."
She also defended West Midlands Police, after meeting local police chiefs before her speech. "I commend their efforts and know how seriously they want to learn the lessons about handling sensitive situations."
Muslims were better placed to fight extremism within the Muslim community than the Government, Ms Kelly said, making a point of praising the efforts of West Midlands Muslims.
"The local community here in the West Midlands has displayed real leadership," she said. "Your voice is more powerful than mine. And ... your actions can be more effective."
It was also essential to fight anti-Muslim feeling on the far right, she added.
"We should never stop striving to bring down the barriers that frustrate people's aspirations: and we must never be complacent about the far right."
The British Muslim Forum was formed after 9/11 and some critics have urged the Government to pay more attention to it, saying it is more representative of British Muslims than the high-profile Muslim Council of Britain.
Her comments were welcomed by the forum's national chair, Khurshid Ahmed.
"She is absolutely right," he said. "Britain is not a police state and the vast majority of the Muslim community do not think that. It is highly inappropriate and irresponsible to say that.
"This is the beginning of an extremely valuable partnership between the Muslim community, other faith communities, public agencies and the Government, allowing us to tackle issues we are all extremely concerned about together."