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UK foreign policy 'key' to tackling terror, say Muslim advisors

10-11-2005

London,IRNA:

Muslim advisors to the Home Office Thursday put the onus on the British government as well as society as a whole as being responsible for tackling extremism and radicalization in all its forms.

"Most if not all the strands see that the solutions lie in the medium and longer term issues of tackling inequality, discrimination, deprivation and inconsistent government policy," the Muslim working groups said in their final report to the government.

"British foreign policy - especially in the Middle East - cannot be left unconsidered as a factor in the motivations of criminal extremists," they warned.

"We believe it is a key contributory factor," their report added.

The working parties, which were set by Home Secretary Charles Clarke in the aftermath of July's bombings in London, also repeated their joint call for a full judicial inquiry into the attacks.

"Emphasis has also been placed repeatedly on the need to look not only at the events that occurred in those two days in July, but to the causes behind them," their recommendations said.

"The Working Parties are therefore united in calling for a Public Inquiry in order for all the issues to be considered and examined in the public domain.

"The inquiry will be instrumental in understanding and learning from what has happened in order to prevent its reoccurrence," they said.

Their recommendations on 'Working Together to Prevent Extremism' were expressed at a press conference in London, during which Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said that the government welcomed practical proposals.

"Some are already starting to be implemented, while others are new and will now be taken forward in partnership with or by Muslim communities themselves," she said.

During their interim report in August, Clarke temporarily headed off a potential showdown with the Muslim advisors by insisting that the government had not ruled out a fully independent inquiry into the London bombings.

"On the public inquiry, of course there will be an inquiry. There is no question about that," the Home Secretary said at the time. "We are ready to look at it but I want to consult with colleagues in Parliament before we decide what to do in that area," he insisted.

But the only recommendations so far accepted put all the onus on the Muslim community and none on the responsibility of the government to change its policies.

They include the setting up of a National Advisory Council of Imams and Mosques, independent of the government, a National Forum against Extremism and Islamophobia and a country-wide 'roadshow' of influential, populist religious scholars.

Editor of the Muslim News warned Thursday that the selective acceptance of only some of the recommendations by the Home Office "will not work."
"The strategy will not be effective. It diverts any responsibility away from the government to the Muslim community in tackling extremism," Versi said.

"There has been no discussion about such real issues as foreign and domestic policies that are causing alienation among Muslim youths," he told IRNA.

The Muslim News editor further warned that the perception of younger generation Muslims is that the proposals are "government inspired and in effect, will be a waste of time as they do not generate any trust in the community."


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