Muslims Fault Blair’s Imam Strategy

CAIRO – The British government is misguided if it thinks that imams whether homegrown or foreigners are to blame for extremism and that training them in UK university is the solution, Muslim experts and university imams told the Guardian on Tuesday, June 12. “The problem is not imams and their countries of origin,” said Ibrahim Mogra, an imam at De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough universities. “The tiny proportion of extremists usually have nothing to do with imams,” he insisted. Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Glasgow, agreed. “People who are involved in extremism will not usually involve their imam,” she stressed. “Imams are not the solution to the problem of terrorism.”

Imams are not the solution to terrorism’

By Jessica Shepherd {Muslim spiritual leaders say Blair’s call for training in UK universities is misguided} University imams have reacted angrily to comments made by Tony Blair last week about their education. The prime minister said imams should be trained in UK universities. Too many, he told a conference of Islamic religious leaders, entered Britain with poor English and an insufficient grasp of the country’s traditions. University imams and prominent Muslims on campus say they believe the prime minister’s words were really about reducing extremism, and not about imams’ standards of English or their understanding of British culture. “We are aware we need UK-trained imams who can speak English and know what is happening on our streets,” says Ibrahim Mogra, an imam at De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough universities and chairman of the Interfaith Relations Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain. But in any case Mogra and others question what they see as an underlying assumption by the government that the solution to extremism lies with imams from overseas, university training for imams, or even imams at all. Blair is misguided and misinformed, they say.