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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
Ministers to meet Muslim leaders
Tavistock Square bus bomb scene
There are many 'shared challenges' since the terror attacks
Leaders of the Muslim community and ministers will meet in a new government initiative to improve relations after the London bomb attacks.

Home Office ministers will hold eight meetings across the country during the summer to discuss future challenges.

A government spokeswoman said Home Secretary Charles Clarke would then announce "concrete proposals".

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears will attend and is writing to MPs across the parties setting out the objectives.

Police authorities, local councils, members of other faith communities and local MPs will also attend the country-wide events.

Each meeting - which will also be attended by junior minister Paul Goggins - will be asked to come up with an action plan.

'Difficult issues'

A Home Office spokeswoman said items on the agenda would include engaging with youth and women, tackling extremism and radicalisation, imam training and the accreditation and role of mosques.

The meetings would also discuss providing education to meet the needs of the Muslim community, security and supporting regional and local initiatives.

Ms Blears said: "These are difficult issues and I don't shy away from that."

"That's why this series of meetings is really genuinely to try and engage and say 'these are the problems facing all of us as a society, as a country' and looking at how we can particularly hear young people's voices.

"I genuinely feel unless we really engage in the argument, then we are not going to make the progress that we want to see."

Hazel Blears
Ms Blears will hold meetings in eight cities
The first meeting is set to take place in the North West on 2 August, although specific details have not been revealed for "security reasons".

Mr Clarke will host a talk with Muslim leaders on 20 September to discuss the way forward.

Ms Blears said in her letter to MPs: "Muslim leaders recognise that it is not enough just to condemn the bombings but that they must also act with us to tackle extremism.

"I am writing to ask you to help lead this work over the summer by working with your communities and feeding back your community's views to me ahead of follow-up meetings with Muslim community leaders in September."


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