Islamic extremism 'spreading in UK'

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Islamic extremism is growing among British Muslims because of the growth of a radical sect, a Times report claims.

The investigation alleges that 17 of Britain's 26 seminaries are run by members of the radical Deobandi sect, which it claims also controls 59 of the 75 mosques in Lancashire alone.

The Times report states that the north of England and the Midlands are especially badly affected by the growing influence of the Deobandi world view, which outlaws television and views the internet as "satanic".

It quotes a commentator on radicalism in Pakistan, Khaled Ahmed, as saying that the UK brand of multiculturalism is "a way of destroying yourself" because it breeds such extremism.

Accusing the government of "blind ignorance" on the issue, Mr Ahmed adds: "In Britain, the Deobandi message has become even more extreme than it is in Pakistan. It's mind-boggling."

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said the story was founded on "a double misrepresentation of the facts".

She criticised the Times' emphasis on the leader of the Deobandis, Riyadh ul-Haq, and denied its claim that the government was not concerned by extremism bred from within Britain.

"The real focus of our detailed strategy is working with Muslim communities to ensure imams properly represent and connect with mainstream moderate opinion and promote shared values like tolerance and respect for the rule of law," the spokesperson said.

"This includes tough new laws to tackle glorification of terrorism, promoting greater leadership training for imams, minimum standards for all those preachers employed by the state, citizenship teaching in maddrasses and strengthening governance in mosques through the Charity Commission."
© Adfero Ltd
07 September 2007 09:58 GMT

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