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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 7 Jun 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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British Imams Unveil ‘Action Plan’ To Combat Terrorism


By Kaya Burgess

June 7 2017

Imam and other religious leaders gather on London Bridge today to condemn Saturday’s terrorist attacks

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More than a hundred Imams from around the UK gathered on London Bridge today to lay flowers and issue an action plan which sets out steps mosques can take to ensure “no other Muslims fall into the trap” of extremism.

They travelled into London by bus and congregated at the site of Saturday’s terrorist attacks. There they were greeted by applause from members of the public who had come to pay their respects to those killed and injured.

The Imams condemned the attack, citing passages from the Quran that forbid murder and extremism, and offered their condolences to bereaved families. “We often hear that Muslims must do more than just condemn violence,” said Qari Asim, a senior Imam at the Makkah mosque in Leeds and a prominent Muslim scholar, representing the British Muslim Forum. “We recognise that.”

He introduced Hassan Rabbani, an Imam based in Edinburgh who set out, in a strong Scottish accent, a four-point plan for British mosques endorsed by 500 Imams from around the UK, starting with the words: “Enough is enough. What more can we do?”

It includes calls for mosques to do more to ensure that parents and teachers in their congregations are aware of the dangers posed on the internet, which provides “safe spaces for extremists to peddle, develop and propagate their messages of hate”.

The document states: “We need to ensure that parents, teachers, mosque leaders are well aware of these dangers and work to safeguard their children. The grooming of young people into a world of hate, violence and bloodshed that takes place online is a growing and real challenge, and we must work together in finding ways of countering this evil.”

It sets out three beliefs that must be combated: that it is “sinful” to participate in the democratic process; that people “must work to establish an Islamic state or support a so-called Islamic State”; and that it is a form of “betrayal” to assist the British authorities. “We will robustly and precisely show that these and other such divisive narratives are wrong so no other Muslims fall into the trap of this evil ideology of hate.”

The action plan calls on mosques to do more to engage with their local communities, not just on open days, to foster “long-standing relationships with our neighbours”.

It adds: “As British Imams [and] religious leaders we are committed to our shared values and say categorically that there is no incompatibility between the teachings of our faith Islam and the general principles of British values of freedom, democracy and human rights. Our Imams today recommit to preaching, teaching and presenting these values to their congregations across the land. We are unequivocally clear, that we will not tolerate any expressions of extremism in the name of Islam.”

Dr Asim called on British Imams and Muslim scholars to build “a robust theological counter-narrative” to combat the distorted version of Islam propagated by Isis.

The Imams were joined by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, the Senior Rabbi with Reform Judaism; by the Right Rev John Sherrington, the Catholic Bishop of Westminster; and by the Right Rev Christopher Chessun, Anglican Bishop of Southwark.

Source: thetimes.co.uk/article/british-Imams-unveil-action-plan-to-combat-terrorism-jrssgzhk7

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Point By Point: The British Muslim Forum ‘Action Plan’

British Muslim Forum

June 7 2017

Statement from the British Muslim Forum, endorsed by 500 Imams from mosques around the UK:

Enough is enough – what more can we do? Today, we the Imams of the British Muslim Forum representing hundreds of mosques from around the UK come together to commit to a four-stage action plan. We will:

1) Develop a confident British Muslim identity. As British Imams, religious leaders we are committed to our shared values and say categorically that there is NO incompatibility between the teachings of our faith Islam and the general principles of British values of freedom, democracy and human rights. Our Imams today recommit to preaching, teaching and presenting these values to their congregations across the land. We are unequivocally clear, that we will not tolerate any expressions of extremism in the name of Islam. We have already provided the correct theological narrative in this regard through our thesis ‘I am a British Muslim; My rights and responsibilities’. We will continue to further this positive perspective of Islam in Britain, our shared values and citizenship.

2) Build theological resilience. Our mosques and madrasahs teach the core tenets of the faith, the fundamental principles of equality, love, and peace, but we have a new developing challenge. In challenging the assertions that the extremists are peddling; such as participating in the democratic process is sinful, that people must work to establish an Islamic state or support a so-called ‘Islamic State’, that it is a betrayal to assist and support the British authorities – we will robustly and precisely show that these and other such divisive narratives are wrong so no other Muslims fall into the trap of this evil ideology of hate. In this regard, our publication ‘ISIS: State of Ignorance’ provides the basis of theologically challenging this narrative.

3) Internet safety. The Prime Minister was right, the internet gives safe spaces for extremists to peddle, develop and propagate their messages of hate. We need to ensure that parents, teachers, mosque leaders are well aware of these dangers and work to safeguard their children. The grooming of young people into a world of hate, violence and bloodshed that takes place online is a growing and real challenge, and we must work together in finding ways of countering this evil.

4) Increase community confidence. Mosques are safe places of worship and we must ensure that they remain so. As a British people we need to embrace each other’s sacred places and show that there are not any “no-go areas”. Interfaith dialogue needs to translate into interfaith action so those that wish to sow divisions can see that we are supporting each other’s battles. Engagement should not be limited to “open days” but we foster longstanding firm relationships with our neighbours and local communities. Our Imams and mosques will work to build these bridges in communities across this nation.

In the end, we are here to send out our strong message that we stand together with the British people and we are committed to playing our part in building a better future for all of us.

Thank you.

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[I also note that the Guardian today reports a fivefold increase in "hate crimes" attributed to Islamophobia in reaction to the latest London attack.  This is likely to be of short endurance, but is none the less worrying.   An aim of terrorism is to incite hatred between communities. - Alan ]

Source: thetimes.co.uk/article/point-by-point-the-british-muslim-forum-action-plan-ww50cq530

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-jihad/british-imams-unveil-action-plan/d/111459


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