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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 July 2006, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
Anti-extremist moves 'too slow'
Tony Blair
The PM said views had been taken into account
Prominent Muslims have voiced frustration at lack of progress in joint efforts by Britain's Islamic community and the government to confront extremists.

Tony Blair urged moderate Muslims on Tuesday to "stand up" and take on the extremists within their communities but a number of community organisations have suggested the government's own actions have not been effective.

Muslim Labour MP Sadiq Khan said earlier that he was disappointed with the government's engagement with Muslims in the year since the London bombings.

Seven working groups were set up after the attacks - and Ashqar Bukhari from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee does not believe progress had been made.

He said the groups contained too many Muslim leaders who were "incapable or wilfully refusing" to tackle extremism and did not involve enough young British-born Muslims.

Mr Bukhari is among those to say the government should accept its foreign policy has lead to anger within Muslim communities.

"The government won't face up to the fact that it's foreign policy and not some crazy notion of an ideological problem," he told BBC News 24.

"That's where the solution begins."

"Once you know young people are angry about foreign policy, you can create an education program in Muslim institutions.

"You can say to them: 'If you are angry about foreign policy, that's fine, you can change it peacefully and democratically'

"That's what they don't know. They're right to be angry - they're wrong in how they carry that anger forward."

'Deep frustration'

Tony Blair strongly rejected suggestions that he had ignored the views of the Muslim working groups and the government has highlighted a number of initiatives.

But Dr Abduljalil Sajid from the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony said he was angry that a recommendation for an inquiry into the 7/7 bombings had been rejected by the PM.

The government has a very important responsibility to facilitate something which is a positive and constructive coming-together
Dr Tariq Ramadan

Labour peer Baroness Uddin, who sat on one of the working groups, accepted there was "deep frustration".

"It's critical now we call for some kind of action," she said.

"We've got to stop talking and get on with the work that's in hand".

Another working group member, Dr Tariq Ramadan, said the Muslim community did have a responsibility to act - but it was a "shared responsibility" with the government:

"I think what Tony Blair is saying is important. The Muslims should do it," he said.

"But once again, the government has a very important responsibility to facilitate something which is a positive and constructive coming-together to solve the problem."

'Vulnerable communities'

Development charity, QED UK, has called on the government to tackle Muslim extremism by addressing problems like poverty, lack of education and social exclusion.

"There is comprehensive evidence that a majority of Muslim communities suffer high levels of social exclusion" chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali said.

"Under these circumstances, already vulnerable communities may feel threatened and you find the perfect conditions for extremists - who exist in all communities - to be seized upon and exploited."

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett claimed "enormous disruption" at the Home Office had affected the government's attempts to engage with British Muslims.


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