Controversial Muslim Assigned To Taskforce

LONDON: A controversial Muslim academic has been chosen by the Government to sit on a new taskforce designed to combat Islamic extremism. Professor Tariq Ramadan, who has been banned from the US and France, is a member of the Government’s working group on tackling extremism which met for the first time last week. Days after the July 7 bombings, right-wing newspapers described the decision to allow Prof Ramadan into the UK as utter madness. The Egyptian-born academic has been accused of supporting the use of violence – an allegation he refutes. Asked by an Italian magazine if car bombings against US forces in Iraq were justified, he was quoted as saying: Iraq was colonised by the Americans. Resistance against the army is just. But speaking in London on July 24, Prof Ramadan said: What happens sometimes in the name of Islam has nothing to do with our religion and we have to say it and we have to condemn it. We condemn terrorists, but I really think we have to do something more to promote the right education and to say where this is wrong. The new working group will report to Home Secretary Charles Clarke and Prime Minister Tony Blair by the end of September on the way to prevent British Muslims turning towards violence and extremism. Last year the Department of Homeland Security revoked Prof Ramadan’s visa nine days before he was due to take up a professorship in the US, claiming he had endorsed terrorist activity. A Home Office spokeswoman said: We haven’t yet agreed the final make-up of the working group and are not able to confirm its membership.