UK Builds Muslim Role Models

The British government is funding a new project to teach home-gown imams to become role models for the younger generations and encourage Muslim students to undertake joint projects with non-Muslim children.

UK Builds Muslim Role Models

The British government is funding anew project to teach home-gown imams to become role models for the youngergenerations and encourage Muslim students to undertake joint projects withnon-Muslim children, The Sunday Telegraph reported on April 1.

"We need to support people in buildingcommunities where extremism is resolutely isolated, and where all doors areshut to those who seek division and violence," Communities and LocalGovernment Secretary Ruth Kelly is to say in a speech scheduled for Thursday, April5.

"While the threat is real and serious, it is asmall minority who spread hatred and intolerance. We need a new alliance andstrengthened unity of purpose to defeat them," she will say.

Under the £6 million "hearts and minds"plan, home-grown imams will be given "civic leadership" courses inuniversities and colleges.

The courses will teach imams how to be role modelsfor the younger generations and how to face radicals and extremists.

The plan also provides for holding more forums andseminars against extremism to raise the awareness of vulnerable Muslims.

"You have got to be able to energize the silentmajority in a community so they don't have any truck with any of this extremistnonsense," a source inside Kelly's department told the Telegraph.

A Whitehall sourcetold The Times that the new plan is aimed at making Britainself-sufficient with its own imams.

"We are still getting a lot of imams comingfrom abroad. We need more home-grown ones. The hope is that if they have beenborn and brought up here, they may be more moderate and help isolateextremism," he said.

The British government says the new plans are partof an effort to clamp down on Muslim extremists and avoid another London bombing, thatclaimed the lives of 56 people including four Muslim bombers.

Several European countries, including the Netherlands and Germany, have recently introducedtraining programs and teaching courses to groom home-grown imams.

Muslim Schools

Kelly's new plan is also eying British Muslim schoolstudents.

Under the plan, Muslim students will be encouragedto undertake joint projects, such as music and drama, with non-Muslim children,the Telegraph said.

The students could go on trips together, spend daysin each other's classrooms and mingle at sports events or after-school clubs.

In February, the government announced a plan tobuild multi-faith academies to promote multiculturalism and religioustolerance.

In November, Britain unveiled new guidelines totackle what the government described as Islamic extremism in universities.

The rules, drafted by Higher Education Minister BillRammell, suggest how staff should react if they suspected groups werecirculating extremist literature to students or fear radical speakers werecoming to campus.

An earlier Education Ministry document had askedlecturers and university staff to spy on Muslim students on suspiciousinvolvement in "extremist" activities.


Under the new plan, mainstream British Muslimorganizations will be sidelined, The Times reported.

Kelly will say that efforts to tackle extremism canno longer rely on work with organizations such as the Muslim Council of Britain(MCB).

The MCB is a self-funded voluntary organization thathas within its folds about 450 affiliates from across the United Kingdom.

The council has within its fold the largest nationalIslamic bodies in the UKsuch as the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), Islamic ForumEurope, Islamic Society of Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain and theUnited Kingdom Islamic Mission.

MCB Deputy Secretary General Daud Abdullah in a recent interview that the honeymoon with the government wasover not because of the 7/7 terrorist bombing but rather because of criticismfor British foreign policy and the Iraq war.

He believes his group is paying political price forits stances.

In an earlier interview with IOL, MCB SecretaryGeneral Muhammad Abdul Bari said the Blair government is marginalizing majorMuslim organizations for the sake of unrepresentative bodies and individuals.

British experts have accused the government ofpursuing diplomatic double-talk with minority leaders, especially thoserepresenting the Muslim minority.

They insist the government has failed to practicethe social harmony and integration its officials are preaching in the meetingrooms of Whitehall.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16