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Last Updated: Monday, 5 December 2005, 09:24 GMT
Young UK Muslims: Nejim Gakenyi
After the terror attacks in London there was a knee jerk reaction.

MEET THE PANEL
Nejim
Name: Nejim Gakenyi
Age: 23
Lives: Leeds
Works: IT consultant
There was this emphasis on Muslim community leaders to expose extremism within communities.

But you cannot paint every Muslim with the same brush.

I have friends of all ethnic backgrounds. I think the big problem is affiliation in people's minds.

If they think of someone Muslim, they assume someone is Pakistani or Bangladeshi or whatever.

But, of course, the people of Pakistan are of a very different origin to people from Bosnia, where my family are from.

I think education would help - people should be able to learn about other religions from various sources.

But what certain extreme minorities do should not be put down to Islam or Islamic beliefs.

UK MUSLIMS' VIEWS
I'm a young Muslim and I have strong opinions. But no-one represents me and no-one has ever spoken to me.

I disagree with US foreign policy and UK policy. I'm against the Iraq war and I feel for the Palestinians - but that does not make me an extremist.

My own family were persecuted, driven out from their homes and taken to concentration camps just for having a Muslim name.

But I could not put my religion before my nationality, because my faith has nothing to do with my nationality.

The two cannot be compared and there should not be a relationship between the two.

Now, the government and the media are fuelling problems by using phrases such as "Islamophobia" or "extremists" without any context.

By talking to specific community leaders, just because they lived near where the bombers came from, they presume that everyone who lives there is of the same background.

It puts the blame on everyone who lives there. But if the families did not know, how can the community know?

In a special week of features about Islam in Britain and Europe, the BBC News website is focusing on voices who have something to say - but may not always get heard.






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