11 February 2011
A radical preacher banned from entering the country may now lose the platform to broadcast messages of hate to British television screens. Zakir Naik – who has claimed that “every Muslim should be a terrorist” – was banned from coming to Britain last June by Theresa May in one of her first major acts as Home Secretary. But eight months on, the 45-year-old cleric is still a key figure in a company that holds an Ofcom-approved licence for Peace TV.
Now, the broadcasting watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, broadcast in English and Urdu, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages. Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for “mujahideen” fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an “enemy of Islam” and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an “inside job”.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith visited Luton’s Central Mosque on Monday meeting young Muslims whom she said were playing an integral part in the fight extremism. “They were proud to be Muslims and proud to be British,” she said. Her visit to Luton came in the wake of a fatal stabbing of a young man in Bedford last Saturday evening. Asked about the prevalence of knife crime, she said: “Any knife crime is a tragedy and we need to do everything we can to counter it. “Of course people are upset and worried when something like this happens. But they’re part of the answer as well as the police.” She also spoke to Luton residents and promised more resources were being pumped into fighting crime in Bedfordshire. She visited the High Town Community Sports and Arts Centre in Concorde Street, where she took questions from police officers and residents and launched the new ‘police pledge’, a document outlining the commitments of the police to the public. After the meeting she reportedly said that extra cash was being provided to help Bedfordshire Police cut crime in the county.
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Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Home Secretary Jaqui Smith and Communities secretary Hazel Blears invited a few hundred Muslims to celebrate Eid with them at the prestigious Darbar Hall of the FCO recently. Also attended many ambassadors from Muslim countries, politicians from all parties, civil servants and media personalities. To welcome his guests, Mr. Miliband said, “The contribution of faith communities to our society and to our politics helps bring values back to the forefront of national life and that is very important, because in the end politics is about your head, it is about doing things that work but it’s also about your heart, and it’s also about deepest values, about justice, about responsibility and citizenship that bring us together.” In her speech the Home Secretary said, “The role that many of you have played in building strong communities in supporting the fundamental view that in the longterm the way that we will tackle terrorism is actually by celebrating the values that we she and deterring people from turning to violent extremism in the first place is absolutely fundamental and it’s the strength of what’s represented here that gives me faith that we will be able to do that in this country and internationally to turn against those who want just not to cause death and mayhem but who actually want to cause division between us in a way that I think the strength of this gathering this evening shows we’re not going to allow to happen.”
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The U.K. government said schools in England must do more to prevent violent extremists and terrorist groups including al-Qaeda from recruiting students, and issued guidelines on how to combat the threat. A 44-page pamphlet released today by the Department for Children, Schools and Families advises teachers how to spot and help vulnerable pupils age 5 to 11 in schools across the country. “We have learned from past experience that a security response is not enough,” Schools Secretary Ed Balls said in the pamphlet. “We need to address the underlying issues that can attract people toward violent extremist causes.” The guidelines are part of a larger campaign unveiled by the government in June to raise awareness of extremism in local areas that include schools, colleges and universities. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said then Britain can’t wait for another attack like the July 2005 London suicide bombings in which 52 people were killed, and that preventative action is needed. Among the U.K. population of 61 million are 1.6 million followers of Islam. Some 800,000 of the Muslims in Britain are under 25, according to the government, which yesterday set up an advisory group to ensure young Muslims have access to democratic channels for dealing with concerns. There is no “typical profile” of U.K.-based extremists influenced by al-Qaeda, according to the pamphlet, titled “Learning to be Safe Together.” It advises teachers that they can come from diverse geographical areas, ethnic and cultural backgrounds and include converts to Islam. Caroline Alexander and Camilla Hall report.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith Wednesday announced plans for an extra 300 counter-terrorism police to target radicalization in Britain. But her announcement, coupled with controversial proposals to seek the help of moderate Pakistani imams, was described as the ‘most blatant breach’ of pre-election campaigning rules by the opposition Conservatives. The Conservatives said they were reporting Smith and other ministers for infringing the rule that civil service resources must not be used in the three-week period before mayoral and local elections on May 1 that could influence the result. Announcing the extra officers, Smith said that they could be used to engage with communities vulnerable to extremism as it was not possible to ‘arrest our way’ out of the terrorist threat. “We need to prevent people from becoming terrorists and supporting terrorists in the first place. That means challenging the sort of ideology that supports terrorism,” the home secretary told BBC. She said it meant working in communities to ‘make sure that those mainstream voices are stronger’ and in ‘identifying people who might be at risk of being drawn into terrorism and violent extremism’. On Sunday, Smith also confirmed a new deal she struck with the Pakistani government last week to allow respected moderate Islamic clerics to be brought over to help imams combat extremism in Britain.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=5D044EF481133223312223D5&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gave a speech on terrorism and radicalisation at a conference hosted by Kings College London to launch their International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence on Thursday. She said: “First and foremost, terrorists are criminals. As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain, and grief. Indeed, if anything, these actions are _anti-Islamic’.” “We need to challenge the ideology of violent extremism, that misreading of Islam and view of history and contemporary politics which justify terrorism.” The Secretary of State said: “Stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists is the major long-term challenge we face. “I believe we should also take action against those who groom vulnerable people for the purposes of violent extremism.” Ms Smith outlined the Government’s strategy to tackle radicalization among British Muslims and announced moves to clamp down on violent extremism on the internet. She urged internet providers to remove al Qaida and extremist websites and called for action against people who groom others to commit acts of terrorism. This move comes after details of an extremist website containing threats against the Prime Minister and calling for the creation of a British al-Qaida were revealed. Safa Suling Tanhttp://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=530E54911282A1C341E3E1C3&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=Front%20Page%20News
By Arshad Sharif Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday backed the controversial Terrorism Bill which would allow the British law-enforcement agencies to detain terrorist suspects without a charge for up to 90 days. The Terrorism Bill, which proposes to increase the limit of detention without a charge from 14 to 90 days, was published in full by Home Secretary Charles Clarke within hours after getting support of the prime minister in the Commons amidst strong opposition. Formulated in the aftermath of July 7 London bombings, Mr Blair expects to get a majority support to pass the Bill by the year’s end despite opposition from civil right groups, political opponents and many in the Muslim community who believe it would be targeted against the Muslims. Giving support to the Bill before it was made public, Mr Blair said: I have to say that I, for the reasons the police have given, have found their request for this power absolutely compelling. Addressing parliamentarians at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons, Mr Blair said, What I have to do is to try to do my best to protect people in this country and to make sure that their safety and their civil liberty to life come first, and that is what I’m going to try to do. Earlier, Tory leader Michael Howard said he was yet to be persuaded over the 90-day proposal and called for a more fundamental examination of the criminal justice system. The prime minister’s official spokesman told a regular briefing at Westminster, If you have to arrest people at an earlier stage of investigation because of the possibility of suicide bombs and the devastation that causes, therefore you do need to give more time to the police to gather evidence. That is the crux of the argument. The Terrorism Bill also made glorifying or indirectly encouraging terrorism an offence carrying up to seven years’ imprisonment.