Britain Aims to Isolate Muslim Extremists, Official Says

Britain is struggling with how to counter radical jihadist ideologies that have taken hold among some Muslim young people here, particularly those of Pakistani descent. The 2004 train bombing, organized by four Pakistani immigrants, has made this community a target of the government’s efforts. The government intends to take some steps to regulate and try to influence the affairs of Muslim religious institutions and mosques. Imams working in government hospitals and prisons would be required to meet certain criteria, including having a good grasp of English. Language barriers have prevented the government from collaborating with Muslim leaders who are seen as critical partners in the fight against extremism. Government-appointed committees with Muslim members, including a task force called Preventing Extremism Together, were supposed to come up with programs but have had limited success. At the heart of this [program] is a message about being proud to be British, proud to be Muslim, about how to live out the values of justice, peace and respect both as a person of faith and as a citizen, said Ruth Kelly, Minister of Communities and Local Government. A number of moderate mosques and imams signed a letter organized by the government to support Ms. Kelly’s program. But the Muslim Council of Britain, the best known Muslim group, did not sign it.