The Government reacts tetchily to suggestions that British foreign policy has anything to do with the rise in radicalism among young Muslims.
When Muslim leaders wrote an open letter a fortnight ago suggesting just that, Foreign Office minister Kim Howells and Home Secretary John Reid fell over one another to condemn the comments as “irrational” and ” facile”. The Communities minister, Phil Woolas, has taken up the baton at Bolton Wanderers Football Club, dismissing a young Muslim woman’s views as “a load of crap”.
Woolas, launching the Government’s “tackling extremism” roadshow, got into a heated 10-minute discussion with Komal Adris, 27, there on behalf of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. “I told him that foreign policy was a real concern of mine,” explains Adris. “He suggested I had an extremist view and my concerns were illegitimate. I accused him of patronising me.”
Civil servants tried to usher Woolas away – to no avail. The minister snapped: “That’s a load of crap,” before walking off.