The Star (January 22) asks ‘Was Eric Pickles right to write to Muslim leaders?’ This refers to the letter sent out by Communities Secretary Mr Pickles to over 1,000 imams and Islamic leaders in which he urged them to do more to tackle Islamist extremism.
He was certainly right to do this but in my opinion the letter didn’t go far enough, as I believe mosques should be regularly searched for inflammatory material which has been used to radicalise many young people by hate preachers such as Abu Hamza who preached his evil dogma from the Finsbury Park Mosque. It would be naive to think that this was the only mosque where radicalisation has taken place.
I would like to point out that schools and many other places have inspections carried out to ensure they are operating correctly so why should this not apply to mosques.
Before I am accused of racism I would consider this action appropriate for all places of worship, no matter what religion, if there is any evidence that suggests extremism is being taught in these premises.
It is encouraging that Sheffield Muslim leaders have welcomed calls from Eric Pickles to tackle extremism across Britain but it appears the British Muslim Council objected to the letter and accused the Government of ‘ratcheting up tensions’ with the ‘implication that extremism takes place at mosques’.
It would seem quite reasonable to me that if British Muslims wish to demonstrate that acts of extremism are not representative of their religion they need to be more vocal in their condemnation of terrorist atrocities that have been carried out in the name of Islam and also the hate clerics responsible for the radicalisation of young Muslims.
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