Prominent Muslim clerics form national council

Senior Muslim Imams are creating a national body to promote an understanding of Islam that reflects British values. Qari Asim, a prominent British Imam of a Leeds mosque, said the community needs a central authority to deal with doctrinal, theological, and social issues.

Asim said, “The attempt is to embed Islam in a 21st-century British context. It’s about contextualising Islam in Britain.”

The national body will not be state-backed, which will help it maintain credibility. The body would supplement the Muslim Council of Britain which does not determine religious doctrine.

Asim related the need for theological clarity to the dangers of radicalisation. He hopes the new body can show that the Muslim community is actively and resolutely against terrorism, which is needed especially after the terrorist attacks in Spain.

Muslims condemn Islamic group

Prominent Muslim organisations in Reading have condemned an Islamic group which has been set up in opposition to the Government’s Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) initiative. Reading Borough Council and Thames Valley Police are implementing a Home Office initiative designed to tackle violent extremism by working with Muslim communities.

The Evening Post reported on Friday that Reading PVE Crisis Group has been set up with the support of more than 1,000 Muslims who feel the Government initiative is unfairly targeting the Muslim community. But a statement from Reading Council for Racial Equality in response to the crisis group said: “We do not recognise the Reading PVE Crisis Group and condemn the way in which they have used the names of legitimate local Muslim organisations in order to justify their own political views.” The contents of the letter issued by the group do not carry the endorsement of many of the organisations listed.

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Muslim leaders back Livingstone as mayor

Prominent Muslim organisations and individuals have pledged to back Ken Livingstone as mayor of London, saying it is in the “best interest” of Muslims to vote for him in this year’s elections on May 1. A statement, published today in full on the Guardian’s website, praises Livingstone for his continued support of a multicultural society and for protecting Muslim communities against racism and Islamophobia. Riazat Butt reports.