Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Mohammed Shafiq in the Sunday Times

The ‘hearts and minds’ battle for British Muslims that failed

The government pinned its sights on reform but the taskforce it set up says it has been let down, writes Jon Ungoed-Thomas
In an Oldham mosque Mohammed Shafiq, a worker for an educational foundation, recently stood before the devotees and made a heartfelt plea. Young Muslims, he said, should confront violent extremism in the heart of their community.

This battle, according to Shafiq, starts with an acknowledgment. “We have to recognise that within the Muslim community there is a small number of people who are hellbent on committing mass murder,” he said. “9/11 was not a Jewish conspiracy and Tony Blair was not behind the July 7 attacks. There are people in our community who want to kill innocent people.”

It is a stark message and Shafiq, who works for the Ramadhan Foundation, which aims to improve the education of young Muslims, admits that genuine change in the Muslim community could take a long time.

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