Britain must not let the "evil" of Islamic terrorism win, CBI director general Sir Digby Jones has warned.
But he also launched an impassioned plea to the people of Birmingham to defend the Muslim community in its midst.
Speaking ahead of yesterday's Birmingham Law Society International Legal Symposium at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Sir Digby said the city's success had been built on being an open city ? liberal and tolerant.
Birmingham welcomed anyone from anywhere in the world so long as they were prepared to work hard.
People only had to look at what Birmingham's Jewish sector had achieved, he said.
"Today we are seeing another wave of immigration," said Sir Digby. "But it is not much fun to be a Muslim in the UK today.
"Yet 99 per cent of Muslims in Britain want to worship their God in peace."
Neither did they desire to "inflict" that religion on anybody else.
They simply wanted to bring up their family, earn a living and do the best for their city.
The indigenous residents of Birmingham had to "stand up" for those from India, Pakistan, Bangledesh and indeed the West Indies.
The deal was that immigrants to Birmingham should be willing to work, learn to speak English and pay their taxes. In return they got protection and access to benefits such as free healthcare.
Birmingham as a city would be wealthier as a result, he added.
He told Birmingham's leaders, business community and grandees: "If you let evil win ? those who try and hijack the honourable religion of Islam and turn it into something that 99 per cent of Muslim's don't want ? then you will let this great city down.
"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."
His comments came as took a savage swipe at the European Union, branding it as "racist" and increasingly protectionist.
Citing Austria's reluctance to counternance the future membership of Turkey, and both last summer's "Bra Wars" row over importation of Chinese clothing along with the current looming impasse over plastic bags and shoes, he charged: "If Europe is heading down a protectionist, racist route, then this country has a problem - because we don't live our lives like that."
Britain and Birmingham stood for free trade, thriving on competition and that was why Britain had the greatest number of different car companies manufacturing here, why Nissan at Sunderland was the most productive car plant in the world, why Ford's most productive factory was at Halewood in Liverpool, and why one in four Ford engines was built in the UK.
Scoffing at how the French had turned even yoghurt-making into a supposedly vital national industry, he said Europe was slipping into protectionism that Britain would "never subscribe to".
And it was being backed by the "cheat, lie and fudge" attitude of Brussels.
Effectively a battle was going on for the future direction of Europe between the northern beer loving countries and the southern wine drinkers.
The wine drinkers must not be victorious, he insisted.