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Ummu Amatullah
07-20-2005, 05:10 PM
A taskforce to counter extremist clerics preaching hate to would-be suicide bombers is to be set up, Tony Blair and Muslim leaders agreed yesterday.
The decision, made at a meeting in Downing Street, came as a militant cleric was blaming the British public for the London suicide bombings.
The prime minister, who had been joined by Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, agreed with the 25 leading Muslims that they must take on the extremist clerics instilling hate in disaffected youths and leading them into terrorism.
Heartened by support from the Muslim community, Mr Blair highlighted the commitment to tackle the extremism based on a perversion of the true faith of Islam.
He said: "There was a strong desire from everybody there to make sure we establish the right mechanisms for people to be able to go into the community and confront this."
The government will support the taskforce, but Mr Blair has signalled strongly that Muslim leaders are best placed "to talk to the Muslim community and confront this evil ideology, take it on and defeat it by the force of reason".
He added: "I think that's the best thing we can do and there was a very strong sense that we needed to come together behind that."
The 25 community leaders, including MPs, peers, education workers and businessmen, will meet Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, next week.
The group also decided to meet again last night ahead of talks with Charles Clarke, the home secretary, this morning.
Mr Howard said: "The one thing really that comes out most strongly from this meeting is the responsibility of the Muslim community for reaching out to those who have been the targets of the merchants of evil and hatred."
Mr Kennedy said there was a "much-needed collective re-solve to win round the very few in the British Muslim communities who are susceptible to misguided, extreme and criminal activities".
Shahid Malik, whose Dewsbury constituency in West Yorkshire was home to one of the bombers, said: "The feeling was that there is a profound challenge. I think everyone here is up for the challenge. We have to work better at confronting these evil voices, minute as they are in our community."
Sadiq Khan, a Labour MP who attended the meeting, said: "It was not a love-in. There had been frank and robust discussions over what should be done."
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the meeting had been "an important listening exercise" for all involved.
What was needed now was "a bit of space", he said, adding that they could not "rush into solutions".
"At the moment there's good consideration to set up a task force to go into the community and find out what's really happening . . . to ensure that the young people play the dual (citizenship) role. A very small minority were involved."
However, Imam Ibrahim Mogra disagreed with the prime minister's assertion that the Iraq war played no part in the bombings.
He said: "As Muslims, we feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe every single day. It has been a successful recruitment sergeant for people who wish to preach hatred for our country and our government."
In North London, the controversial Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed accused the British people of bringing the bombings upon themselves by re-electing Tony Blair and supporting the US over Afghanistan.
Later, Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president who had briefly joined the Downing Street talks, met the prime minister to sign a Declaration of Enduring Friendship. It was designed to set the foundations for close co-operation to rebuild the central Asian state over the coming decade.
Mr Karzai dismissed the links between terrorism and the American and British efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said: "In Afghanistan today, the freedom that we have, the millions of children that go to school, the economy that we have, the freedom to practise religion that we have, is because of this international effort to free us from terrorism."
A taskforce to counter extremist clerics preaching hate to would-be suicide bombers is to be set up, Tony Blair and Muslim leaders agreed yesterday.
The decision, made at a meeting in Downing Street, came as a militant cleric was blaming the British public for the London suicide bombings.
The prime minister, who had been joined by Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, agreed with the 25 leading Muslims that they must take on the extremist clerics instilling hate in disaffected youths and leading them into terrorism.
Heartened by support from the Muslim community, Mr Blair highlighted the commitment to tackle the extremism based on a perversion of the true faith of Islam.
He said: "There was a strong desire from everybody there to make sure we establish the right mechanisms for people to be able to go into the community and confront this."
The government will support the taskforce, but Mr Blair has signalled strongly that Muslim leaders are best placed "to talk to the Muslim community and confront this evil ideology, take it on and defeat it by the force of reason".
He added: "I think that's the best thing we can do and there was a very strong sense that we needed to come together behind that."
The 25 community leaders, including MPs, peers, education workers and businessmen, will meet Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, next week.
The group also decided to meet again last night ahead of talks with Charles Clarke, the home secretary, this morning.
Mr Howard said: "The one thing really that comes out most strongly from this meeting is the responsibility of the Muslim community for reaching out to those who have been the targets of the merchants of evil and hatred."
Mr Kennedy said there was a "much-needed collective re-solve to win round the very few in the British Muslim communities who are susceptible to misguided, extreme and criminal activities".
Shahid Malik, whose Dewsbury constituency in West Yorkshire was home to one of the bombers, said: "The feeling was that there is a profound challenge. I think everyone here is up for the challenge. We have to work better at confronting these evil voices, minute as they are in our community."
Sadiq Khan, a Labour MP who attended the meeting, said: "It was not a love-in. There had been frank and robust discussions over what should be done."
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the meeting had been "an important listening exercise" for all involved.
What was needed now was "a bit of space", he said, adding that they could not "rush into solutions".
"At the moment there's good consideration to set up a task force to go into the community and find out what's really happening . . . to ensure that the young people play the dual (citizenship) role. A very small minority were involved."
However, Imam Ibrahim Mogra disagreed with the prime minister's assertion that the Iraq war played no part in the bombings.
He said: "As Muslims, we feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe every single day. It has been a successful recruitment sergeant for people who wish to preach hatred for our country and our government."
In North London, the controversial Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed accused the British people of bringing the bombings upon themselves by re-electing Tony Blair and supporting the US over Afghanistan.
Later, Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president who had briefly joined the Downing Street talks, met the prime minister to sign a Declaration of Enduring Friendship. It was designed to set the foundations for close co-operation to rebuild the central Asian state over the coming decade.
Mr Karzai dismissed the links between terrorism and the American and British efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said: "In Afghanistan today, the freedom that we have, the millions of children that go to school, the economy that we have, the freedom to practise religion that we have, is because of this international effort to free us from terrorism."
A taskforce to counter extremist clerics preaching hate to would-be suicide bombers is to be set up, Tony Blair and Muslim leaders agreed yesterday.
The decision, made at a meeting in Downing Street, came as a militant cleric was blaming the British public for the London suicide bombings.
The prime minister, who had been joined by Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, agreed with the 25 leading Muslims that they must take on the extremist clerics instilling hate in disaffected youths and leading them into terrorism.
Heartened by support from the Muslim community, Mr Blair highlighted the commitment to tackle the extremism based on a perversion of the true faith of Islam.
He said: "There was a strong desire from everybody there to make sure we establish the right mechanisms for people to be able to go into the community and confront this."
The government will support the taskforce, but Mr Blair has signalled strongly that Muslim leaders are best placed "to talk to the Muslim community and confront this evil ideology, take it on and defeat it by the force of reason".
He added: "I think that's the best thing we can do and there was a very strong sense that we needed to come together behind that."
The 25 community leaders, including MPs, peers, education workers and businessmen, will meet Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, next week.
The group also decided to meet again last night ahead of talks with Charles Clarke, the home secretary, this morning.
Mr Howard said: "The one thing really that comes out most strongly from this meeting is the
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