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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

British Muslims: Using 7/7 to Promote Islam

In the wake of the 7/7 tube bombings, the British Home Office asked the British Muslim community to come up with a report containing ideas to contain extremism among British Muslims.

The report was issued a couple of weeks ago, and many of the recommendations seem more oriented towards proselytizing and promoting Islam in the UK rather than containing extremism. Not surprisingly, the Muslims who wrote the report seem to spend more time blaming the British for creating an environment that somehow forces Muslims to become terrorists than the terrorists themselves.

The (British) Asian News site has details. Notice how the "moderate" writers of this report take for granted that Palestinian suicide bombings against Jews are not terrorism and are justified, as well as the myth of al-Dura being factual:
The introduction to the report, for example, states: "Emphasis has also been placed repeatedly on the need to look not only at the events that occurred on those two days in July, but to the causes behind them."

In the section on security the working group is openly critical of legislation presented by the Blair government as a means of 'saving' the public from future suicide bombers. They warn in this section: "One cannot ignore the effect of successive UK Governments’ foreign policies........neither can Islamophobic attitudes, still largely prevalent in British educational institutions, much of them based on mythical paradigms of Islam and Muslims cultivated by orientalists over many centuries, be considered irrelevant to the issue."

This same group sound a grave warning on proposals to make "inciting, justifying or glorifying terrorism" a criminal offence. Does this mean, they ask, that UK Muslims who publicly support Palestinians who attack the state of Israel for occupying their land, will be arrested for justifying terrorism, indeed, under such new laws, would Cherie Blair have run the risk of charges when she was shown on television stating she could understand what motivated suicide bombers after witnessing a young Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli soldiers as his desperate father attempted to shield him?

Other working parties suggested a series of reforms aimed at tackling violent extremist attitudes and boosting the image and knowledge of Islam in Britain.
A raft or reforms are proposed to improve the profile of UK imams and mosques. They amount to a regularisation of the Islamic clergy rather along the lines of the structure and training of the Church of England priesthood.
They want to see national advisory council of mosques made up of influential imams and Islamic thinkers representing the many traditions in the faith.
This would give guidance on training and practices in and around mosque.
A National Islamic Resources Centre is another suggestion. This is seen as a powerhouse for developing more affective training within the Muslim community and could also spearhead a campaign to improve the knowledge of Islam in mainstream schools.
There is also a proposal for forming similar centres in areas with a significant Muslim community including Manchester. They would be come a cultural hub for mosques and Muslims as well as representatives of other faiths.
For existing imams there would be professional development programs to keep them 'up to scratch'. Home grown imams would be encouraged as opposed to the present practice of bringing them in from the Indian sub-continent.
In order to win especially young Muslims from extremist, and to educate the non-Muslim population on the values of Islam, a travelling 'roadshow' of international Islamic scholars is suggested. They could tour the country staging conferences and seminars on the faith.
The report also suggests that a British Muslim toolkit could be established to help Islamic societies, mosques, parents and youth on how to develop in the faith.
The working party on education highlights what it calls the "gaping hole" in the national schools curriculum on the contribution of Islam to European civilization. One of the ways to remedy this, says their report, would be to create an Islamic way of life exhibition to tour schools.
On a national level the report wants to see an Islamic media unit, similar to the one that exists in the Foreign Office, created in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This could disseminate positive information about Islam and counter, what it sees as the general negative reporting, especially in tabloid newspapers.
The proposals have been welcomed by Home Office minister Hazel Blears, but even if they are implemented, will they alone be able to overcome the rising anger in the Muslim world over perceived violent injustice against Islamic nations which began with the first Zionist land grab in Palestine and continues with the occupation of Iraq? Time will tell.
So not only does the British Muslim community completely abdicate any soul-searching for the existence of terrorists in their midst, not only do they continue to justify terror against Jews as being perfectly acceptable when writing a report to their own government, but they blame the British for how their terrorists act and cynically use a terror attack as a springboard to increase the influence of Islam in the UK!