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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 12:47 GMT
'Political Islam'
Nick Watson
Nick Watson
The Politics Show
West Midlands

David Cameron
Cameron: "They prey on voters who are disillusioned with mainstream politics"

Conservative leader David Cameron has re-ignited the debate about the role of Britain's Muslim community in tackling extremism.

What are the implications..?

He made a key-note speech in Birmingham this week saying some Islamic political groups were the "mirror-image" of the British National Party.

In an address at the New Testament Church of God in the multi-racial Lozells district of the city he said the reason for having the debate now was "Because two summers ago, young men chose to blow themselves up on London's transport system, killing 52 innocent people in the process. They were British Muslims."

And he warned: "If we want to live together, we need to bring down the barriers that divide us. And today, I can feel the barriers going up, not coming down."

Nick Griffin and the BNP
The pleasant face of the BNP..?
Mr Cameron went on to compare some Muslim groups with the far right BNP, which has several councillors in the Midlands in Sandwell, Stoke-on-Trent, Solihull and Redditch.

"The BNP pretend to be respectable," he said. "But their creed is pure hate. They prey on voters who are disillusioned with mainstream politics. And those who seek a Sharia state, or special treatment and a separate law for British Muslims are, in many ways, the mirror image of the BNP."

'Political Islam'

Much of Mr Cameron's speech was based on interim findings from the party's own National and International Security Policy Group, in which the threat of what it calls "Political Islam" to the UK is compared to that of Soviet-backed Communism.

The groups listed as fitting into one or other of the categories in the report are:
Lady wearing a full niqab veil
Muslim Council of Britain
The Federation of Student Islamic Studies
Muslim Association of Britain
Islamic Society of Britain
Muslim Public Affairs Committee
Islamic Human Rights Commission
Hizb-ut-Tahrir
Tabligh Jemaat

The report, drawn up under the guidance of former Joint Intelligence Committee chairman Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, identifies a number of groups involved with the organisation of political Islam in the United Kingdom.

Groups which propagate what they describe as a "Qaradawist ideology" - are a "formalised network of religious authority centred on Yusuf al-Qaradawi".

The report paints a picture of "two broad strategies" within this ideology.

Those which seek the establishment of a Sharia law state, oppose democracy and discourage participation by Muslims in it, and those which seek to change the law to fit with their interpretation of Islamic religious beliefs.

In a week in which another series of anti-terrorism raids was carried out on the streets of Birmingham, our reporter, Julie Peacock, has been finding out the reaction from the city's Muslim community to David Cameron's speech and the latest developments.

Deputy leader of Respect Salma Yaqoob and Conservative MP for Rugby & Kenilworth Jeremy Wright join us live in the studio.

Also in the programme...

RAF take flight

What next for RAF Cosford in Shropshire?

Last month it missed out on a multi-billion pound contract that would have brought thousands of jobs to the region as it was pipped to the post by St Athan in Wales.

Harrier jump jet
One flight takes off, but another great one could land...
It was a decision that was predicted on the Politics Show in the Midlands last November by defence expert Charles Heyman.

Now there are hopes the base could become a "super-garrison" as the British Army pulls out of Germany and thousands of troops return home.

It would be a substantial consolation prize for the base.

Our Political Editor, Patrick Burns, has been back to Shropshire to meet Mr Heyman to find out what his predictions are this time.

Wrekin's Conservative MP, Mark Pritchard and Labour MP Tom Watson, join Patrick live from East Shropshire.

So what's it like on the set of the Politics Show..? Sonia Deol takes us there...

The Politics Show

Join the Politics Show team... Sunday 04 February 2007 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

If you have an issue you would like us to follow up then please write to Nick Watson, BBC Politics Show Midlands, The Mailbox, Birmingham, B1 1RF or email nicholas.watson@bbc.co.uk


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