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'Young Muslims And Extremism'

The Leaked Report: Censored By The Media

Part 2 Policy Recommendations: Co-opting Muslim Leaders

Back to Part 1



It is interesting, in the light of the Prime Minister's new ideology-centred programme, that action against 'radical preachers' and ideologists is a long way down the list of actions, and that it appears to consist of 'Ensur[ing that] arrests and searches under the new powers are evidence-based, intelligence-led and proportionate'.

There is no (explicit) mention of deportations here, though Number 10 would probably try to interpret 'taking necessary enforcement action' in that light. This seems unlikely to have been the original intention (notice the detail in which other policy proposals are spelled out, in contrast).

What follows are excerpts from the report.


Key Actions, which will assist in tackling extremism among Muslim youth:

Improving our understanding of the extent and causes of extremism among young Muslims

l. Conduct focus groups with young Muslims, exploring their views on key aspects of foreign and domestic policy, interpretations of Islam, and the compatibility of being,British and Muslim. Focus groups to be drawn from a range of educational, economic and ethnic backgrounds

2. In light of focus groups, if needed, commission a more detailed and scientific study of Muslim opinions and experiences, to include older generations and some comparison with other faith groups to put the views of Muslims in context

3. Commission from the police service a survey of disaffection and extremist activity in schools and colleges in key selected areas.

4. Role of the National Community Tensions Team in helping Government to remain informed about levels of disaffection and extremism

Combating the recruitment of young British Muslims by terrorist organisations

1. Undertake research to extensively map the "Terrorist Career Path", including changes in opinions held, changes in associates or membership of organisations, and specific actions taken by individuals on the path from law-abiding citizen to terrorist .

2. On the basis of this research, develop a comprehensive Interventions Strategy, to enable us to intervene at key trigger points to prevent young Muslims from becoming drawn into extremist and terrorist activity and action.

3. Our work in this area will be focussed on finding local community based interventions, with support for faith, voluntary and community organisations from [N]GOs, local authorities and central government as appropriate.

Combating Islamophobia

1. Prepare and circulate to Departments advice on Muslim sensitivities and appropriate non-inflammatory terminology to be used in referring to Muslim issues .

2. Prepare communications plan aimed at combating distorted public and media perceptions of Islam and Muslims. Collaboration on this with moderate Muslim bodies, including student bodies, will further assist Government/Muslim relations.

3. Build capacity amongst information services like MCB Direct, in providing accurate representation for mainstream Islam (i .e. representatives and experts) in the mainstream media.

4. Encourage, assist and promote mainstream Muslim communication channels, i.e. radio stations, newspapers aimed at British Muslims, and television channels. Many of these are set up during a fixed time of the year (Ramadhan), and do not have the capacity to run a full-time set-up. This is what HMG has promoted in the Islamic world. That expertise can be utilised domestically.

Dialogue with young Muslims and building leadership capacity

1. Projection of British Muslim youth as role models for overseas audiences (e.g. sending delegations of British Muslim youth to `represent' Britain, signalling UK's pride in its Muslim youth.), and encouraging young moderate Muslims to become spokespersons for foreign media e.g. digital television.

2. Expand and deepen dialogue with young Muslims on non-traditional foreign policy areas of concern to Muslims, e.g. development (follow-up to UNDP Arab Development Report), globalisation, human rights, etc.

3. European dimension. Enable British Muslim youth to discuss mainstream/European Islam with EU counterparts, as well as how to tackle extremism internally within the European Muslim community.

4. Encourage Muslim youth to take part in local and national youth parliaments (the Bradford Youth Parliament recently visited by Mr O'Brien being a successful model of Muslim teenagers taking part in wider political engagement) .

5. Strengthen the hand of moderate student and youth organisations (such as the UMS and FOSIS), and of moderates within such organisations, by:

> continuing to offer Ministerial speakers for meetings and debates on foreign and domestic issues ofconcern to Muslims.

> inviting moderate Muslim youth representatives to participate in consultative discussions with departments on specific issues.

6. Audit government and other publicly funded community capacity building funding to assess the extent to which funds are reaching Muslim organisations and especially those for young Muslims. If necessary, advise Ministers on ways of channelling more funding to this need.

Reaching out to underachievers

1 . Work with DFES, DWP and DWP [sic] to address Muslim disadvantage and reduce social exclusion

2. Ongoing work with the Prison Service to develop a programme of measures to ensure young British Muslims do not leave prisons alienated and radicalised, and holding extremist views.

Responding to Muslim concerns about the use of anti-terrorist powers

1. Identify key individuals preaching extremism and recruiting to the cause and take necessary enforcement action.

2. Ensure arrests and searches under the new powers are evidence-based, intelligence-led and proportionate.

3. Engage Muslim community in a dialogue over the use of the powers

4. Provide feedback to Muslim community on reasons for, and outcomes of, arrests and searches under the new powers

Responding to other Muslim concerns

Show that HMG is addressing Muslim concerns, including youth concerns, by:

1. highlighting consular assistance given to British Muslim students/youth in legal difficulty abroad including those accused of affiliation to extremist bodies (e.g. the HT students in Egypt) and in relation to the Hajj, to dispel the claim of double standards

2. reviewing the scope for meeting Muslim concerns identified during public seminars with mosque representatives earlier this year, and publicising any resulting changes in policy. (Issues include family law, animal slaughter and faith in education.)

3. raising awareness among young Muslims of the current and forthcoming legal protections against religiously aggravated offences and religious discrimination in employment

4. making pump priming funding available to the Muslim Safety Forum

Promoting mainstream Islam

l. Bring about the development and provision of subsidised training, upskilling and qualifications for home-grown Islamic faith leaders. Training to focus on pastoral, community leadership and management skills. Action in hand, by Learning and Skills Council and Home Office (with FCO involvement) . Subsequent roll-out of LSC-subsidised courses

2. Raise the standards required from ministers of religion including Imams seeking admission and extension of stay. Package to include immediate English language requirement. Religious qualification requirements and civic engagement tests to follow after consultation, in stages during 2004/5.

3. Assist mainstream organisations to promote the many UK-based courses on Arabic and theology, taking away the need for Muslim youth to travel to seminaries in the Islamic world, many of which preach extremist doctrines. Encourage mainstream organisations to put their material on the web.

4. Seek opportunities through Government engagement and recognition, to promote awareness of moderate scholars with followings amongst young Muslims, such as Imam Hamza Yusuf and Imam Suhaib Webb.

5. Strengthen moderate Muslim media organisations (radio stations and publications, such as MCB Direct, e.g. by giving them stories and interviews.

Remedying the exclusion of Muslims from Public life

More work is needed on promoting Muslim representation in public life. Any feeling that Muslim voices are not heard in places of influence is helpful to extremism. The Home Office should consider what more could be done, and report conclusions.



Policy objectives include persuading young Muslims that they can be Muslim and British, and that Islam is not regarded with hostility. In this context the term `Islamic fundamentalism' is unhelpful and should be avoided, because some perfectly moderate Muslims are likely to perceive it as a negative comment on their own approach to their faith.



This page last updated 14 July 2005






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