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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Muslim call sparks mixed response
Home Secretary John Reid has called on British Muslims to help root out potential extremists, with parents and community leaders confronting youngsters if they are suspicious. Muslims in London's Whitechapel give their response to his comments.

EMA KHANOM, 18, STUDENT

Ema Khanom said parents did have a part to play in educating youngsters. "They should do their bit by at least saying that is wrong," she said.

Ema Khanom
Ema Khanom said young people may prefer talking to reading about issues

"But after that, if the behaviour is still continuing, then of course, they should take it further.

"It could be important for some people to talk, but it is also something people have to realise for themselves."

She added: "Youths, like me, tend to be more practical, and not all are able to sit down and read something, so it is better to be told or to talk about things.

"But not everyone is the same, so everyone has to have respect for each other and their views."

MOHAMMED, 40, TAXI DRIVER

Mohammed, who did not want to give his surname, was against the home secretary's approach to tackling extremism.

"This is ridiculous, things are getting out of order," he said. "As a citizen, if I saw someone breaking the law, my duty would be to tell the authorities - it's my duty."

He added: "My overall view is that the government is playing a game with Muslim people. Just playing a little puzzle game."

SISTERS AMINA, 22 AND MUMINA, 25

Amina, a student, believes education is the key to fighting extremism.

"There are radical groups out there - but they take what they are learning and find the most extreme element, which we are taught is wrong. They take parts of it, instead of reading the whole passage," she said.

London Muslim Centre
The sisters said the London Muslim Centre gave support and advice
"Understanding and education - they're the main factors needed."

She added: "There's definitely more that can be done, if people had properly educated their children, we wouldn't be in this situation."

Her sister Mumina felt that a lot was already being done to support and advise Muslims.

Both women said the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel held conferences and courses and offered advice and support.

Amina added: "The imams are also teaching how extremism is completely not allowed and that we are a middle path and should live in harmony."

The sisters said the government and media attention on Muslims had worsened feelings towards the community.

Mumina also accused the government of "bullying Muslims".

"I'm just a student who wants to be a nurse, just a person hoping to help the whole community, Jew, Christian or Muslim. I'm not just sitting at home," she said.

KAWSAR AHMED, 24, MARKET WORKER

Kawsar Ahmed believed Mr Reid was on the right track.

They should be told that Islam doesn't say to be extreme
Kawsar Ahmed

"I think he's right. I think not as much is being done as it could.

"Some young Muslims are doing wrong things, things they shouldn't be doing," he said.

"They should be told that Islam doesn't say to be extreme."

KARIM HAADJADJ, 27, BANK WORKER

Karim Haadjadj said Mr Reid's approach was partly right.

Karim Haadjadj
Karim Haadjadj pointed to Middle East problems

"He's 30% right and he's 70% wrong," he said. "He's right as this country should be safe for everyone, no matter what colour or religion you are."

However, he added "all the problems" had their root in the treatment of Muslims in the Middle East, especially by Israel.

"With this opinion, he (Mr Reid) is backing this policy against the Muslims," he said.

Mr Haadjadj added that British troops should leave Iraq "as soon as possible" as this policy was not helping the situation.

RUMI BEGUM, 17 AND RASMA BEGUM, 17

Rumi Begum, a student, said: "The government should have a part and parents should also teach their children between right and wrong.

"The parents also have a part because they are the most important people in the young person's life.

"But the government should be doing things, such as helping educate and provide information to young people - it could hold a multicultural conference."

Her friend Rasma said young Muslims should be given more of a voice as she felt it was mainly leaders who were heard.

"At a conference they could say what they want and how they could make things better," she said.

TOHEL MIAH, 29

Tohel Miah said government foreign policy should be addressed as a main way to tackle extremism.

Tohel Miah
Tohel Miah said UK foreign policy needed to change

"With the foreign policy they have adopted, it doesn't matter if you put millions of pounds into the community, at the end of the day, if the root is rotten it is not going to be a good society," he said.

He also said the views of "moderate Muslims" should be heard publicly more often.

"The government need to take their opinions into account and not just when it appropriately fits in with the government view."






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