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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Foreign policy link to extremism
Glasgow mosque
Head imams of all Scotland's mosques were questioned
The majority of Scotland's Islamic leaders believe UK foreign policy is why Muslims are turning to extremism, a study has found.

Researchers questioned 31 mosque leaders and found that almost half of them thought extremist behaviour existed in Scotland.

Many cited the UK Government's foreign policy as the reason.

A lack of parental guidance and the misinterpretation of Islam were also given as factors.

The study, by the Council of British Pakistanis (CBP) in Scotland, was compiled as part of a Scottish Executive project.

The survey of head imams of all 31 mosques in Scotland lays down a firm foundation for combating the evil of terrorism in Scotland
Mohammed Akram
Council of British Pakistanis

It aims to combat radicalisation, extremism and terrorism within the Muslim community.

The survey of head imams and their representatives found two thirds believed the relationship between Islam and the West would get better over the next 10 years.

Two thirds also said they felt the executive's work with Muslim communities was "adequate" but all those questioned said it and the Westminster government should do more to support them in combating terrorism.

They called for help to set up an Islamic training college in Scotland, which most felt would prevent extremist behaviour.

More transparency

Council president Mohammed Akram said: "The survey of head imams of all 31 mosques in Scotland lays down a firm foundation for combating the evil of terrorism in Scotland.

"The findings, which amongst others call for setting up of an Islamic teaching college in Scotland as well as a shift in the UK foreign policy, give hope that the Muslim community is alert and willing to tackle radicalisation and extremism, precursors to terrorism, within its communities."

First Minister Alex Salmond held a reception for Muslim leaders in July following the alleged terror attack on Glasgow Airport.

He also visited Glasgow Central Mosque the day after the incident.

In the report by the CBP(S), the body calls for more transparency when it comes to foreign policy and extra financial support for moderate organisations aiming to bring about greater integration.

Teaching at mosques and religious places should undergo assessment, and strategies to enhance moderate thinking should be adopted, it said.

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