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January 23, 2008
Government using Muslim women as informers in its campaign against extremism, says Muslim News
The Muslim News Wednesday criticized the Community Secretary Hazel Blears for attempting to co-opt Muslim women as virtual informers in its misguided campaign against radicalization as opposed to addressing the problems they face through discrimination such as high rates of unemployment.
“It is important to empower women to play a greater role in the public life, regardless of their religious persuasion, but the Government seems only intent in focusing on Muslim women to tackle extremism,” The Muslim News Editor Ahmed J Versi said.
The initiative to improve the opportunities available to Muslim women is being centred on security and will include how to spy on their fellow Muslims, especially youth, Versi said. “As such, there will be very little support in the community and those involved in this project would lose credibility. Projects should be used to help community cohesions but instead this would divide the community,” he said.
In a speech Wednesday, Blears argued that the reason for empowering Muslim women is because “they have a unique viewpoint on the challenges faced by the communities they live in” and therefore “have a unique role to play in tackling the spread of violent extremism.”
The Muslim News Editor warned that the Government appeared to have learnt little from their past mistakes. Previous and current projects tackling extremism had gained virtually no widespread support having being set up with selected individuals and organizations, many newly created.
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