The British government plans to take some controversial measures that would influence the affairs of Islamic institutions and mosques under what authorities describe as a new program aimed at rooting out "extremism".
Speaking at the Muslim Cultural Center, a mosque west of London, Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said that imams working in government hospitals and prisons would be required to meet certain criteria, including good grasp of English.
The government also plans to offer financial benefits to mosques that registered as charities and showed that they are willing to take a stand against extremism, she added.
When asked how the government would set criteria for Muslim imams who work in government institutions, Kelly said her department would start giving them "leadership and communication skills."
In order for Muslim preachers to be employed in government hospitals, colleges and prisons, they would have to meet this "framework of standards," she said.
Kelly, who is leading the government's efforts to win over "disaffected Muslims", also said that said she was determined to "isolate and push out a tiny minority who spread hatred and intolerance."
The government would do this by emphasizing the need for Muslim immigrants to be British as well as Muslim, and by regulating Muslim religious affairs – something that raises concerns in Britain over the authorities' interference in religion.
Some mosques and imams signed an open letter organized by the government in support of Kelly's program.
But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the UK's largest Islamic group, declined to sign the open letter.
The MCB argues that the government needs to also recognize the impact of some of its own policies, domestic and foreign, in contributing to the spread of extremist ideas.
"To say to us you're not playing your role can be very demoralizing," said Ibrahim Mogra, chairman of the council's interfaith relations committee.
Many of Britain's 1.7 million Muslims have complained of being unfairly targeted by the police after the 2005 bomb attacks on London's transport systems.
After 7/7, government-appointed committees with Muslim members were charged with creating programs to combat extremism, but not all their recommendations were accepted.
British Muslim leaders warn that the government's approach to tackling extremists includes controversial measures such as racial and religious profiling of Muslims that could backfire and hamper efforts to integrate them into the British society, something the government has long claimed it's trying to avoid.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16