Friday, 9 January 2015
Supporting Muslim Charities
In the light of the appalling events in Paris we need to redouble our efforts as social leaders to promote community leadership and support the work of Muslim charities in their mission to promote cohesion and tolerance. If there are " British values" then tolerance for people of all faiths must be central to that. Living in Brixton over the decades shows me how a multi-cultural approach works. Farage is wrong and divisive to try and claim otherwise
Acevo has been working with our Islamic charity CEOs to support them at this difficult time. I came across a brilliant article in The Times today. It is worth repeating here.
Haras Rafiq (Director of Counter-Extremism Think Tank Quilliam) writes;
…“In the light of these terrible events, European Muslims will enter into a period of soul-searching and condemnation. Yet condemnation is not enough. Mosque imams, community leaders and Muslim politicians must come together to talk openly about the ideas that drive men such as the Kaouchi brothers to commit such offences. The discussion must be candid, it must be intrusive and it is likely to be uncomfortable. However, if we are to shift the discourse on Islam away from foreign fighters and beheadings, we need to ask why it is that so many of our Muslim youth — not just in France — find the ideals of groups such as so-called Islamic State so persuasive.
This is not just a job for Muslims, though, Non-Muslim counterparts must also involve themselves and recognise that our society has become impaired. There are a lot of disaffected teenagers out there, and they are not just Muslims. If the rise of the far right across Europe reflects anything, it's that non-Muslims can be radicalised too. This is rarely reflected in discourse on extremism.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the whole of society must move on together. As it does, the political class must work to repair the widening cracks that separate it from the people.
In doing so, no section of society should seal itself off from the rest, least of all Muslims. It is only by reclaiming our voices and beliefs from the extremist threads that poison our communities that we can hope to move beyond the expectation from non-Muslims that Muslims apologise for their religion after horrific acts of extremism."