Muslim leaders ‘failing to tackle extremists’

Muslim leaders have been criticised by a University of Oxford academic for not doing enough to tackle extremists. Nick Chatrath, a researcher at Oxford’s Faculty of Oriental Studies, claims in a paper to be published this week that in the face of growing radicalisation in Britain, Muslim leaders are ignoring extremists’ points of view and glossing over some of the more unsavoury parts of Islam’s ancient texts.

In an essay in next month’s Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Mr Chatrath called for a more open engagement by moderate Muslims with the arguments of extremists.

Based on interviews with Anjem Choudary, of the banned extremist group Islam4UK, and Dr Musharraf Hussain, an adviser to the Muslim Council of Britain, Mr Chatrath said: “Moderate Muslim leaders are doing a poor job of tackling extremism in Britain.” He said that extremists such as Mr Choudary, who has argued that democracy should be replaced with obedience to Allah, were using the Koran and other ancient texts to justify their actions. He called on moderate community leaders to do more to counter this.

“This attitude must change, as the best way to extinguish extremist arguments is to deal with them out in the open, not just sweep them under the carpet and hope for the best,” he said. “Some recent polls suggest ordinary British Muslims are becoming more sympathetic to extremists, and this could be related to the way moderate Muslims are ignoring the extremist threat.”

Times, 30 March 2010

See also Jihad Watch, 30 March 2010