Campaigners seek new policies to regain trust of Muslim community

Peace campaigners reiterated calls for a reverse of Britain’s warmongering foreign policy on Wednesday after ministers boasted about a new £5 million initiative to fight so-called Muslim extremism.

Ministers unveiled plans to allocate £5 million to local authorities in the fight against extremism as part of what Prime Minister Tony Blair has called a “radical and head-on” confrontation. Despite failures in Iraq and calls for him to step down, Mr Blair stubbornly declared his determination on Tuesday to “stand up” to Islamist extremism at home and abroad.

But Muslim Parliament of Great Britain deputy leader Jaffer Clarke dismissed the initiative as “unfocused, unworkable” and far from what the Muslim community needs, which is an end to wars in the Middle East and a new direction in foreign policy.

A Respect coalition spokesman called the move “mere window dressing, given that the government is demonising Muslims daily.” He said that, if ministers were sincere about “fighting Muslim extremism,” they should “reverse the foreign policy alliance with US President George W Bush.”

Morning Star, 8 February 2007

See also the Guardian which reports that “there is concern in the Muslim community that the government is marginalising groups which represent large parts of the community, such as the Muslim Council of Britain. Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said it was puzzled by some of the remedies for extremism presented by the government: ‘The overwhelming majority of Muslim organisations are the solution, not the problem’.”

Guardian, 8 February 2007