Britain’s national threat level was raised to “critical” after three attempted car bombings last week in London and Glasgow. Police and intelligence officers confirmed that there was a direct link between the attack on Glasgow airport last Saturday and two attempted car bombings in London last Friday. This confirmed the reality of a renewed UK offensive by Islamist extremists. Prime Minister Gordon Brown summoned intelligence chiefs and ministers to the Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall to discuss the security situation. It was agreed to raise the threat level to the highest degree possible, a decision that confirmed another attack was expected soon. The first two “Iraqi-style” car bombs had been found in London by chance in the early hours of Friday morning.
There is no evidence that imams preaching at mosques are doing anything to radicalise young British Muslims, according to a research conducted by the University of Chester. The findings published on Friday contradict the British government’s controversial claim of blaming mosques as part of its strategy to defeat the threat of terrorism. But the research for BBC, surveying 300 mosques carried out by Chester University in north-west England, suggested some of the imams lack the language and skills to help tackle the threat from extremism. “Imams face competition from groups who wait outside mosques to hand out leaflets and are prepared to talk to young people in English about issues such as discrimination and UK foreign policy in the Middle East,” it said. The findings included that only 6 per cent of imams who preach at mosques speak English as a first language and almost 45 per cent had been in the UK for less than five years. The majority speak Urdu as a first language, with 50 per cent of imams from Pakistan, 20 per cent from Bangladesh and 15 per cent from India. Only 24 of the 300 imams surveyed were born and educated in the UK, which the report said did not reflect the percentage of British- born South Asian Muslims who represent more than half of Britain’s two million community. It also found that at Friday prayers, although 52 per cent of imams gave sermons in Urdu, the use of English was becoming more prevalent and suggested more investigation is required to assess the frequency and quality. The report’s author Professor Ron Geaves said the aim was to look at the ability of imams to adapt to modern Britain and that the study revealed “a deeply conservative body of individuals” qualified in the traditional Islamic curriculum. “Although there are social religious and political reasons that drive a need to transform the imamate to a 21st century British context there is as yet little sign of the mosque imams or their employers being ready to professionalise,” Geaves said. Before stepping down from power last month, Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled plans to provide significant funding to train imams in Britain and change the teaching of Islam at UK universities. “We need to do to encourage the right intellectual and academic debate,” Blair said at the opening of a two-day international conference on Islam in London on June 4. It came after Attorney General Lord Goldsmith announced that specialist prosecutors were beginning to work with police officers to improve how they target extremist preachers. The government also separately announced the creation Faith and Social Cohesion Unit at the Charity Commission, aimed to strengthen governance in mosques to make them less susceptible to takeover by minority groups.
Only eight per cent of imams preaching in British mosques were born in the UK, BBC-commissioned research suggests. The research, for BBC News and the BBC Asian Network, also suggests that only 6% of imams in Britain speak English as a first language. And almost 45% of imams have been in the UK for less than five years, the report adds.
Foreign imams who do not learn English should be banned from giving sermons in UK mosques, a Labour peer has said. Lord Ahmed’s comments come as a survey suggests imams lack professional and language skills to tackle the threat of radicalism among young British Muslims. Only 8% of imams preaching in British mosques were born in the UK, it found. Research at 300 mosques by Chester University for BBC News and the BBC Asian Network also indicated only 6% speak English as a first language. The report acknowledges the use of English is becoming more prevalent at Friday sermons but says more investigation is required to assess the frequency and quality.
(Mosque construction has proved a contentious issue for German society. For more information on mosques in Germany, see the Germany country profile). In a city with the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany and no fewer than a dozen Romanesque churches, adding a pair of slender fluted minarets would scarcely alter the skyline. Yet plans for a new mosque are rattling this ancient city to its foundations. Cologne’s Muslim population, largely Turkish, is pushing for approval to build what would be one of Germany’s largest mosques, in a working-class district across town from the cathedral’s mighty spires. Predictably, an extreme-right local political party has waged a noisy, xenophobic protest campaign, drumming up support from its far-right allies in Austria and Belgium…
On Muslim holidays, hundreds of faithful hoping to pray at the city’s Ditib Mosque are forced to spread their prayer rugs in a nearby parking lot and follow the service on loudspeakers. The mosque holds only 600 people. Yet plans to replace the flat-roofed storefront mosque with a new house of worship, complete with dome and two 177-foot-tall minarets, have triggered an angry response from right-wing groups and, most recently, Cologne’s Roman Catholic archbishop. Mehmet Orman, 43, a Turkish immigrant who prays every night at Ditib Mosque ignoring its broken windows and worn-out prayer rugs hopes construction can begin, as scheduled, by the end of the year. “There are 2.7 million Turks in Germany of course we need a big, representative mosque in this country,” Orman said. Construction of mosques in Europe has rarely happened without much hand-wringing. In France, the scene of riots in largely Muslim and African suburbs in 2005, and Britain, which has just been threatened by a new wave of Islamic terror plots, there have also been protests against the building of new mosques.
The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, relaunched the government’s hearts and minds campaign aimed at Britain’s Muslims yesterday, promising she would not rush through anti-terror legislation that might leave them feeling isolated in response to the foiled bomb attacks in Glasgow and London. But she and Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, hinted that the 28-day limit on detention without charge would either be extended or abolished by leaving the period of detention open ended. Ms Smith said: “There may well be a case for looking very carefully at the amount of time that we are able to detain people pre-charge in order to ensure the very best opportunity to bring convictions.” Lord Carlile said yesterday he favoured an end to detention limits balanced by stronger judicial oversight, a position rejected by David Davis, the shadow home secretary.
GORDON Brown warned terror warlords yesterday that Britain “will not yield” to their evil. The new Prime Minister said the nation was united in its determination to carry on as normal – even if bombings go on for YEARS. Pledging to do all in his power to protect the public, he declared defiantly: “We will not yield. We will not be intimidated. “And we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life.” Mr Brown spoke as the country moved up to “critical” alert, meaning another attack was expected “imminently”. Police were taking no risks at London City Airport, levelling their guns at four suspects who fled a roadside checkpoint. Cops in a car and a van forced their green Hyundai into a lay-by. One man tried to run but was tripped and handcuffed. Six more police vans and five more cars were on the scene in seconds…