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4 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I September 2008
Ministers recruit young Muslims
as advisers to combat extremism
Twenty young Muslims are to become ‘We need to equip young Muslims be to organise a national youth conference
personal advisers to three Cabinet to take the lead in challenging prejudice to discuss the challenges facing young
ministers in an attempt by the Government and preconceptions both within their own British Muslims over the next few years.
to tackle Islamic extremism. communities and in wider society. The Government has been attempting
Labour says the group, aged 16 to 25, ‘The Young Muslim Advisory group is to engage Britain’s Muslim communities,
will keep Communities Secretary Hazel about identifying the next generation of especially in the wake of the July 7 terror
Blears, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham Muslim community leaders and providing bombings in London which murdered 52
and Schools Secretary Ed Balls in touch a platform to speak out on issues that are innocent people.
with the mood of Muslim youths. important to them.’ Ministers recently announced
Ministers hope that listening to and Since June, more than 150 applications £12.5million for Muslim communities to
addressing concerns that affect Muslims have been received and over the next few fund projects which aim to ‘undermine
could ease tensions in multi-cultural days the prospective advisers, who are all extremist ideology’.
communities and cut the risk of them aged between 16 and 25, will take part in And last month the Government
becoming radicalised by extremists. discussions and workshops to test their announced plans for state school pupils
The Young Muslim Advisory Group, to suitability. to be taught Islamic traditions and values
be launched in October, will also work with The Young Muslim Advisory Group in compulsory citizenship lessons.
Arts Council England and Sport England. aims to give Cabinet ministers a first- Another measure will see Muslim
The aim is see how cultural and hand understanding of the issues that children being taught citizenship lessons
sporting opportunities, such as the use affect young Muslims, including the risk by imams in mosque schools in the hope
of football tournaments or music gigs, of extremism, employment opportunities they will be better equipped to resist
can reduce tensions within different and education. violent extremist messages.
communities. It will also try to get young Muslims’ The Department for Communities
Miss Blears said: ‘Ensuring young messages across in the media, promote and Local Government said the personal
Muslims have access to constructive, role models and mentoring and ‘build advisers would not be paid but would
democratic channels for dealing with the capacity of young people, in terms be allowed to claim expenses for any
concerns is crucial to our efforts to build of skills, knowledge and confidence, to costs they might incur, such as travel or
communities that are resilient to extremist counter the extremist ideology’. overnight accommodation.
messages. One of the first tasks of the group will
Ramadhan festival to create
harmony between communities
A nationwide campaign has been in Ramadhan is a fundamental of extremists from all backgrounds.
launched to create harmony amongst Islam. owever it’s not just about For the full list of events, visit
UK’s different cultures and religions by rituals spiritual reflection; it’s about
inviting people of all faiths and none to the result - generosity, hospitality,
take part in the celebrations of the holy and celebration,” says the Ramadhan
month of Ramadhan. Festival.
The campaign titled Ramadhan Many Muslim-owned restaurants
Festival, supported by different have been lobbied to run a discounted
mainstream faith groups including the Iftar menu. Hundreds of arts and
Dutch and Pakistani missions in the cultural events including Iftar parties
UK, urges Muslims to put the fun back and Eid melas/ celebrations are
in Fundamentalism. being planned across the country and
Ramadhan Festival is the single Europe.
largest celebration of it’s kind in The festival director Syed Abbas
Europe and this year takes in Holland, is optimistic about the future of the
Norway and Britain with events in New festival and hopes it will be successful
York, Islamabad, Cairo, Damascus, in achieving its desired objectives
Jerusalem and Berlin in the pipeline. in the long run. “Our intention is to
The campaign urges Muslims to arrange forty days of tantalizing arts
use the 30 days holy period to reach and cultural events in 2008 which will
out to other communities who are either reflect the diversity of British Muslim
not aware of the rich Islamic culture cultural expression that exists in the
or have negative perceptions about UK.
the Muslims and Islam. Its asking the Abbas aid he felt the urgent need
over 1600 UK mosques, cultural and to introduce the festival to the UK
religious organisations to make it a audience in view of the need to raise
point to invite people from other faiths the standard of dialogue on extremism
and backgrounds to know from close and community cohesion to a more
ranks the cultural strength of Islam as sophisticated level in order to promote
demonstrated amply in the holy month greater mutual understanding and
of Ramadhan. provide a chance for Muslims to shout
“Everyone knows that fasting out a clear message against the violent
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