29 November 2017
In a speech to the UK Security Expo today, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain will call for a new conversation on counter-terrorism between the government and Muslim communities. In his speech, Harun Khan will say: “Muslims are ready, able and willing to work with all partners to challenge terrorism.” He argues how Muslims have been at the forefront reporting suspicious activity and taking the poison out of the message of terrorists. “British Muslims have been at the forefront in speaking out against terrorism, and reporting suspicious activity to the police. This is borne out by the figures. The Manchester bomber was already reported by local Muslims.”
“So, I would argue that there is certainly clear blue water between the vast majority of Muslims and these criminals.”
While Muslim communities were willing and able to work with the authorities in calling out and challenging terrorism, Harun Khan identified the major stumbling blocks for deeper cooperation, chief amongst these being the government’s Prevent strategy:
“Prevent is stopping the government and its agencies from engaging, as equal citizens, with all sections of the Muslim community, the majority of whom want to cooperate in challenging terrorism.”
“Prevent needlessly holds the UK’s counter-terror strategy hostage — between those Muslims wanting to help and those fervent ideologues of Prevent who are not even willing to countenance an independent review of the strategy.”
Harun Khan also identified challenges for the Muslim community to overcome:
“The allure of extremism is found outside the mosque and on the fringes of society. Clearly a handful of young people refuse to see the legitimacy of mosques, which is why they turn to agents of hate. In this regard there are problems in our community. Of generational empathy, of identity, and of some young people not being able to relate to the world around them.”
We need to strengthen our mosques, enable our Imams, our youth leaders and others, giving them the tools and know-how to relate to young people with safe spaces to engage openly and without fear on issues such as foreign policy.
“We Muslims must also face up to the mental health challenge, which is taboo in some of our communities. We cannot ignore the fact that a significant proportion of those prone to terrorist sympathies are known to have mental health and psychological problems, a problem not just limited to white extremist lone wolves. ”
Harun Khan will be speaking at the UK Security Expo’s Global Counter Terrorism Conference taking place today.
To access the speech, click here[ENDS]
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over
500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques,
charities and schools.
For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079