UK Muslims query on Turkish model

Britain has been seeking new methods in the fight against radical Islam and extremism. A delegation from the British Islamic Community visited Turkey last week and met with officials from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate. The group questioned how imams sent abroad are trained in Turkey, said a Religious Affairs Directorate official. But they did not make a specific request to import the Turkish method, he said. Turkey has two imams in Britain. The Religious Services Consultancy within the Turkish Embassy in the U.K. is helping Turkish Muslims resolve their religious problems, the unnamed official said. The Religious Affairs Directorate dispatched 125 religious clerics to Europe during the last Ramadan. The latest trip by leading British Muslims came as part of the program “Projecting British Islam” aimed at building networks and partnerships with Muslim communities overseas. Various delegations representing a diverse range of British Muslim communities regularly pay visits mostly to Islamic countries and emphasize the favorable position of British Muslims in the U.K. compared to other countries, in particular their ability to freely practice their religion in a non-Muslim country. Their visits are said to be effective in undermining the frequently used narrative that the U.K. and the West are waging a “war on Islam. “The group believes a predominantly Muslim but secular country straddling between the East and the West, can play an key role in tackling extremism.

Extremism threatens both Turkey and the United Kingdom, they noted. They also value Turkey’s mission in the United Nations-led Alliance of Civilizations aimed at fostering inter-faith dialogue.
British Muslims also showed enormous interest in a hadith project carried out by the Religious Affairs Directorate, officials said. The directorate launched the project two years ago with 80 university academics to research if the existing hadiths are original and in compliance with Islam.

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